US utility signs AutoGrid to improve demand response

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) has partnered with global energy internet technology provider, AutoGrid, for the rollout of demand response (DR) programmes.

The collaboration has allowed the utility to launch three new separate platforms to help residential, and small and medium businesses to reduce their consumption during peak periods.

The Behavioral Demand Response (BDR), Time of Use (TOU)/Critical Peak Pricing (CPP) and the Direct Load Control (DLC) programmed will use AutoGrid’s Demand Response Optimization & Management System (DROMS) solution.

The behavioral demand response programme, a voluntary programme to which customers can opt-in, will receive notifications for occurrence of a demand response event during peak days, encouraging them to lower their energy use during an event.

Those who will register under the TOU will in-turn secure lower charges by reducing energy consumption during peak times and at the same time get bill credits.

[quote] In the direct load control, the DROMS solution will communicate with consumers’ internet connected appliances such as water heaters and air conditioners to reduce power consumption when a demand response event occurs.

By implementing the demand response programmes, the NHEC believes it will reduce its expenses in the generation and transmission of electricity to its 83,000 members in Hampshire.

Commenting on the development, Heather Manypenny, power resources executive at NHEC said: “For NHEC, the member experience was the most important consideration for us as we designed and rolled out our DR programs.” [Kentucky utilities extend OATI demand response contract].

In a press statement, the solution provider claims that its cloud based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology comprises of personalised customer engagement tool which works in tandem with big data analytics.

The combination will allow NHEC to reach out to consumers and their devices on a personalised manner to determine which members to incorporate in the DR programmes thereby lowering their marketing costs.

Energy management in N.America

In other DR news, Global IoT company Rainforest Automation in early February also launched new products and services to help utilities implement demand response programmes.

The Canadian company said its new solutions aimed at residential and small commercial customers provide functionalities such as real-time smart meter monitoring, OpenADR Virtual End Node (VEN), home automation, and remote telemetry collection.

Chris Tumpach, president of Rainforest Automation, said: “We have employed IoT technology to combine BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) with utility Demand Response programs.”

The company claimed that its new portfolio powers IoT appliances and communication protocols such as OpenADR, Zigbee, WiFi and the Internet Protocol (IP) to deliver a cost effective solution linking utilities’ widely distributed residential and small businesses’ metering points. [Increased smart energy adoption to drive global demand response market growth].

In addition, to the gateway, Rainforest also launched a smartphone app combining Home Automation, utility Demand Response opt-out and customized preferences, and smart meter monitoring.
Rainforest claimed that the smartphone app is the first combining the four functionalities in a single, user-friendly application.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.