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AESP Energy Award Review Series: Eversource’s ConnectedSolutions Demand Response Program

image credit: Eversource

Earlier this year at the 30th Annual AESP Conference in Anaheim, California, AESP honored the eight winners of the 2020 AESP Energy Awards. These awards were given to utilities who are blazing new path towards the future and creating replicable roadmaps for others to do the same. Recently, AESP also hosted a series of webinars for these award winners to discuss their projects and share their insights with the greater community.

AESP is a proud partner of Energy Central’s ‘Energy Efficiency Community’, and so we wanted to also give a tip of the hat to those award winners by listening in and sharing a quick summary and some key lessons learned from these webinars. As these overviews get published, you can keep track of all of them here. The next one we’d love to share about is the Eversource ConnectedSolutions Demand Response Program, which was honored by AESP as ‘Outstanding Achievement in Residential Program Design & Implementation.’

The Eversource ConnectedSolutions program was created to extend the capabilities of and innovate on top of the existing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model of traditional demand response programs. With a goal of maximizing customer enrollment and satisfaction, Eversource paired a customer-centric approach with innovation in DER management technology by diving in to better understand customer behaviors, the performance of different DER dispatch strategies, and the capability of demand response in the grid of tomorrow.

On the AESP Webinar, Joana Abreu—the Program Manager for Demand Response at Eversource—walked listeners through what the program looks like for customers. For Eversource’s residential customers, this program included thermostat demand response (which would be called 13-17 times during the course of the Summer for 3 hours apiece, in exchange for $20 for signing up and $25 per year), battery demand response (30-60 demand response events during the summer for 2-3 hours apiece, offering customers $225/kW in the summer and $50/kW in the winter), and electric vehicle chargers (only 2-8 events per summer at 3 hours apiece, which required scheduling and Eversource Charger Control).

Customers were clearly excited about these programs, as within a month of launching they had over 10,000 devices on board. In fact, the opt out rate was only 13%, and by the end of year one they had achieved their 3-year enrollment goal. By listening to customers, making the program as easy as possible on them, and making the impact felt by customer minimal, they were able to reduce demand effectively during peak hours, as shown below:

Joana shared some of Eversource’s key takeaways from their initiative, which included:

  • Partnerships with manufacturers is key, so get them involved early and often
  • Take advantage of the considerable interest that already exists with residential customers
  • Their battery program, in particular, was so successful that they’re expanding it more widely in 2020
  • Electric vehicles aren’t far behind, and they anticipate a multistate growth in demand response EV rollout
  • In the end, their multitude of offerings are specifically designed to attract a wide array of customer types; there’s something for everyone!

If your organization is looking to expand its demand response offerings, you may want to consider replicating some of the success of Eversource, as their honor of ‘Outstanding Achievement in Residential Program Design & Implementation’ was clearly no accident!

Discussions

Benoit Marcoux's picture
Benoit Marcoux on Apr 14, 2020

We are really seeing two paths for demand management: one by direct control the load (like above) and the other with a price signal (usually time-of-use, although some utilities have tried dynamic pricing). Both approaches have pro and cons. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 14, 2020

Do you see more utilities choosing or vs. the other, or is it more a matter of offering what is attractive to certain customers and carrying both as options?

Benoit Marcoux's picture
Benoit Marcoux on Apr 15, 2020

I have seen both, but I do not have statistics. A few data points:

- There are about 60% of people with smart meters in North America. Smart meters are required for time-of-use and dynamic pricing. Utilities without smart meters do not have this option. 
- Some loads respond well to TOU, like electric vehicles. Other loads are less responsive, like space and water heating. 
- Some utilities ran into technical and customer service issues with direct load control. 

Elizabeth Ritchey's picture
Elizabeth Ritchey on Apr 15, 2020

I am interested in discussing this program with  Joana Abreu. May I have her contact information? I'm looking to set up a similar program in the coming year and interested in knowing hurddles and best practices.

AESP Contributor's picture
AESP Contributor on Apr 16, 2020

Hi Elizabeth, I'd be happy to connect you with Joana. Please contact me offline via email at adeline@aesp.org.

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