2024 PLMA Award Winner - Technology Pioneer: 

Bidgely and Avista Utilities

PLMA Trophy 

Bidgely’s UtilityAI Platform Implemented at Avista Utilities

Avista used Bidgely’s UtilityAI Platform to validate expectations about their EV customers, helping to drive equitable electrification for all, including low income communities.

Bidgely’s work with Avista was a catalyst for innovation and collaboration across the utility’s business units. Avista used Bidgely’s UtilityAI Platform to validate expectations about where, how, and what customers are EV early adopters, who are EV mass adopters, and what customers and locations will have the slowest adoption. As a result, Avista can use these insights to help drive equitable electrification for all customers, particularly disadvantaged and low income communities.

Simultaneously, Bidgely helped Avista reduce high-bill-investigation truck rolls by 27% in the first year; improve customer engagement/satisfaction; enhance EV grid planning; and save hundreds of hours of employee workloads. Avista also helped Avista’s grid planning teams as they evaluated the impact of EV adoption and charging loading at the feeder level over time. This included understanding the expected EV loading impact over time at the feeder level and surgically upgrading distribution assets where needed in order to accommodate the non-uniform nature of EV charging across the distribution network.

Bidgely’s grid analytics enabled Avista to strategically make infrastructure upgrades in order to optimize grid resilience and investment opportunities. EV load shifting was another critical initiative. Rather than shifting all customers to the same off-peak charging times, consequently creating a new peak, Avista can use Bidgely’s energy insights to identify charging duration by customer and stagger charging to avoid new system peaks (i.e. Driver A charging from 4:00am to 8:00am, Driver B charging from 12:00am to 10:00am). 

Bidgely’s UtilityAI Platform also transformed how Avista operates from the ground up, creating agile teams that work faster and more efficiently. For example, to reduce customers' energy usage and bills, Bidgely’s AI-powered insights detect households with inefficient appliances, without the need for intrusive monitoring hardware. Within 3 minutes, Avista could create a segmented list of customers with the most inefficient appliances (affecting both kWhs consumed and their  bills) to market for upgrades – eliminating costly and time-consuming market research. Without Bidgely this would take several weeks and lack the accuracy required for optimum program results.  Simultaneously, Avista’s System Planning, Product & Services, and Engineering teams could more accurately identify heating and cooling loads, hourly usage during substation peaks, and aggregate loads on feeders for disaggregated loads to enhance grid planning. 

Utilities can leverage the Bidgely’s UtilityAI Platform to understand their customers’ end-use consumption. Offering hour-by-hour, day-by-day visibility into their customers' usage patterns at the appliance level, utilities can track customer energy use on an ongoing and iterative basis to understand customer energy consumption patterns over time. Additionally, utilities gain insights needed to develop new rates, products, services, and infrastructure investments that deliver greater value on both sides of the meter. Utilities can also forecast DER load growth at the feeder and substation level.

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 21 years, PLMA has presented ~110 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.