NOW, we’re getting somewhere with the Green Button Initiative.

Nine investor-owned utilities from across the country have jumped on board enabling an updated total of about 27 million households to access their electricity usage data. This is a huge step forward for motivated consumers to better understand how they can save on their energy bills and then share their experiences with friends and neighbors.

Just last week I blogged about the White House’s head-scratching silence after the Green Button launch in January. Well it turns out the utilities listed below now are helping the Green Button achieve critical mass.

Silver Springs Networks digital meters like this one are due to be installed throughout Pepco's Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC service territories by year-end 2012. Customers' access to their energy usage data should activated by Spring 2013. CREDIT: The Energy Fix

Customers of utilities not on board deserve an explanation why their energy providers have yet to enable access or make a public commitment to do so. Is there such a thing as peer pressure among energy utilities? We’re about to find out.

The utilities new to the Green Button, as it turns out, could not announce their decisions until President Obama and the White House did so first as part of his ‘all-of-the-above-energy’ campaign appearances Thursday.

  • American Electric Power, serving 5.3 million customers in 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia);
  • Austin Energy, 400,000 customers in the Texas capital;
  • Baltimore Gas & Electric, 1.2 million customers in Maryland;
  • CenterPoint Energy, 1.8 million households in Texas;
  • Commonwealth Edison, 3.4 million households in Illinois;
  • Dominion Power, 2.4 million customers in Virginia and North Carolina;
  • NSTAR, 1.1 million households in Massachusetts;
  • PECO, 1.4 million households in Pennsylvania; and
  • Reliant, 500,000 households in Texas.

These utilities join Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric for moving quickly on the challenge posed by the White House late last year. There still is no word to be found to back up previous commitments made by Oncor in Texas, Glendale Water and Power in southern California and Pepco Holdings in Washington, DC, Maryland and Delaware.

At a “powering the people 2.0″ conference run by The Edison Foundation and the Institute for Electric Efficiency March 22 in Washington, Marcus Beal, Senior Project Manager at Pepco Holdings, told The Energy Fix Pepco is on track to complete the installation of smart meters throughout its service territories by year-end 2012. Activation of all smart meters is due finish by the second quarter of 2013.

With the Green Button now gaining sustainable momentum, the onus is not only on utilities yet to engage but the utility commissioners who may bear even more responsibility for the lack of adoption.

Cameron Brooks, Vice President, Policy at Tendril, one of the growing number of data-sharing platform providers, is focused sharply on educating and cajoling utility commissioners to get on board. He is quick to remind anyone who will listen that Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 signed into law by then-President George W. Bush got the ball rolling on this. So it’s been about five years since utilities and their commissions SHOULD have gotten the message.

Brooks explained to The Energy Fix, that utility Chief Information Officers are seeing with their own eyes and deployments how relatively simple and inexpensive energy data sharing can be once digital meters have been installed and activated. Share this video summarizing his message to utility commissioners here.