The number of utilities planning demand response programs increases

Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 29, 2007 – The number of utilities planning or considering demand response programs has increased significantly, according to 2007 survey results by utility research firm Chartwell. Although the proportion of utilities offering customers demand response programs has remained steady, 22% of utilities report planning or considering special rates that encourage peak load management for residential customers. Fifteen percent are planning or considering a residential air conditioner cycling program; only 1% reported planning or considering such a program on a 2006 survey.

Metering and data analysis technology may also contribute toward the movement. More than half of all utilities using, planning or considering advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) intend to leverage the technology for demand response programs, according to Chartwell data. Nearly three quarters of those same utilities are planning or considering AMI-enabled time-dynamic rates.
Other drivers are the latest environmental trends, consumer attitudes and technology advancements, but all these are no guarantee that the planned programs will get off the ground.

These are some of the findings outlined in two new companion Chartwell reports, AMI-Enabled Demand Response 2007 and Marketing & Communicating Demand Response.

In AMI-Enabled Demand Response 2007, readers will find discussion of AMI systems’ potential to serve as the backbone for future demand response and load control programs that use advanced in-home controls. Many utilities close to deploying the next generation of metering systems project demand response to deliver benefits internally as well as to customers. Several industry experts believe AMI-enabled energy efficiency programs will allow utilities to reduce demand and prevent the construction of generation facilities.

The report contains data specific to AMI-enabled demand response and load control from Chartwell’s latest annual metering survey, as well as exclusive analysis. The report also contains case studies on two utilities – Idaho Power and Chatham-Kent Energy – that use AMI for demand response and/or load control programs.

Marketing & Communicating Demand Response addresses the human factors involved, from the customer end, in managing peak loads. The report details successful utilities’ efforts to attract the right participants and motivate those customers to change their usage patterns. In addition to 10 in-depth case studies – including ComEd, Florida Power & Light and Portland General Electric – an analysis looks at new data from Chartwell’s proprietary 2007 products, services and programs utility survey as well as advice from consultants and vendors in the demand response and program evaluation arenas. The report examines utility demand response programs such as air conditioner cycling, time-of-use rates and critical peak pricing for both residential and C&I customers.