In the face of sizzling temperatures this week, the City of Angels saw its demand for electricity shoot up toward the heavens.
First, on Tuesday, near-100 degree temperatures meant a big spike in air-conditioning that catapulted LA’s total power draw to 6,196 megawatts – surpassing a previous all-time record of 6,177 megawatts set in September 2010. This level is around double the amount of electric demand experienced during a typical day in LA.
Wednesday took things a step further: in the midst of triple digit temperatures in downtown LA (high of 104°F), the LA Department of Water and Power reported peak power levels of 6,396 megawatts.
All -time energy demand record set yesterday was shattered today. Peak demand today=6,396 MW. Yesterday was 6196MW. pic.twitter.com/fZWqETk2LQ
— LADWP (@LADWP) September 16, 2014
To mitigate strain on the grid, utilities in southern California asked their customers to modify their behavior by cutting back on non-critical power demand between 11am and 8pm, recommending steps like turning up the thermostat slightly, postponing loads of laundry and dishes, closing the blinds, and even going to see a movie in an air-conditioned theater. (You can find out America’s most popular summer energy-saving tips here.)
Situations like these highlight the important potential of customer behavior to shave peak demand, and the related importance of a utility’s ability to drive those behaviors in a customer-friendly way. And today, we’re seeing exactly that in approaches like Behavioral Demand Response — wherein utilities use personalized, timely messages before and after peak demand events to motivate customers to manage their thermostats and appliances wisely when the grid is strained.
Utilities from Vermont to California are deploying Behavioral Demand Response (BDR) programs on a territory-wide scale and achieving measurable reductions in peak demand. For a recent example, check out the BDR results from Baltimore Gas & Electric’s September 5th Energy Savings Day:
— BGE (@MyBGE) September 10, 2014
By helping households save energy when it matters most for the grid, utilities like BGE aren’t just solving their peak demand challenges. They’re also reinvigorating the utility-customer relationship in a pretty awesome way.
Have a stat that you think deserves to be our Stat of the Week? Tweet it @Opower. If it’s featured, we’ll give you a shoutout.