Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, and in order to meet peak-demand goals, the company had to establish aggressive energy efficiency and demand response programs.
The company operates across multiple jurisdictions and this, in itself, poses unique challenges. For instance, in Maryland, electric utilities have to achieve specified peak-demand goals and a 15% reduction in electric energy demand by 2015. Other ambitious reduction goals include New Jersey: 20% by 2020, and the District of Columbia: 15% by 2015.
One program, the Energy Wise Rewards, drives high levels of customer participation in demand response such as the recently launched Peak Energy Savings Credit. State-of-the art advanced metering infrastructure meters were implemented for this purpose.
The challenges of meeting energy-reduction goals
However, there are many challenges when it comes to launching multiple programs in a limited time period to meet state-specific goals. Jay Demarest, customer relations and programs director for Pepco Holdings Inc, list these as follows:
• Driving a variety of demand-side management (DSM) programs with limited internal staff
• Developing solutions to address communication with non-Automated Metering Infrastructure devices
• Achieving state-specific goals, such as Maryland's greater than 50% program participation rate
• Ramping an implementation team capable of fast-tracking nearly 350,000 devices
• Recruiting participants without the advantage of an existing program
• Creating effective marketing campaigns to enroll and retain program participants
By partnering with Comverge, a provider of intelligent energy management solutions, Pepco Holdings Inc was able to provide a number of solutions:
• Executing a broader vision by bundling energy-saving products
• Explaining the energy-saving products bundle to customers face-to-face
• Cross-selling our other energy-saving products at no added charge to Pepco Holdings Inc
• Automating and tracking all major elements of their program via IntelliSOURCE demand response software platform
• Leveraging its program recruitment offering (IntelliMARKET) with extensive experience with demand response, dynamic pricing, and energy efficiency program management and marketing
• Meeting regulatory reporting requirements
• Using its fulfillment experience and flexibility to ramp resources as required
While Pepco Holdings Inc provides oversight and guidance for the overall program and works alongside Comverge to develop tactics to meet regulatory goals, Comverge is responsible for most of the program implementation. This is mostly due to the fact that Comverge has experienced program management, marketing, technical, commercial, engineering, IT, and customer support professionals.
Comverge is also responsible for the development and execution of marketing tactics along with the creation of collateral materials to increase participation levels. The firm also takes control of the administration and management of the enrollment process, along with the integration of participant information with Pepco Holdings’ customer and billing systems.
With regards to after-sales, Comverge takes control of device fulfillment, maintenance, and repairs, in addition to operating the call center to field customer questions.
Commitment to reduce energy consumption
As of March 2014, this collaboration has seen the successful deployment of over 306,000 intelligent energy management devices-this includes Comverge smart thermostats and control switches.
Says Mr Demarest, “Our Energy Wise Rewards program reflects our commitment to reduce energy consumption in all of our markets.” He adds that the firm is aiming to expand the program in order to achieve increased flexibility and improve the management of peak-energy demand.
The proof is in the pudding
Partnering since 2009, Pepco Holdings Inc and Comverge have achieved significant successes. Mr Demarest lists them as follows:
• Hitting 300 MW load reduction and counting
• Receiving Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection revenue for capacity
• Opening eight different markets in all five Pepco Holdings Inc jurisdictions
• Installed 306,000 control devices and counting
• Launched both commercial and master meter programs in Maryland
• Hit a 40% customer/program penetration among eligible households in the Pepco Maryland jurisdiction
• Received 2012 Platts Global Energy “Award of Excellence”
• Earned 2014 “Project of the Year” from POWERGRID International
• Named “Energy Company of the Year” by Energy Central in March 2014
In conclusion, Mr Demarest says, “Looking forward, we expect our expanded relationship will lead to additional benefits for Pepco Holdings Inc, including increasing load reduction through growing participation rates in Energy Wise Rewards and Peak Energy Savings Credit, facilitating Automated Metering Infrastructure-enabled dynamic pricing programs, and incorporating more appliances into demand response programs.”