US utility secures regulatory greenlight to deploy DR pilot


The energy provider will use the demand response pilot programme to avoid straining the grid during peak demand periods by promoting consumers to use less energy during times when demand is high.

Rollout of demand response pilot programme

The project will be deployed over a period of three years as from this June.

The programme will include some 3,000 participants and will be implemented during the months of June through to September over the next three years.

The demand response pilot programme will only enrol residential and small business consumers with smart thermostat controlled air conditioning systems in Dona, Ana, Sierra, Otero, Luna counties and West Texas.

According to a local publication, the pilot falls under efforts by EPE to ensure grid reliability by reducing the total energy used in cooling residential homes and small business apartments during summer.

The utility announced that it will start enrolling customers willing to voluntarily participate in the trial project, as from the end of March.

Consumers who choose to enrol in the programme will receive a $125 enrollment bonus and a yearly incentive of $25.

Grid modernisation

The approval of EPE’s demand response pilot programme by NMPRC follows late January’s selection of energy management firm Itron by the Public Service Company of ‘New Mexico’ (PNM) to modernise the utility’s electric distribution system with the OpenWay Riva IoT solution.

PNM will deploy the solution across its entire service territory as a part of its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project, which aims to improve operational efficiency and customer service.

PNM serves more than 500,000 residential and business customers in the US state of New Mexico. The OpenWay Riva solution will provide PNM customers with access to usage information via a customer portal and the ability to request customised alerts related to their usage.

PNM will be able to reduce operating costs and experience operational benefits, including improved outage management, same-day service connections and disconnections, and timely, accurate and flexible billing for customers. [No smart meters opt out, votes New Mexico board].

“Itron’s OpenWay Riva IoT solution will help PNM address its immediate needs for streamlined operations and reduced costs while laying the foundation for future capabilities,” said Mark de Vere White, president of Itron’s electricity business line.

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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.