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C&I Customers Get Smart

Technology creates new opportunities for demand- side management

Fortnightly Magazine - January 2011

order to spur competition for smart building technologies and applications, customers should be able to give third parties access to that meter data as they choose. Many C&I customers—especially those with more restricted resources—don’t have the capacity to define and employ complex energy strategies. In these cases, outsourcing some or all of this function to a third party can be an economic and effective decision. Because C&I facilities, unlike homes and apartments, have diverse loads and operational needs, delivering C&I smart grid applications requires specialized skills. Utilities, as well as energy services firms, technology providers, and consultants, employ trained professionals that can aid C&I organizations in harnessing the potential of C&I smart grid technologies to unlock the full value of energy management. To do this, there won’t be one universal energy management application—much like there isn’t one credit card, or clothing store, or financial institution.

Much as consumers like to have the option of choosing their brand of smart phones or morning cereal, C&I energy users will have different needs and technology preferences. A variety of companies will likely be competing in the marketplace to develop the most useful, valuable tools. In the long run, the tools that provide the most value will win out—much like Internet Explorer won out over Netscape, Facebook over MySpace, and iTunes over Musicmatch Jukebox. And five years from now, it’s likely that C&I customers will be receiving extraordinary value from the smart grid, in ways that we can’t currently envision.



1. Pike Research, “Smart Grid Technologies: Networking and Communications,” 4Q 2009. Executive Summary.

2. See, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “National Assessment of Demand Response Potential,” June 2009, Table A-1.

3. 2009 data. See, Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.1, October 2010.

4. See, Electric Power Research Institute, Assessment of Achievable Potential from Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Programs in the U.S. (2010 - 2030) , January 2009.

5. See, Ahmad Faruqui, Jennifer Palmer and Sanem Sergici, “The Untold Story: A Survey of C&I Dynamic Pricing Pilot Studies.” Metering International , ISSN: 1025-8248, Issue: 3, Date: 2010, p.104. The C&I pilots evaluated include the California Statewide Pricing Pilot, Baltimore Gas & Electric’s Smart Energy Pricing Pilot and Connecticut Light and Power’s Plan-It Wise Energy Program.

6. Researchers have learned that the Toyota Prius helps save drivers money not only because it switches efficiently between gasoline and electric power but also because of its conspicuous control screen, allowing drivers to see their real-time gasoline efficiency.

7. Conclusion of Law 77 in California Public Utilities Commission Decision (09-12-046), p.77.