Load Management Standards May Facilitate Effectiveness of Demand Response Programs

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - Faced with a deficit in meeting its demand response (DR) goals, the California Energy Commission held a workshop on June 5 in Sacramento to consider the imposition of load management standards.

In a white paper prepared for the Energy Commission, The Brattle Group reviewed California's early history with load management standards and provided options that could increase the effectiveness and penetration of load management and demand response programs. After evaluating the reasons for the current DR deficit, the white paper discussed how government standards could be used to overcome it. An encouraging example is provided by the state's appliance and building efficiency standards, which have contributed half of the gain in energy efficiency over the past three decades.

The Brattle Group's white paper contains three illustrative proposals for achieving the state's DR potential. The first is a pricing standard that would make dynamic pricing the default tariff for all customer classes. The second and third proposals provide enabling technologies that would make it easy for customers to respond to dynamic pricing. They would mandate that programmable communicating thermostats be installed in all residential and small commercial and industrial buildings and that automated demand response software, which works with energy management and control systems, be installed in medium and large commercial and industrial buildings.

Ahmad Faruqui, a principal at The Brattle Group who led the research, noted that in the absence of standards, DR in California is likely to yield a drop of only three percent in the state's peak demand. Faruqui concluded, "With all three illustrative standards in place, a load drop of 15 percent becomes feasible. This would yield a reduction of $8.5 billion in the state's electricity costs over a 20-year horizon."

The Brattle Group provides consulting services and expert testimony in economics and finance to corporations, law firms, and public agencies worldwide. We are active in a wide range of areas including antitrust and competition, valuation and damages, and regulation and planning in network industries.


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