Automated demand response: a manual to shedding load

PG&E's manual to automated demand respinse
PG&E offers financial incentives for companies that commit to shedding load

In the US, Californian utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has released a guide to complement its automated demand response program aimed at medium to large non-residential customers.

The 2015-2016 PG&E Automated Demand Response Program Manual, released last month, aims to help commercial energy users execute a “sequence of steps… to curtail electrical load after receiving a communications signal from the utility via the OpenADR communications protocol”.

Financial incentives for demand response

The investor-owned utility that provides natural gas and electricity to much of northern California offers a portfolio of electric DR programs for its customers.

The programs provide financial incentives and other benefits to participating customers for reducing their energy usage during times of peak demand, the document states.

For example, a commercial or industrial customer that commits to shedding 500 kW in load, equivalent to US$100,000 in incentives at a US$200/kW rate, and incurred project costs in excess of the eligible incentive, would receive US$60,000 in incentive money upon completion and verification of the 500 kW.

Following the performance period (one full DR season), the customer’s DR participation will be evaluated for the 40%, or US$40,000, remaining in incentives.

The customer needs a minimum performance of 300 kW (i.e., 60% of the committed 500 kW load curtailment) in order to be eligible for any of the remaining for 40%.

The program goal for 2015-2016 is 30 megawatts of peak load reduction.

PG&E’s ADR Program is open to all non-residential customers who receive electric services from the utility, have a PG&E interval meter installed at the site, have an existing utility service account with at least 12 months of billing and usage history and is either already enrolled in one of four qualifying DR programs or eligible to enrol.