New Comverge DR management system blazes new ground
By Jesse Berst
It is good to see Comverge back on the warpath again after the distractions of last year's financing challenges. The re-invigorated firm is blazing some new territory with its soup-to-nuts IntelliSource demand response (DR) management system. That system includes Comverge software talking to Comverge hardware, including thermostats, load control units and in-home displays. It also supports dynamic pricing under the label "SmartPrice." (See the press release on page 2.)
Along with firms such as Energate, Comverge is promoting a "vertically integrated" approach, where you buy hardware and software from the same company. An understandable and probably necessary first step... but eventually the world will move to a mix-and-match approach thanks to emerging standards such as OpenADR and SEP 2.0.
Meanwhile, Comverge's offering is one of the most comprehensive anywhere. But if you asked me for the company's key differentiator, I'd name its strengths in customer recruitment and support. Unlike most other DR firms, Comverge has been marketing to residential customers for many years. As a result, it can offer first rate marketing, installation and customer support.
More on Comverge from the SGN filesâ€¦
Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.
Comverge Announces New Cost-Effective Solution that Makes Dynamic Pricing Programs Accessible to All Electric Utilities
Comverge SmartPrice Reduces the Time, Cost and Complexities of Dynamic Pricing Implementations
Norcross, GA, September 19, 2012 â€“ Comverge, Inc., the leading provider of Intelligent Energy Management solutions for Residential and Commercial & Industrial (C&I) customers, today announced Comverge SmartPriceâ„¢. An intelligent dynamic pricing solution, SmartPrice helps utilities quickly and cost-effectively realize the benefits of a dynamic pricing program such as significantly shaving peak demand, lowering customerâ€™s electricity bills and increasing customer satisfaction. An integrated suite of hardware and software, SmartPrice also offers flexible deployment options by using either a consumerâ€™s broadband network or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to enable a two-way information exchange.
Delivering Meaningful and Sustainable Reductions in Demand
At the core of SmartPrice is the Comverge IntelliSOURCE Demand Response Management System, which enables utilities to send day-ahead or real-time price signals to a variety of customer end points. These include the Comverge Web portal, three different Converge IntelliTEMPâ„¢ smart thermostats, the Comverge IntelliFOCUSâ„¢ in-home display (IHD), and mobile devices such as iPhones and tablet computers. In addition, the Comverge IntelliPEAKâ„¢ digital control unit (DCU) can control all high-energy use appliances and is capable of individually controlling up to four discrete loads, saving both hardware and installation costs over the life of the program.
Consumers can also use the Comverge Web portal and other devices to â€œset and forgetâ€ a control schedule for all high-energy use appliances. The IntelliSOURCE platform then aggregates the control schedules of all participants to give utilities advanced insight into the capacity made available by consumer participation. With this approach, utilities have guaranteed capacity that can be dispatched at the push of a button.
â€œBuilt using more than a dozen years of experience successfully deploying sophisticated automated dynamic pricing programs, Comverge SmartPrice is comprehensive solution that also provides utilities with significant flexibility for program deployment,â€ said Comverge President and CEO, R. Blake Young. â€œAs a fully interoperable solution, SmartPrice is the perfect option for any utility â€“ from investor-owned to publicly-owned to cooperatives â€“ looking to implement an automated dynamic pricing program that is broadly deployed or one that targets a subset of customers. As industry studies have shown, using technology to automate dynamic pricing programs can significantly increase peak demand reduction, as opposed to relying on the consumer to manually reduce demand.â€
Improving Customer Engagement and Satisfaction
SmartPrice empowers consumers to control their energy usage with access to near real-time insights into energy prices using web portals, three different programmable thermostats, in-home displays, and mobile devices.
Additionally, the Comverge IntelliMARKETSM customer recruitment service and Comverge IntelliSUPPORT SM installation and call center services provide utilities with a one-stop shop to implement a successful mass-market dynamic pricing program to ensure program success. IntelliMARKET, which has enrolled more than one million customers into energy management programs, uses market analysis and segmentation to identify customers who are most likely to enroll and be active participants in dynamic pricing programs, and then uses a variety of marketing channels to enroll customers. The IntelliMARKET service can also assist utilities with developing a rate structure that delivers the highest possible number of program participants.
â€œOver the last 12 years, we have worked very closely with Comverge on our Energy Select TOU-CPP program,â€ said XX, Gulf Power. â€œThe program has been incredibly successful, helping us achieve customer satisfaction rates of 90 percent and environmental benefits by lowering peak demand and deferring the need to build additional generating facilities. Today, we have more than 10,000 participants, which is not only a testament to the programâ€™s success, but also makes it the largest automated residential dynamic pricing program in the country.â€
SmartPrice is a scalable solution that supports a broad range of dynamic pricing programs including Time-of-Use (TOU), Critical Peak Pricing (CPP), Real-Time Pricing (RTP), and Peak-Time Rebate (PTR).
Comverge delivers a comprehensive suite of intelligent energy management solutions that enable utilities, grid operators, and commercial and industrial organizations to optimize their energy usage in order to reduce costs, meet regulatory requirements, and support sustainability initiatives. With 30 years of experience helping customers implement innovative Demand-Side Management programs, Comverge has deployed more than five and a half million energy management devices, recruited over one million residential customers into mass market demand response programs, and served thousands of commercial & industrial customers. For more information, visit www.comverge.com and follow us on Twitter at @Comverge.