SPEER Roadmap shows the way to achieve savings in future years

A modest number of consumers strategically reducing their demand for electricity in Texas on only five total days in 2012 and 2013 could have reduced power costs for all consumers in the state more than $200 million, according to an analysis completed by SPEER.  SPEER evaluated the market price impact of an incremental amount of customer participation in the electric market.   It concluded that by reducing demand for power during just a few hours on certain key days, the costliest power plants would not be called in to support the grid, leading to significant savings.

“Data available from ERCOT allowed us to accurately estimate the savings for these two recent mild years,” said Doug Lewin, SPEER Executive Director.  “Savings in more extreme weather years such as 2011 would be significantly higher.”

Texas was one of the first states to undertake the implementation of competitive electric markets and to roll out the automated meter infrastructure that give the minute by minute consumption data needed to recognize when customers respond.   Still, customer participation, while growing, is modest.  Additional development is required to empower customers, drive market innovations, and achieve potential efficiencies in Texas.

“Market changes to expand options for customer involvement are under consideration at ERCOT, but a clear vision of next steps needed to be identified and articulated,” added Lewin. “The legislature is considering legislation that would direct the PUCT to expand options for customers to respond to market prices and control costs. ”

This study, which is available upon request from SPEER, follows the Smart Energy Roadmap for Texas that was released earlier this week. It details ways Texas can enable emerging data-driven services to bring customers convenience and control over costs.  Texas has spent billions on smart meters to create the market data needed to allow customers to be recognized and credited for demand response and energy efficiency.   The report examines next steps required to allow customers to more easily share their data with data-driven service providers.  The Roadmap is the product of input from over 100 companies including utilities, retail electric providers, and third party energy management companies, as well as advocates, local governments, and regulators.  To see the entire report, please visitwww.eepartnership.org/intelligent-energy-management.

“Open access to customer data by authorized service providers is critical to advancing innovations in energy productivity, efficiency, and new customer services,” said Ed Smith, CEO of Intelligent Energy Solutions LLC, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company operating in Texas.  “Companies like ours can deliver significant reductions in energy costs and enhance grid reliability which together are important foundations to Texas’s smart grid.”

“Customers today expect to get value-added services and apps on their mobile phones by simply sharing their data with one or two touches.  There is no reason why provisioning their smart meter data – in return for meaningful and customized insights – cannot be this simple,” said David Oberholzer, VP of Business and Partner Development at WeatherBug Home.     “In the telecom business this is referred to as ‘last mile’ connectivity, and in the smart meter space, this kind of customer experience is what’s needed to realize the full benefits of the network level investments.”

“The technologies and services that allow customers to save money and energy are advancing rapidly,” said Lewin. “It’s time to take the next steps to empower consumers. The Roadmap shows the way forward.”

The recommendations in the Roadmap to achieve the full benefits for consumers are:

  • Move SMT data repository and governance to ERCOT.
  • Start tracking the number of customers benefiting from improved access to their usage data.
  • Use smart meters to measure and verify savings of all kinds.
  • Make it easier for customers to obtain or share their usage data.
  • Inform customers of the potential savings from tapping third-party services using their smart meters and other devices.
  • Create better opportunities for loads to participate in the ERCOT energy markets.

A full explanation of each is in the Roadmap.

“SPEER’s Smart Energy Roadmap clearly shows the potential of smart meter data to bring tremendous value to consumers,” said Michael Murray, Chief Technology Strategist of Mission:data. “Texas has been a leader in many aspects of the smart grid, but SPEER makes clear there are additional fruits of previously made public investments that have yet to be harvested.”

“We commend SPEER for its leadership in connecting data and energy efficiency programs to power better customer engagement, increase program effectiveness and measure savings. The Smart Energy Roadmap for Texas provides a strong path forward for the future of energy efficiency in the region,” added Jake Oster, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs for EnergySavvy.

To learn more about SPEER please visitwww.eepartnership.org. To see the entire report, please visit www.eepartnership.org/intelligent-energy-management.