Why California's demand response programs are failing (and how to fix them)

Tools

1

Quick Take:  Utility Dive is out with an interesting analysis of California's demand response programs and current shortcomings. It looks like the state will make it easier for third-party aggregators such as Comverge and EnerNOC to do business there. They may take that step because the utility-run programs are not making the grade.

 

I think California's utilities need three changes before we can expect them to excel at DR. First, they need dynamic (time-based) rates. Second, they need out from under the regulatory structure that forces them to be very slow-moving in a fast-paced market. They can't be nimble enough if every tweak and course correction requires regulatory approval. Finally, they need to become much better at customer engagement and behavior modification.

 

Three things, sadly, that are unlikely to happen soon. – Jesse Berst

 

According to the California Energy Commission's CEC) 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report, the state's demand response programs have underperformed, failing to achieve the 2007 goal to reduce peak demand by 5%. Those programs are currently run by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.