New technologies for demand response


Niraj Bhargava,
Ottawa, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — September 4, 2008 – A combined smart thermostat and in-home display, designed for ZigBee, provides greater savings and improved consumer experience. This new product, developed by Energate and named the Demand Response Control Center (DRCC), gives consumers real-time, advanced information on their energy usage, and the means to control it, in one easy-to-use device. It functions as an integral extension of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system.

Currently being deployed in demand response (DR) pilot programs with two of North America’s premier utilities, the DRCC is at the forefront of designed for ZigBee in-home solutions that are tightly integrated with and communicating over an AMI system. The utilities will measure consumer responsiveness to time-of-use and critical peak pricing rates, as well as the impact on energy demand during peak usage periods.

Energate has collaborated with Elster to integrate the capabilities of the DRCC with Elster’s EnergyAxis® System, providing a robust solution for utilities that gives more energy usage awareness and control to consumers.

"With the advanced features found in the Demand Response Control Center, we have evolved from a smart thermostat to a product that is a true hub for consumers to understand and control their energy use," said Niraj Bhargava, CEO of Energate. "With features such as bright LED indicators of curtailment and critical price events, and text messaging, the DRCC is also an important new touch point between utilities and their consumers. Energate has taken the consumer’s convenience and comfort into account, while balancing their needs with those of the utility’s."

Based on Energate’s Pioneer platform, the DRCC provides a simple to use and highly versatile user interface and real-time communications, as well as load shedding, and the means to alert consumers. Some features that homeowners can access include:

  • Billing information for the current and previous periods, per rate tier and in both kWh and $
  • Instantaneous consumption (kWh)
  • Permit customers to override scheduled events on load switches in the home, such as water heaters and pool pumps
  • Adjustable thermostat response to different pricing tiers.

"Our goal is to help utilities deploy demand response programs that are both economically feasible and engage the homeowner," said Bhargava. "In designing our solutions, we look beyond pilots to mass deployments, where consumer engagement is really put to the test. Through our working relationship with Elster, we’re confident that we’ve developed a product that will not only promote energy savings especially during peak periods, but also lead to an improved consumer experience."