Avista Energy’s Demand Response program


Conference: Metering, Billing/CIS America
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Presenter: Bruce Folsom
Abstract: Presented by Bruce Folsom at Metering, Billing/CIS America

The Pacific Northwest has historically been a leader in energy efficiency but, due to economics of a hydro-based utility, is relatively new to demand response.  Avista Corporation, doing business as Avista Utilities, provides electric and natural gas service in parts of Washington, Idaho and Oregon.  Avista was the first utility to implement a distribution surcharge (“system benefit charge”) for energy efficiency (in 1995). 

Avista’s nationally recognized energy efficiency programs provide a financial incentive for any cost-effective electric and natural gas efficiency measure with a simple payback of over one year.

Pilot programs provide for “learnings” when broad-scale implementation may be problematic from an operational, regulatory, or economic perspective.  Several Avista pilots have progressed to system-wide (as well as regional and national) implementation.

Avista is operating a demand response pilot in portions of its Idaho service territory to test customer acceptance, interface with its utility system (communications backhaul, etc.), and cost-effectiveness.  Interestingly, this pilot is not intended to test” technology” because these findings are “in.”

Avista’s demand response pilot is testing several different end-use equipment applications on selected feeders.  These consist of installation of programmable communicating thermostats (PCT), direct control units (DCU), and in-home energy usage displays.

Avista is also configuring this pilot to examine utility efficiency improvements on its side of the customer meter (on these feeders) in a dynamic and iterative process to assure that the correct efficiency modifications are considered in systemic manner.

This pilot is in its early stages with installation of end-use equipment recently completed.