United Illuminating now provides near real-time energy information to customers utilizing the “Green Button” standard.

Green Button came out of a Obama Administration IT challenge that was spearheaded by former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. The challenge was issued in September of 2010, and by January of 2011 the utility industry defined the data standard.  The Pacific Gas & Electric Company and the San Diego Gas & Electric Company were the first to utilize the system.

Read more about Chopra and the White House data initiatives

Green Button defines an energy industry data format standard that all participating energy companies will utilize. This gives app makers and web developers the ability to write software to help consumers better understand their energy usage and react quickly to address issues driving electric bills higher. The Green Button standard ensures the data from utilities will work throughout the country regardless of the energy supplier. It also can ease the process of monitoring total energy usage from electric and gas providers. 

“We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to see how they’re using electricity, so that they can make sound decisions that will save them money and benefit the environment,” said Anthony J. Vallillo, executive vice president and chief operating officer of UI’s parent company, UIL Holdings Corporation in a press release.

Connecting to the data takes a little work, and may not be as simple as setting up an app to look at the data automatically.  UI requires users to visit their website and log into their account. Customers must then find the “energy use analysis” link, click the Green Button icon, and then a file will be downloaded to their computer. A human readable Excel spreadsheet file is also available. The utility says customer data is refreshed every 15 minutes.

Lon Seidman is the host and producer of “Lon.TV,” a consumer technology video show that is on a number of platforms including YouTube and Amazon. He creates in-depth, consumer-friendly product reviews and commentary. His YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers and more than 100 million views.

In addition to being a full-time content creator, Lon is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford (his alma mater) where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial content creation.

Prior to becoming a full-time creator, Lon was a partner at The Safety Zone, his family’s business that manufactures gloves and safety equipment. The company has locations around the globe and employs over 200 people worldwide. The Safety Zone was acquired by the Genuine Parts Corporation in 2016.

Lon is also active in public service, serving as the Chairman of the Essex Board of Education, a member of the Region 4 Board of Education, and as the Secretary / Treasurer of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. He was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans for his re-election in 2021.

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