Originally published by Utility Drive on July 8, 2021
Utility Dive’s Robert Walton recently spoke to Pecan Street Communications Director Colin Rowan about our effort to expand our volunteer research network in Detroit, MI. Read a snippet of the article below or read the full article on Utility Dive’s website.
“Pecan Street collects energy data and provides it to researchers, and its Detroit expansion is an effort made to address a distinct problem: Most customers on its energy data network are White.
Pecan Street uses a data hub installed on the customer side of the meter to collect usage information, which can then be utilized by researchers, investors, policymakers and others. It launched 10 years ago in Austin, Texas, in a community that skewed towards higher incomes and early tech adopters, who are “predominantly White,” Colin Rowan, a spokesperson for Pecan Street, said.
“We want to expand our network into more historically African American and Latinx communities,” Rowan said. “What we’ve learned over the last 10 years is energy data disproportionately leaves out lower income residents of any race.”
Pecan Street will work with UEJL [Urban Energy Justice Lab] to connect with communities and find volunteers for the network expansion. Homes will then be outfitted with eGauge home energy monitoring sensors to collect data that, once anonymized, will be available to researchers at the University of Michigan and those using Pecan Street’s website.”