Pepco Holdings (PHI) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving about two million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and New Jersey.
PHI subsidiaries Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric provide regulated electricity service.
In addition, Delmarva Power provides natural gas service, and Pepco Energy Services provides energy efficiency and renewable energy services. As a regulated transmission and distribution company, PHI’s business strategy focuses on upgrading infrastructure, building a smarter grid and enhancing the customer experience as a means to achieve its shareholder and environmental sustainability goals.
In February 2014, PHI won the POWERGRID International Project of the Year award for its direct load control program, and in March 2014, Energy Central named PHI Energy Company of the Year. In 2015, PHI received more recognition, winning the Peak Load Management Program Pacesetter Award and the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative CLEAR Award for Consumer Education. Operating across multiple jurisdictions (DE, DC, MD, and NJ) poses unique challenges.
The EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008, for example, requires Maryland’s electric utilities to develop programs that achieve specified peak demand goals and a 15% reduction in electric energy demand by 2015. Similarly, New Jersey has a reduction goal of 20% by 2020, and the District of Columbia had a reduction goal of 15% by 2015.
To meet these state initiatives, PHI outlined an aggressive initiative of energy efficiency and demand response programs. One of these was Energy Wise Rewards, which has at its core the widespread deployment of state-of-the-art AMI meters, driving high levels of customer participation in demand response programs such as the recently launched Peak Energy Savings Credit (PESC).
PHI realized, however, that developing and implementing the multiple programs on a compressed schedule to meet state-specific goals had many challenges:
- Launching a variety of demand-side management (DSM) programs with limited internal staff
- Developing solutions to address communication with non-AMI devices
- Achieving state-specific goals, such as Maryland’s greater than 50% program participation rate
- Ramping an implementation team capable of fast-track fulfilment of more than 350,000 initial devices
- Recruiting participants without the advantage of a foundational active legacy program upon which to build
- Creating effective marketing campaigns to enrol and retain program participants
The task confronting PHI was not only to determine the best way to manage the various aspects of their plan but whether to undertake the execution in-house by increasing staff levels or to collaborate with a vendor experienced with such programs. PHI’s list of key considerations pointed to the need for a broad range of technical, commercial and IT solutions as well as variable staffing levels to implement the programs.
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