20th PLMA Award Winner - Pacesetter Program: 

Salt River Project with EnergyHub, Google Nest, and TechniArt

PLMA Trophy 

 The BYOT DR Program for Hard-to-Reach Customers

A customer-centric program design that reaches all customer segments including single family homes, multi-family, business, and limited- to moderate- income households.

Salt River Project (SRP) DR program has over 67,000 devices providing 82 MW of load flexibility, and sometimes much more. During a single event in the summer of 2022, the program delivered 133 MW of first-hour load shift, ensuring grid resilience when it was needed most. The reliability and scale of this resource has led operators and resource planners to view DR as part of the resource stack and a key component of SRP’s decarbonization goals. 

Multi-family, business, and limited- and moderate-income households historically have not been included in DR programs, however, SRP calculated that this important and untapped customer segment represents approximately 200,000-300,000 households and 28,000 businesses, making it clear that investing in these communities would deliver benefits to both SRP and its customers.

SRP developed marketing campaigns and a program design to overcome barriers that have prevented these segments from engaging in demand response. Barriers addressed include the complexity of installations in multifamily buildings, plus financial and awareness challenges among traditionally marginalized communities.

BYOT DR Program Impacts:

Customer Satisfaction: 

  1. The year 2021 marked the 20th consecutive year that SRP ranked No. 1 for J.D. Power residential satisfaction in the western United States among large electric utilities with 500,000 or more residential households. SRP also ranked No. 1 in business customer satisfaction. SRP achieves these high levels of satisfaction with customer-centric program design.

  2. Shorter events (shifting from three to two hours) and creating a larger pool of pre-cool customers delivered higher customer comfort and 75% fewer customer calls. SRP implemented these changes after EnergyHub’s team ran a model that showed minimal cost impacts and significant load ireduction, and also observed these changes led to fewer initial opt-outs.

Load Shed:
SRP’s DR Program has proven to internal stakeholders that it can deliver meaningful and reliable load reductions when called upon, as evidenced by consistent load reduction near 82 MW, and first hour peak load reduction exceeding 130 MW in the summer of 2022.

SRP's Eamonn Urey says of the DR Program, “This resource is like Babe Ruth calling his shot: we now have that level of reliable prediction of dispatchable flexibility.”

Program Growth:
Today, SRP has 67,000 enrolled devices, making it one of the largest BYOT programs in the country.

Looking Forward:
In the year ahead, SRP plans to continue to grow DR Program participation within multi-family, SMB, and historically marginalized communities. The utility anticipates exceeding 85,000 devices enrolled and 150 MW load shed potential by the end of 2023.

About the PLMA Awards Program
PLMA's Awards Program, held each year, recognizes industry leaders who, in the previous calendar year, created innovative ideas, methods, programs, and technologies to manage end-use loads, meet peak load demand, and support the successful grid integration of distributed energy resources. The overarching goal of the PLMA Awards Program is to identify and promote industry initiatives that can potentially benefit multiple organizations. To facilitate learning, each award winner is invited to present their work and successes, as well as the important lessons learned, via a 1-hour webinar for all PLMA stakeholders. 

PLMA webinars are presented live online, published on its YouTube Channel, and broadcast over its podcast, "PLMA: Load Management Dialogues" which is available from whereever you get your podcasts. Please check the PLMA Calendar to register for an upcoming webinar. 

Over the past 20 years, PLMA has presented ~105 awards to utilities, product/service providers, end-users, and individuals responsible for demand response efforts targeted to the residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customer markets.