Learning lessons from PSE’s residential demand response pilot.
Peter Steele-Mosey is a senior consultant at Navigant Consulting’s Toronto office. His principal area of interest is econometric program evaluation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residential direct load control programs intended to reduce peak residential demand on hot summer afternoons have become increasingly common, particularly in more innovative jurisdictions such as Arizona and California. In the last two years, dozens of evaluations of air-conditioning direct load control pilots and programs have been published, and as a result, a fairly solid understanding of potential demand reductions exists. Likewise, the effects and persistence of so-called “snapback”—the increase in demand above normal levels immediately following a curtailment event—are also well understood.
Meanwhile, utilities in winter-peaking areas have received far less attention. Although a small number of studies examining the impact of water-heater direct load control during the winter do exist, robust empirical studies examining the impacts of the direct load control of space heating in winter aren’t nearly as common. Thus, Navigant’s recent evaluation of Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) residential demand response (DR) pilot and survey data reported by Navigant contractor Energy Market Innovations should be of particular interest to winter-peaking utilities.