Post tagged with "customer engagement"

Our Thinking

STAT OF THE WEEK: Los Angeles shatters its record for peak electric demand, twice

  • By Barry Fischer
  • September 19, 2014

Stat of the Week

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.

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.)

LA isn’t alone in encountering peak demand challenges this month. Recent heat waves and electric power spikes have put utilities in the hot seat from Honolulu to Baltimore.

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:

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.

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Our Thinking

Opower joins Maryland Governor O’Malley and Baltimore Gas & Electric to celebrate state’s energy innovation

  • By Jake Levine
  • September 15, 2014

Today, Opower joined an action-packed event with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, as part of the Governor’s “Governing for Results” tour in Maryland.

It was an honor for Opower to participate, not only because we had the opportunity to celebrate the $2 billion in savings catalyzed by BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program, but also because we were able to help share an important story with the people of Maryland: that they’ve played a central role in moving the state toward a more sustainable and secure energy future.

Maryland Event

Opower President Alex Laskey speaks alongside Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and BGE CEO Calvin Butler at an event in Baltimore

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Our Thinking

A new report confirms that Seattle’s utility customers are absolutely crushing it on energy efficiency

  • By Rachel Kane and Barry Fischer
  • September 10, 2014

Last December, we checked in with Seattle City Light, one of Opower’s long-time program partners and the nation’s first carbon-neutral utility, about their pioneering work in the fields of customer engagement and energy efficiency.

In an interview with Lars Henrikson, City Light’s Sr. Planning & Development Specialist, we learned that the utility forecasts their average customer will need to reduce electricity use by more than 1% per year in the coming decades to ensure adequate electricity supplies. He added that City Light sees customer-driven energy savings as a paramount resource in planning the electric grid of the future and keeping costs low for consumers.

Investments in behavioral efficiency programs are already punching above their weight in helping Seattle residents manage their electric bills. A new report by the independent evaluation firm DNV-GL reveals that in the 5-year lifetime of City Light’s Home Energy Reports program, savings results have gotten better and better every year, and now rank among the best seen in Opower’s portfolio of utility partners.

SCL image_scaled

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