Feature proposal - RFC - Power utility offices


I’m proposing to introduce a new tag for power utility offices (office=power_utility) and deprecate the existing one (office=energy_supplier). The rationale behind this idea is that energy_supplier can be confusing to most people.

Please comment wherever you feel most comfortable:

It would be good to link to the thread on tagging mailing list for ease of access; i.e. [Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Power utility office

Thanks for reminding me. I’ve just did it.

I don’t get it.

office=energy_supplier can be quite confusing since it can be related to power retail or power supply which are quite different from each other. Power retail companies sell power to home users, public buildings and private companies. Power supply companies on the other hand take care of the network’s infrastructure (power poles, cables and substations).

So which of the two is your new tag describing? And what will the tag for the other one be?


I don’t like office=power_utility because it is highly confusing - even more so than the current tag office=energy_supplier. Besides, we wouldn’t have a tag for an office of a power producing company. I suggest the following, clearer tags instead: office=power_producer and office=power_reseller.

office=power_utility is for power retail. Currently there is no tag for office of power supply companies (a.k.a. power transmission). office=company + company=something can be used for the latter.

What about a more generic office=public_utility. This should a class of power providers, infrastructure or cooperative that provides services for the “public good”. The exact service could public_utility=power power_source=natural _gas;solar or public_utility=internet.

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I think we are overthinking it here. Some companies can play multiple roles in the energy industry from the same building. How about simply office=energy_organisation?

Also, we have Key:utility - OpenStreetMap Wiki with power, gas etc values, maybe it could be used (as discussed at proposal wiki talk page: Talk:Proposed features/Power utility office - OpenStreetMap Wiki)?

Isn’t that existing Tag:office=energy_supplier - OpenStreetMap Wiki covers mostly already? (unless one wants to nitpick at electrical_power_infrastructure vs. electrical_power_seller).

If we use it for power and gas we would have to use it for water as well in order to have some consistency.

Perhaps it would help to include some examples of how companies and utilities in the real world would be tagged?

E.g. here is list of energy suppliers from the utilities regulator in Ireland:

Note that in this context “energy suppliers” are companies that supply electricity or natural gas to consumers. Also note that many of the companies supply both (similar to what @Matija_Nalis said about Croatia in the talk page, and I can confirm it is also similar to Spain where big companies like Iberdrola supply both). It seems clear that office=energy_supplier is a good fit under existing tagging, as the tag exactly matches the usage. How would these offices be tagged under the new proposal?

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While not necessary in my opinion, if some change were to be made, than yes, I would much prefer such “wider” solution then “narrow” one as originally proposed in here. (Note: that “wider” options has been discussed already more in depth in Tagging mailing list thread linked above)

Isn’t that the tag that Proposed features/Power utility office - OpenStreetMap Wiki is trying to depreciate. I think the confusion comes from not knowing exactly which company/organization we are talking about. Is it the drllers or strict power generators that feed multiple regions. Or the entities that are regulated at the regional level. Responsible for the local electrical and natural gas hookups. The same entities may also generate power from various sources

Agreed, that is why I am asking what the replacement tagging would be for these companies. The proposal seems to focus on electricity only. I think it needs to make clear what would happen to tagging of combined electricity/gas suppliers. These are not awkward “edge cases” - in the two countries I mentioned they are the majority of the market.

My understanding is that the proposal refers to retailers who supply power to consumers, i.e. the “customer-facing” part of the industry.

As above, I don’t think it is drillers or generators. But the reference to regional regulation sounds like a very specific way things are organised in a particular country. In the two countries I know (Ireland and Spain) there is no regional aspect. It is quite possible for every house in a street to have their electricity contract with a different retailer (and to switch between retailers on a regular basis).

For that reason I am not sure this reference in the proposal is helpful: “company or agency that runs the power utilities for a given area (district, city, region, state, etc.)”. This seems to tie the definition to administrative or geographic regions. That may be relevant in some countries, but as I have mentioned, in other countries it is simply not something that is relevant to electricity consumers. (I can only think of water as a utility organised on a geographic basis where I live).

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Isn’t that existing Tag:office=energy_supplier - OpenStreetMap Wiki covers mostly already?

I agree. I was simply making a suggestion because the original poster had an issue with the office=energy_supplier tag. I don’t have an issue with it and agree that it is nit-picking.

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Im very confused.

In the US, companies that provides power, water will fall under some type of regulation. If you only provide power or gas to the market than you are considered an energy supplier and regulated at the regional level. There are additional federal oversight because most regulatory authorities cross state lines. Texas is the exception because their power grid intentionally doesn’t.

The other main entity is public utility. They are considered public utilities because they work directly with the public. They can directly bill customers but are also responsible for most infrastructure that transfers the service to those customers homes and businesses. Meaning power poles for electricity, water mains under road or fibre optic for internet connectivity. Companies are often given a monopoly in exchange for the requirement of having to maintain the shared equipment. Many public utilities also handles the local supply of natural gas. They often use it for both direct power generation as well as provided directly for in home use by consumers. Most utilities have thier own sources of renewable power.

The reason went i went into so much detail is to show that energy suppliers and public utilities are both similar and wildly different. In some case a parent company may have multiple divisions handling different type of power generation. It is important to understand thier function so customers lnow which office to contact.

Water based public utilities are similar, except for water treatment is often performed at the city government level. Usually a function of the city’s water department.

So, energy_supplier=yes or energy type and add generation facility information.

For power or fuel utilities; public_utility=electricity;gas.
For Water/sewer; public_utility=water;sewer.
ISP; public_utility=internet

I would also like to point out that if the proposal intends to change (rename and/or deprecate and/or change meaning of) existing tags, that is would make it much harder to propose (and of course, implement!)
In order to streamline instead of copy/pasting, see this post (and rest of the thread) for details why:

I prefer creating a new tag public_utility and not to depracate energy_supplier. My rationale is that
public_utility=power is a better way to describe an energy_supplier that interacts directly with residential and small commercial customers. A public_utility is more description of regulatory designation given to an existing service provider. So a power utility is just an energy_supplier that is responsible for power distribution in a legally specified service area. As a result they are also responsible for most of the infrastructure in that service area.