Post tagged with "peak demand"

Our Thinking

10 tweets that reveal how utilities are piquing their customers’ interest in demand response

  • By Kevin Hamilton and Josh Lich
  • July 30, 2014

It’s no great secret that social media can be a pain point for utilities. On a bad day, posts about high bills, surprise outages, or billing errors can swamp a company’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.

That’s especially true during heat waves. Whether it’s big bills or just the psychology of hot days, customers often turn to Twitter to vent some steam during a summer scorcher.

For utilities, priority one during a heat wave is reducing peak demand. And with that goal squarely in mind, they’ve often paid less attention to customer engagement. Less than 5 percent of U.S. homes participate in demand response programs — and looking at the tweets above, it shows.

But that’s all starting to change.

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Our Thinking

No Prices or Devices: How Efficiency Vermont is transforming customers into a demand response resource

  • By Josh Lich and Aaron Tinjum
  • July 9, 2014

Last summer, Opower launched our first-ever Behavioral Demand Response program with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE). Unlike traditional DR programs — which are costly technologies that can take years to deploy — Behavioral Demand Response uses real-time digital communications to deliver peak reduction at scale.

As part of the first program with BGE, we helped the utility communicate with 315,000 consumers before and after peak events, saving BGE customers over $7 million.

This summer, we’ve taken the program to new heights, expanding our program to three additional utilities and engaging over one million customers. As opposed to the program at BGE, the new launches at Consumers Energy, Glendale Water & Power, and Efficiency Vermont rely on behavioral science alone — without a price incentive or device — to motivate customers to reduce their peak usage.

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Our Thinking

The electricity grid has enough capacity today — but don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

  • By Aaron Tinjum
  • July 7, 2014

Summer peak demand can put tremendous strain on the electricity grid. But, according to a recent report, the U.S. and Canada are prepared to meet this summer’s demand.

In June, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) found that both the U.S. and Canada have sufficient reserve margins — a measure of available generating capacity over and above the capacity needed to meet normal peak demand – to reliably serve the country’s electric demand this summer.

In aggregate, U.S. electric demand is expected to peak at about 853,000 MW, which is about the same as last summer. In total, about one million megawatts of capacity exists to meet the expected demand. Below is a map (courtesy of the Energy Information Administration) with reserve margin estimates and targets for summer 2014; in all regions, the estimated reserve margins for summer 2014 are equal to or greater than the target levels.

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