15th PLMA Award Winners in April 2018

PLMA Recognizes Leading Energy Utility Industry Load Management Initiatives

PLMA 15th Annual Award Winners

Coronado, Calif. – April 17, 2018 PLMA (Peak Load Management Alliance) announced six winners of its 15th PLMA Awards. The Awards were presented during the 37th PLMA Conference in Coronado, California. Those recognized as the best demand response and other load management programs, initiatives and achievements from calendar year 2017 are:

Program Pacesetters

  • ComEd's Peak Time Savings Program
  • Gulf Power's Energy Select Program

Thought Leaders

  • Austin Energy's Green Building Initiative
  • Jennifer Potter

Technology Pioneer

  • Hawaiian Electric Company's Regulation Reserves Program
  • Nest's Solar Eclipse Rush Hour Rewards Program

Upcoming Webcast Schedule

  • May 3 Richard Barone, Hawaii Electric with Dain Nestel
  • May 24 Jenny Potter with Danielle Sass Byrnett, NARUC
  • June 7 Cynthia Berry, Austin Energy with Dain Nestel
  • June 14 William Eggart, Gulf Power with Jason Cigarran, Itron
  • July 19 Aaron Berndt, Nest with Nick Corsetti
  • August 2 Brian Kirchman, ComEd and Alan Mellovitz, Accenture with Nick Corsetti

The 15th PLMA Awards recognize industry leaders who created, during calendar year 2017, innovative ideas, methods, programs and technologies that manage end use loads to meet peak load needs, mitigate price risks, and support successful grid integration of distributed energy resources. Over the past 14 years, PLMA has presented over 68 awards to recipients who have included utilities, product/service providers, end-users, and individuals responsible for demand response efforts targeted to the residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customer markets.

PLMA (Peak Load Management Alliance) is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 as the Voice of Demand Response Practitioners. PLMA's over 140 member organizations share expertise to educate each other and explore innovative approaches to demand response programs, price and rate response, regional regulatory issues, and technologies as the energy markets evolve represent a broad range of energy professionals. Learn more at www.peakload.org.


About the 15th PLMA Award Winners (in alphabetical order)

Austin Energy's Green Building Initiative

Austin Energy influences city of Austin codes through partnership with Green Building (GB) initiatives managed by its Customer Energy Solutions activity. In order to build energy efficient homes and businesses, local code amendments were added to facilitate DR program participation. Energy codes require new buildings with automation systems controlling HVAC and/or lighting systems to have OpenADR capabilities and smart/WiFi thermostats to be installed in new single and multifamily construction. GB and DR programs work together to promote DR participation through the rating process. Ensuring commercial design teams follow a set of DR implementations, buildings can earn additional points on the rating when enrolled in the utility's commercial and industrial program Load Cooperative. The utility further encourages installation of smart/Wi-Fi thermostats with $25 rebate for single and multifamily customers. The utility partners with an implementer to operate a retail program with national home improvement stores to offer instant discounts for products such as LED lighting and ENERGY STAR appliances. Thermostats are advertised with signage to promote PPT thermostats and rebates to influence customer choice.

ComEd's Peak Time Savings Program

ComEd's Peak Time Savings (PTS) is an opt-in behavioral DR program offered to residential customers with smart meters. PTS, which has been operational for three summers since 2015, is a first-of-its-kind program to be offered in the Midwest, paying participants for voluntarily reducing consumption during summer Peak Time Savings Hours when electricity demand is typically high. PTS enrollment began in the fall of 2014 with approximately 20,000 customers enrolling in the first 90 days, resulting in one of the most successful program launches in ComEd's history. Since then, enrollment has risen to upwards of 230,000 customers, with more than 250,000 expected to participate in the summer of 2018. Not only is the program cost-effective, but market research has also confirmed significant customer satisfaction.  Most recently, ComEd launched the integration of If This Than That (“IFTTT”) which has demonstrated the commitment to leveraging AMI capabilities while providing customers with comprehensive IoT enablement.  Leveraging the IFTTT platform, ComEd customers have the power to completely customize how their connected devices respond to pricing signals and Peak Time Savings events. Customers can set their devices to interact with ComEd and IFTTT whether they have an entire line of Connected Home products or a single smart light bulb. This, along with the potential integration with EVs and DERs, gives customers an immense opportunity to save money when their devices automatically curtail energy usage in response to DR events and changes to market price.

Gulf Power's Energy Select Program

As the first fully-automated price-based demand response program, Energy Select was designed to reduce generation needs, better use existing capacity, and enhance customer satisfaction. The Energy Select rate features four tiers that better reflect the cost of producing electricity during those periods, and customers pre-program central cooling and heating systems, electric water heaters and pool pumps to respond automatically to the different prices. As many utilities have struggled to successfully implement price-based DR programs, this “set it and forget it” approach enables easy customer participation. Over the years, the program's enabling technology has evolved to meet the changing needs of Gulf Power and its customers. The program initially used one-way paging for communication into the home and customers had to program the devices through the thermostat. Using Itron's IntelliSOURCE Enterprise software, Energy Select now leverages customer's Wi-Fi networks for two-way communications and devices are programmed through a mobile device or computer. The technology improvements have dramatically increased enrollments, improved customer satisfaction and reduced service costs. Gulf Power deserves recognition for being a pioneer in price-based demand response as well as for its commitment to innovation that has significantly increased the value of the Energy Select program for the utility and its customers.

Hawaiian Electric Company's Regulation Reserves Program

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has successfully utilized customer assets to provide utility grade Grid Services. Faced with the 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard target, HECO will use demand response and other demand-side resources to provide various grid services needed to maintain the grid reliability of the islands, including capacity, regulation reserves, and frequency response services. Regulation reserves is the most complex service requiring continuous real-time operation with variable controls every four seconds. HECO's Demand Response team, led by Richard Barone and supported by OATI technology, has defined and managed this highly innovative demand response initiative, truly moving demand response and distributed energy resource management to a higher level, to enhance and strengthen grid reliability while allowing greater levels of renewable generation.

Jennifer Potter

Jennifer's utility and research experience cover transmission and distribution grid operations, conventional and renewable sources, distributed energy resources (DER), integration of demand-side resources, time-based pricing and demand response (DR). Her economic research includes cutting-edge work on market potential and economic analysis research on demand response, time-based pricing, DERs, and energy efficiency. She has provided technical assistance to state policymakers, on the behalf of the Department of Energy, to Hawaii, California, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, and Oregon. She has published a number of reports, including as a lead author of the California Demand Response Potential Study for the CPUC, over the last year that has been recognized as significant contributions to the industry. Her published work and reputation have been leveraged for a number of webinars and conference appearances, as well as presentations to state policymakers around frameworks and considerations for demand response and integrated demand-side management.

Nest's Solar Eclipse Rush Hour Rewards Program

Nest achieved unprecedented consumer engagement in its Rush Hour Rewards program during the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 by recruiting 750,000 Nest devices to shift 700 MW of cumulative demand. During the eclipse, many grid operators predicted that solar energy production would be reduced by as much as 9,000 MW. Nest launched a wide-reaching marketing campaign to recruit customers to reduce their cooling energy use during the eclipse by opting into a special Rush Hour Rewards event with just one click on their Nest Learning Thermostat. The number of customers who participated is unparalleled in any other demand response program to date. The success of this campaign demonstrates that consumer-friendly, multi-channel marketing campaigns coupled with a simplified one-click opt-in experience can drive consumer engagement significantly to manage energy load.