Reliant Energy completes successful test of new demand response system


Janie Mitcham,
Senior Vice President
of Smart Energy,
Reliant Energy
Houston, TX, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 19, 2007 – Reliant Energy, a provider of electricity and energy services with1.8 million retail electricity customers in Texas, has completed a successful test of a new demand-response system designed to give customers greater control of their electricity usage while reducing demand for power during peak usage periods, making the company the first retail electric provider in the state to do so. Called the Energy Saver Partner program, the system utilizes smart meters to communicate with web-programmable thermostats and high-usage appliances in the home like electric water heaters and pool pumps. During times of high electricity usage across the state, the system can be used to increase thermostat settings by a few degrees or cycle off air conditioning systems for short periods of time.

"Reducing peak demand delays the need for costly new power plants, conserves resources and, ultimately, helps moderate price," said Janie Mitcham, Reliant Energy’s senior vice president of Smart Energy. "Giving customers better information about how they use energy is what Smart Energy is all about. We are committed to creating innovative new products and services that help customers save energy and this is one of the first steps in that process."

New smart electric meters are being installed in homes across the CenterPoint and Oncor service area. These devices are interactive and can communicate over power lines or with wireless ZigBee communications. By using this technology, Reliant Energy is able to offer customers innovative new programs that were not available with traditional meters. Reliant is also conducting a separate pilot program on time-of-use pricing and plans to roll out other new products using this technology in 2008.

Reliant’s pilot is part of a larger study sponsored by the Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies to develop demand-response programs. The state’s leading electric market participants have begun a two-year study to assess the technology. Findings from the pilot will be shared with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and all Texas retail electric providers to enable new market tools and demand-response programs.

With the Energy Saver Partner program, customers receive a free web-controlled, programmable thermostat (a $250 value), a free 25-point air conditioning inspection (a $75 value), an enrollment bonus and monthly bill credits from May through September. Customers who have the new meters installed and are eligible for the pilot program will be notified by telephone or mail.