Demand response success: Lessons learned from one of the world's leading programs

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By: SGN Staff

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Quick Take:On the face of it, there's not much news in the news release below. It simply announces that OG&E's successful DR program will be extended to additional homes. But I think you can glean some hints as to why things are going well. You may want to apply these lessons to your own projects. Lesson number one: Real-time pricing can work for residential customers. Lesson number two: Opt-in programs can work. Lesson number three: You need to give those customers an ultra-simple interface. - By Jesse Berst

 

ENERGATE AND OG&E SUSTAIN AND GROW RESULTS WITH CONSUMER DEMAND RESPONSE SOLUTIONS

Energate, Inc., a leading provider of demand response and home energy management solutions for utilities and their customers, announced that its technology has successfully enabled sustainable results for the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (OG&E) consumer demand response SmartHours program. Now in its second year, the program—in partnership with Silver Spring Networks and other collaborators—continues to sustain and grow peak power reduction results. OG&E residential consumers with an Energate programmable communicating thermostat have achieved an average of peak reduction of 2.02 kW per home and the program is targeting an additional 70 MW over 40,000 homes in 2013, with a goal of 120,000 homes by the summer of 2014. OG&E overall program goal includes avoiding construction of incremental fossil generation prior to 2020.

 

By employing a consumer-centric approach to demand response, OG&E customers can simply and individually choose their balance between cost and comfort via Energate’s smart thermostat, which allows the consumer to automatically manage homes with real-time pricing. In addition, the program accomplished these breakthrough results exclusively with pricing signals where consumers could choose to opt-in and select their level of participation. Price signals were delivered with high reliability to consumer devices, providing them with timely decision-making information, and automatic response from Energate technology based on personal preferences.

 

It costs more to produce electricity during peak periods of high customer demand, and other factors like weather conditions and the time of year also impact electrical prices and drive them higher. The OG&E SmartHours program allows its customers to save when costs are lower, or off-peak—during the summer peak, which is 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and prices during those hours vary based on system load. Customers receive advance notice of peak price the day before so they can manage energy use more wisely. OG&E’s demand response program also includes dynamic pricing paired with the deployment of various types of in home equipment and a customer web portal.

 

“Energate’s smart thermostats have enabled OG&E to interact with its customers with price signals and notifications to effectively reduce their peak consumption,” said Mike Farrell, Director, Customer Programs, at OG&E. “From the first customer study to our second year of deployment, Energate’s technology has sustained high performance results proving to be an important contributing factor for reduced peak demand, which represents a key goal for OG&E and other utilities and their customers everywhere.”