Remaking Energy: The Critical Role of Energy Consumption Data

64 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015 Last revised: 3 Mar 2020

See all articles by Alexandra B. Klass

Alexandra B. Klass

University of Michigan Law School

Elizabeth J. Wilson

Dartmouth College; Dartmouth College

Date Written: September 11, 2015


This Article explores the public policy benefits associated with increased access to energy consumption data as well as the legal and institutional barriers that currently prevent such access. As state and local governments as well as electricity users attempt to improve the efficiency of their buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and realize the promises of improved demand side management of energy resources, the need for electricity and other energy-related data becomes even more pressing. But the current law that balances making energy consumption data available against any privacy or confidentiality interests in the data is underdeveloped. Thus, this Article draws on more sophisticated legal frameworks governing health care, education, and environmental emissions data that balances the public policy needs for data evaluation with countervailing interests. A review of the law in these fields shows that the privacy and confidentiality interests in energy consumption data may be overstated and, in any event, can be adequately addressed in most instances through aggregating the data, using historic rather than current data, or through contracts and other agreements to ensure security where access to individualize data is needed.

Keywords: smart grid, customer energy usage data, energy consumption data, distributed generation, micro-grids, distributed energy, distributed generation, energy efficiency, building benchmarking, privacy, TRI, GHG emissions data, green buildings, health care data, education data

Suggested Citation

Klass, Alexandra B. and Wilson, Elizabeth J., Remaking Energy: The Critical Role of Energy Consumption Data (September 11, 2015). 104 Calif. L. Rev. 1095 (2016), Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-28, Available at SSRN:

Alexandra B. Klass (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

Elizabeth J. Wilson

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NJ 03755
United States
6036461687 (Phone)
03755 (Fax)

Dartmouth College ( email )

Environmental Studies Department
Steele Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

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