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Rep. Porter Introduces Bill to Improve Public Understanding of Renewable Energy

Congresswoman’s bill would harness technology to help Americans across the country access energy grid information.

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) has introduced legislation to encourage the development of apps that will give users more information how electricity is delivered to homes and businesses. This bill would help consumers understand energy grid demand and supply, including how much energy is provided by renewable sources.

“As a consumer protection attorney, I know from experience how knowledge can empower consumers in our capitalist economy,” Congresswoman Porter said. “My legislation will employ 21st century technology to help Americans better understand their how their states deliver electricity. Giving consumers access to grid information will help them feel engaged in our energy systems and aid efforts to increase renewable energy usage.”

Energy grids are the interconnected systems that help deliver electricity. The Consumer Access to Grid Information Act would create a grant program to fund the development of apps like the California Independent System Operator’s “ISO Today” that allow consumers to look over their energy grids. Users can monitor conditions, view the source of their energy, and receive system alerts. While 70% of Americans expect electricity to become cleaner over time, they have few ways to see and understand this process.

Porter was joined by colleagues Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) in introducing this legislation.

“Access to information about our electricity systems is vital for consumers who want to make more climate-conscious choices,” Congressman Tonko said. “This legislation supports people who want to develop mobile apps and other similar tools to deliver that information right into our hands. That kind of transparency gives Americans insight into our energy systems and, in turn, much greater power to impact them and ensure America’s electricity generation reflects the needs and demands of the people and communities served.”

Porter’s legislation has also earned the support of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Information is power,” says ACORE Chief Operating Officer Bill Parsons. “Giving citizens real-time access to the source and environmental impact of the electricity they’re consuming can help accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy, and we look forward to working with Reps. Porter, Stevens and Tonko on the Consumer Access to Grid Information Act for all of the important transparency and useful public information it will provide.” 

“Consumers, especially the environmentally and cost-conscious, would love to have an app that lets them know where their energy is coming from and how their choices impact prices and the environment,” said Sam Gomberg, Senior Energy Analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. This 21st century, consumer-friendly approach would help us achieve our clean energy goals, build a more resilient electricity grid and address the threat of climate change. Kudos to Representative Porter.”

Congresswoman Porter has been a leader in moving the United States toward a clean energy future. She introduced the Clean Corridors Act to install electric vehicle charging stations along our nation’s highways. She also supported three bipartisan bills to protect public lands from new oil drilling, as well as voted to pass the Climate Action Now Act—historic legislation that would uphold the commitments we gave as part of the Paris Climate Agreement.