46th PLMA Conference

46th PLMA Conference: Full Session Descriptions

Monday, November 14, 2022

Global Load Management Interest Group

This Winter in Europe and Its Implications for the U.S.
Join us to learn about worldwide energy markets and the mitigation of expected European energy shortages this winter through extraordinary measures that include peak demand reductions and market revenue caps. Enrico Viale, a member of Italy-based Enel Group’s executive management team and current Head of Enel North America, will share his knowledge and perspective, and participate in a lively, interactive discussion of European and U.S. energy challenges, as well as future opportunities

Commercial & Industrial Load Flexibility Interest Group

Part 1: Introductions: Interest Group Co-Chairs and Audience

Part 2: Benchmarking Demand Flexibility in Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings

Part 3: Panel Discussion — C&I Load Flexibility Barriers and Opportunities
Panel consisting of representatives from Utilities, Service Providers and Technology Vendors discuss the opportunities and challenges they see as they engage customers in Load Flexibility initiatives and programs.

Connected Devices Interest Group

A Journey Toward DERMS: What Is It, Who’s On It, and What Does it Take to Get There?
The Connected Devices Interest Group takes on the next big item that is facing this industry: the journey towards DERMS. For this session, we will hear from two different groups. From the utility perspective, we will hear from groups that are at various points along the journey. For the vendor perspective, attendees will better understand what various groups can offer in this journey. During the Q&A Session, attendees will have a chance to ask both vendors and utilities questions about their views on the journey. Finally, the session will end with a breakout into smalls groups, where they will tackle the items such as Regulatory, Programs, and Roadblocks. In the end, attendees will get a chance to walk away with a better understanding of what’s available and how to tackle their own challenges as they consider their journey towards DERMS.

Lawrence Berkeley National Labs

Part 1: Challenges and Opportunities for Integrating Energy Storage in Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings
The U.S. DOE’s Building Technologies Office has been working for several years to develop and demonstrate the technologies needed for Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB). GEBs are energy-efficient buildings with smart technologies characterized by the active use of distributed energy resources (DERs) to optimize energy use for grid services, occupant needs and preferences, and cost reductions in a continuous and integrated way. Energy storage is a key DER technology for grid-interactive buildings, by enabling flexibility of building loads, either through thermal storage to shift heating and cooling loads, or battery storage to modify buildings’ electrical loads. Although energy storage is increasingly common in buildings, many barriers to its adoption remain, such as limited performance of thermal storage materials, the high cost of integrating and controlling storage in buildings, and a lack of policies to fully compensate storage for the value it brings to the grid.

To help unlock the potential of energy storage in buildings, U.S. DOE is extending its GEB Roadmap to address the barriers and opportunities for wider deployment of storage in buildings. This effort is identifying needs across the technology deployment spectrum, from R&D to field demonstrations to policies encouraging the adoption of storage. The effort is also developing several case studies that illustrate the potential for storage to provide benefits to building occupants, owners, service providers, and the grid. This session will describe the ongoing GEB roadmapping effort and engage attendees in a discussion about how the U.S. DOE can help enable and facilitate adoption of energy storage in GEBs.

Part 2: Connected Communities: Scaling Grid-Interactive, Decarbonized Buildings
The U.S. DOE has competitively awarded a total of $61 million dollars to 10 comprehensive large-scale projects through its Connected Communities initiative to help accelerate decarbonization of buildings and the electric grid. Connected communities of grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) employ coordinated controls and smart technologies (e.g., smart thermostats, smart water heaters, batteries) to interact with the electric grid and coordinate load flexibility to support the electric grid with emerging grid issues related to the growth of renewable energy supplies and electrification of building loads. The awardee project teams include a cross-section of buildings industry stakeholders including utilities, local governments, aggregators, technology firms, home-builders and end-users. These projects are intended to demonstrate the capabilities of GEBs across an expanded range of technologies, locations and building types than have been implemented to date, and to provide new information that will empower utilities, aggregators, technology providers and others to scale grid flexibility and decarbonization of buildings. The projects address a range of aspects critical for scaling, including: customer engagement and retention with a focus on LMI, occupant engagement, technology interoperability, rate design, utility business models, regulatory considerations, and valuing integrated DERs and GEBs.

This interactive panel session will highlight these projects’ diverse approaches to delivering demand flexibility and grid services, and incorporating connected controls. We’ll have a Q&A and discussion between the panelists and attendees on topics including approaches, goals, expected challenges, and how each featured project’s approach is appropriate for its region and regulatory/business environment. The session will engage attendees to discuss key issues they face in their own territories and how they might be informed by the solutions offered by the Connected Communities projects.

Electric Transportation Interest Group

Part 1: City of Phoenix Transportation Electrification Action Plan and EV Programs
In June of 2022, the Phoenix City Council voted to adopt the Transportation Electrification Action Plan (TEAP), which prepares the city for a future filled with more electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and e-mobility equity. The plan focuses on three main areas: prioritizing equity, accelerating public adoption of electric vehicles, and the city leading by example. This plan lays out the electric vehicle roadmap for Phoenix to get 280,000 electric vehicles on Phoenix roads by 2030.

Part 2: Managing the EV Load Influx: SRP’s Multi-Pronged Approach
The Salt River Project (SRP) is committed to enabling 500,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in its territory by 2035, meeting customers’ diverse charging needs while managing system impacts. SRP’s EV Flex Charge and EV Smart Charge pilots study the potential to manage grid impacts by incentivizing a total of 500 residential customers to allow SRP to adjust charging schedules or power levels during periods of high electric demand by leveraging their Level 2 chargers or via vehicle telematics. SRP will share pilot learnings to date and plans for the future of its managed charging programs, including demand response and expansion beyond the residential sector.

Retail Pricing Interest Group

Successful Strategies for Increasing Residential Customer Interest in Innovative Rate Plans
Utilities are exploring different types of rate plans and payment options for residential customers, including TOU, prepay plans, and more. However, it is unclear what consumers know about these new offerings and what their perceptions are. Using SECC's new market research as a starting point for discussion and leveraging lessons from the field from three different utilities, this session will help utilities develop the optimal rate structure for consumers and craft messaging to drive consideration of switching their rate plan. We'll explore consumer knowledge of how rates are structured; what they believe impacts their bills; which aspects of their bills result in the greatest level of concern; how utilities are enticing and educating customers about new rates; and much more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Opening Session

Keynote Address

Jacob Tetlow, Executive Vice President, Arizona Public Service

How Customers Can Play a Role in Balancing Clean, Reliable and Affordable Energy

General Session 2

The "C" Suite: Load Management and Decarbonization

This panel will cover multiple aspects of the impending convergence of load management and decarbonization. The session will start with a series of short presentations as follows:

  •  PLMA’s Strategic Initiative: Decarbonization Through Load Management;
  • ESource's assessment of the carbon impacts of MISO’s DR programs and how the new EPA RICE clarification may impact this;
  • RMI's New VPP Initiative: Why VPPs are such an important tool in the decarbonization toolkit and how the Inflation Reduction Act will amplify their importance;
  • WattTime's experience measuring locational and temporal carbon intensity of the grid and where this work is headed.

 Following these presentations, we'll host a moderated discussion to explore these topics further. 

General Session 3

Passive or Active Load Management? Insights From EV Charging Test Cases
Using Both Technology Approaches at Southern Company

Residential EV charging provides an incredibly flexible source of load for utilities, with the typical customer plugged in for 12-16 hours but only requiring 2-3 hours of charge to meet their mobility needs. Still in the early days of adoption, EVs also tend to be a highly clustered source of load that can strain specific feeders and transformers of the distribution network. Southern Company implemented pilots to test both passive behavioral and active control to curtail EV charging during demand-response events, using a geo-targeted approach to surgically address key areas of the network. In this session, Southern Company and its OpCos will present data from the pilots, comparing customer interest and retention levels, load curtailment capabilities of both technological approaches, and responsiveness and flexibility metrics. The presenters will also discuss qualitative considerations for each technology, including regulatory implications, customer engagement, and financial incentives.

Taking Action on EVs: Best Practices From Existing Utility Programs

Utilities nationwide are implementing EV programs to manage electric vehicle load — from implementing EV-TOU rates to managed charging programs to laying the foundation for V2G. National Grid and SRP have pioneered different approaches to EV management. SRP has launched a residential managed charging program with EVSEs, and National Grid is managing EV OEMs directly. Further, the National Grid program has undergone a 3rd party evaluation and has results to share. The question remains: Is there one approach that is right for your utility’s goals or is a combination the best solution, and what are the learnings so far? Panelists will explain how they evaluated EV management strategies, designed program incentives, and monitored success. They will discuss approaches to balancing utility goals with customer comfort, incentives, and steps to ensure customer satisfaction for program participants. Attend for insights from utilities with real experiences at the cutting edge of EV management!

General Session 4

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Transactive Energy Business Model Pilot

NHEC has developed and is currently deploying a pilot program to test the Transactive Energy Rate. The Transactive Energy Rate is an hourly dynamic rate that is published a day ahead. NHEC has developed software to publish this rate using OpenADR, and collect data that is used for billing purposes. NHEC has also worked with their back office software vendor to make modifications to bill calculation and bill printing to enable devices that are registered in this program to be placed on the electric bill. This presentation will describe how the Transactive Energy Rate is developed, and the software systems that are used to communicate with devices and do billing. It will describe the benefits to the NHEC members of enrolling devices such as batteries and EV chargers in the program. The pilot deployments of V2G chargers and batteries and current results will also be described.

Maximizing the Value of Residential DER through Wholesale Market Participation

As MWs of customer sourced flexibility scale and FERC 2222 plans materialize, more and more wholesale market opportunities are emerging to use customer owned DERs aggregated from utility programs. Arizona Public Service (APS) is currently using their thermostat programs in their market activities in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). With each market comes unique rules and opportunities. This panel will dig into APS’s experience creating a path to enable DER market participation and discuss what the future looks like as FERC 2222 rules come to reality. The discussion will include a summary of the path required to convince CAISO that behind the meter demand response could meet market resource requirements, the work done to build and scale a DER resource to meet these requirements while keeping customers happy, and the story of building a coalition of EIM utilities to make this possible.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Track A: Water Heater Programs

Lessons Learned from Water Heater Demand Response Programs

The industry continues to innovate on how to use DR for decarbonization to meet our clean energy goals. Grid interactive efficient heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are positioned to play a major role in the decarbonization of electricity if operated in a method avoiding times of critical grid stress and absorbing mid-day solar load. Utilities are making strides to realize their promise and are focused on leveraging water heaters’ flexibility for optimizing the time of heating without inconveniencing customers.

This presentation will review the Portland General Electric Multi-Family Water Heater Program and the Pacific Gas and Electric’s load shifting pilot program WatterSaver. WatterSaver was launched in March 2022 and is positioned to be one of the largest HPWH load shifting programs in the country. Both the PGE and PG&E efforts optimize the operation of HPWHs and electric resistance water heaters to harness lower cost energy to heat water and avoid operation during the evening peak.

This forward-thinking panel will provide background on the development and launch of the water heater load-shifting initiatives, discuss hurdles and preliminary lessons learned, and provide initial load shifting results from automated water heater management.

How APS, TEP and Shifted Energy are Using Grid-Interactive Water Heaters
in Multi-family Buildings to Help AZ Residents Take Advantage of TOU Rates

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and Arizona Public Service (APS) are leveraging grid interactive water heater (GIWH) controls and software from Shifted Energy to evaluate the potential time of use bill savings for multi-family dwellers and provide asset monitoring and maintenance alerts to property managers. This session will feature speakers from TEP, APS, DNV (APS’ Multi-Family Energy Efficiency Program implementer), and Shifted Energy to explore lessons learned, initial property manager and resident feedback, and bill savings potential from these multi-family GIWH programs in Arizona.

Track B: Smart Thermostats

How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Complexity

Arizona Public Service (APS) and its partners will discuss the complex customer journey process that is necessary to increase customer enrollment in the residential smart thermostat demand response program, APS Cool Rewards. The session will discuss how our team collaborates behind the scenes to create a frictionless customer experience. We liken this partnership to an orchestra, with APS customers at the conductor’s podium. Our team works to read (and meet!) our customers’ needs, while building a resource that helps APS meet its Clean Energy Commitment, and we leverage our combined expertise to make each experience better than the last along the way. The session will discuss the complexity behind the scenes in this broad partnership with our customers and our extended project team, and how we work together to increase and retain enrollment in the APS Cool Rewards program.

Using Thermostats for Daily Automated TOU Response and Event Based Response

PG&E initiated a study to assess the ability of three types of connected thermostats — Nest, Ecobee, and Emerson — to deliver event-based response and daily automated response to time of use rates. The study recruited over 12,000 sites and was implemented as a randomized control trial. Because the pilot was new, PG&E used an operation plan to intentionally introduce variation in weather, hours of dispatch, event duration, and day type.The study addressed the following questions:

  • What share of sites opted for daily automated TOU response?
  • What was the magnitude of daily automated TOU response? And how did it vary with weather and by customer type?
  • What were the dispatchable event load impacts over-and-above the daily TOU response?
  • How did load impacts vary by thermostat type, weather, temperature conditions, and customer characteristics?
  • Do demand reduction persist across the event hours?

Track C: Emergency Programs

Standing Up California’s Largest Residential DR Program in 4 Months

After the rotating outages of 2020, California regulators were looking for solutions to mitigate the risk of a reoccurrence and requested proposals from the IOUs and stakeholder groups for customer programs. The CPUC authorized modifications and new demand response programs, such as the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) which operates through 2025. For 2021, ELRP was focused on non-residential customers, but for 2022, the Commission expanded ELRP to include a behavioral demand response program for residential customers. In less than four months, the three electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs) launched a new behavioral demand response program known as Power Saver Rewards and auto-enrolled (defaulted) millions of residential customers onto the program. Power Saver Rewards is now the largest statewide residential demand response program in California. This presentation will share insights into the coordination between the IOUs and vendor partnerships to create and implement this new program.

Beat the Heat

During San Antonio’s hottest summer on record, CPS Energy engaged our community to conserve energy and distinguish the difference between grid emergencies and summer peak days. Our “Beat the Heat” notifications consist of four color-coded energy conservation levels, guiding customers to use simple conservation tips appropriate to the anticipated demand for energy. We asked customers to practice everyday conservation on Green Days. On Yellow Days, we asked customers to conserve more by putting off the use of large appliances during specified hours when energy demand is high. Orange and Red Alerts are notifications used if ERCOT, the statewide grid manager, would have declared grid reliability was at risk, which did not occur. The conservation alert system will be used in the winter as well.

Track D: Local Load Management

Managing Load Locationally:

A Case Study of 'Managing Load to Support Constrained Substations"

Under traditional distribution system planning, a utility identifies system needs and proposes solutions to meet those needs. Typically, these solutions are infrastructure-based, such as reconfiguring substations and adding feeders. Locationally targeted load management addresses the defined system need while deferring, reducing, or eliminating the need to construct or upgrade distribution infrastructure and ensuring continued safety and reliability.

DTE Energy is piloting a five-year program that focuses on the role that distributed energy resources (DERs) can play in deferring utility distribution system investments. It is utilizing intentional targeting of EE, DR, and other DERs to specific constrained locations to provide load relief and defer infrastructure investment. The increased customer interaction also gives the utility an opportunity for more engagement, thereby strengthening the relationship and the utility's role as a trusted energy provider as DERs become more prevalent.

Track D: New Construction

Can Passive House Construction Shape Demand and Increase Grid Reliability?

The latest California building energy code (Title 24) introduced a combination of energy efficiency and photovoltaic (PV) requirements to reduce household energy use by 53 percent from the previous version. Can we do better? As more buildings electrify, what can new construction do to reduce and shape peak load while providing additional distributional grid benefits? This study builds on our previous work that described opportunities and barriers of Passive House construction and incorporating these standards into Title 24. Here, we evaluate grid benefits from strategic deployment of passive homes, by comparing load shapes of all-electric residential prototypes in climate zones with the highest forecast new construction growth rates and selected feeders with congestion or PV saturation issues. We compare peak load, ramp rates, load factor, and other grid metrics. We also evaluate how deployment of Passive Houses can lower energy demand, help shape load, and benefit grid reliability and resilience.

Track E: Retail Pricing

Pricing as a Tool for Residential Load Management

We find evidence that residential Time of Use (TOU) rates incentivize reductions in system peaks without snapback, as customers respond by conserving load (rather than shifting) during on-peak hours. DTE Energy’s residential TOU pilot launched in spring 2021 with over 15,000 participants. The pilot tested opt-in and opt-out enrollment strategies and two rate designs. Opt-in participants had sizeable reductions, despite relatively low ratios of on-to-off peak prices. Customer surveys revealed this was driven by DTE’s successful customer engagement campaign. We will share impacts for the four treatment categories [enrollment type, rate design] and key customer groups in the cooling and heating seasons, and compare the two enrollment strategies. Additionally, we will share customer survey findings focused on engagement strategies and customer actions to achieve load reduction. The presentation will conclude with DTE sharing their proposed design for the full implementation of a TOU rate to approximately 1.9 million customers.

Reaching and Engaging Diverse Customers With Innovative Rates

At PLMA’s 41st Conference, Con Edison presented lessons learned from its recruitment campaigns in Staten Island and Westchester for its demand-rate Innovative Pricing Pilot (IPP). Since then, Con Edison enrolled 62K customers to IPP from Brooklyn, a significantly more ethnically diverse customer population than previous targeted audiences. This session will share insights and recommendations from that recruitment campaign including how past recruitment messages were refined to reach a more ethnically diverse target audience and Brooklyn recruitment results compared to previous campaigns, especially for customers in Experian Mosaic’s Cultural Connections segment (diverse, mid- and low-income families in urban apartments and residences).

Since recruitment, Con Edison has fielded three surveys to Brooklyn participants measuring awareness, understanding, behavior, and satisfaction. Con Edison will present survey findings for the Cultural Connections segment, how results have changed over time, and how that has influenced on-going engagement communications.

Track F: Electric Transportation

Increasing Vehicle Electrification through Partnerships, Research, and Innovation

Xcel Energy has launched its Transportation Electrification Plan (TEP) which includes a portfolio of solutions to help customers with EV adoption; from advisory services to EV make ready programs and providing charging equipment. Within this portfolio is our Partnership, Research, and Innovation (PRI) program. This program allows Xcel Energy to explore innovations that may help the industry accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. This session would discuss this novel utility program and how we convinced regulators to provide funding. It will further discuss the current slate of programs that we are running through our current round of PRI funding:

  • V2X Demonstrations — a series of demonstrations including V2H, V2B, and V2G.
  • Car Share — promoting the electrification of car share vehicles.
  • Paratransit — supporting paratransit electrification.
  • Refuse Vehicles — extended duration ride-n-drives to encourage BEV adoption by waste management companies.
  • System Resiliency Tool — determines distribution upgrades DCFC Storage.

First Glance A Lesson in Telematics: Summer 2022 EV DR Events in Connecticut

Utilities across the country are exploring the efficacy of demand response (DR) events on electric vehicles (EVs). In Summer 2022, Eversource Connecticut implemented their first season of a combined EV DR offering in which both telematics and hardware-based controls were included in peak demand events. This presentation will provide a case study and lessons learned on their first EV DR events with telematics based active load controls. We will share program design, recruitment efforts, event opt-out rates, kilowatts curtailed, charging load shapes, and lessons learned from our first foray into this new frontier.

Closing Session

Summarizing PLMA's FERC 2222 Series —
Bringing It Back Home: What Does FERC 2222 Mean for PLMA Members?

A moderated panel discussion focused on culling perspectives from utilities, consultants, vendors, and wholesale market professionals to help make sense of all that we have learned through the initial three sessions around FERC 2222 and DERs. In particular, this conversation will help distill and interpret the learnings and provide insights as to what this may mean for the PLMA audience.