SnoPUD to pilot customer flexibility

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Washington state utility Snohomish County PUD has launched pilot programmes to incentivise customers to save energy.

The FlexEnergy programmes, which are open to all eligible customers on a voluntary basis, comprise behavioural change and technology options to study the effects of shifting energy usage to manage demand.

Customers who have a Google Nest or ecobee smart thermostat or ChargePoint or Enel X JuiceBox connected electric vehicle charger are eligible to enroll those devices in the pilot programme. Customers who enrol their eligible smart technology will receive alerts on those devices for specific pilot events.

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Customers who don’t have eligible smart technology can enrol in SnoPUD’s FlexEnergy Customer Choice pilot, which will incentivise them to change their energy usage habits through simple behavioural changes like doing laundry at night or turning the heat down a few degrees at select times and days.

Based on the type of smart device they enrol, customers will be able to participate in one of three FlexEnergy pilots. These focus on three approaches to shifting energy use, FlexTime on time-dynamic rate designs, FlexResponse on event-driven demand response and FlexPeak on critical peak pricing.

Customers who enrol in the Customer Choice programme can to take part in either the FlexTime or FlexPeak pilot.

“As we make plans to build the grid of the future that will meet customers’ energy demands, we want to partner with our customers to ensure that energy remains reliable and environmentally sustainable,” said John Haarlow, PUD CEO and General Manager.

“Shifting usage from peak demand periods, when there is the greatest strain on the grid, to when energy is more available saves money for all of our customers.”

SnoPUD has partnered with Virtual Peaker, which provides a cloud-based energy management platform, to deploy its FlexEnergy pilots. Virtual Peaker’s Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) will be used to enable customer and communicating device enrolment, event scheduling and management and pilot analytics.

Participating customers will earn bill credits and have the opportunity to save money on their bill.

The outcomes of the pilots are expected to feed into new customer programmes that will be launched after completion of the smart meter rollout.