January 30, 2014 - 360 Energy Inc.—a Canadian player in the energy management services industry—says it is taking steps to form a not-for-profit organization that will “transform utility customer billing in Canada”—the Utility Data BarCode Association.
By Anthony Capkun
360 Energy believes customers have problems understanding utility bills, which keeps them from improving their energy efficiency and energy procurement practices.
By promoting, developing and using a “common, open-format barcode for utility bills”, the association aims to “revolutionize how customers and their associated utilities communicate and manage monthly electricity, natural gas and water consumption, and cost information”.
“A universal, open-source barcode will help Canadian customers and utilities better capture and communicate energy and water use on utility bills,” says 360 Energy. “Customers will find it easier to responsibly manage their consumption once they have better knowledge of the information embedded in the barcodes.”
“We knew there was an appetite for this solution, but we were taken aback by the enthusiasm for it,” said 360’s CEO and president David Arkell of the response to this idea EUCI Utility Billing Conference in Toronto earlier this month. “We realized immediately we needed to pull everyone together and make it viable for a rollout across the country.”
Arkell says he has issued invitations to major energy users, utilities, software/application developers, energy services providers and governments to join in forming the Utility Data BarCode Association. He expects the new group will be underway by the end of April.
“Governments have to understand that every Canadian company, institution and individual is an energy consumer. It will be a ‘game changer’ if we can create, on every utility bill in Canada, a way for customers to better understand how they use energy. Improving every Canadian’s understanding of their energy use is strategically important to Canada if we want to better manage it in our country,” Arkell concluded.