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    Utilities Rely on Oracle to Reduce Peak Energy Demand During Extreme Weather


    June 24, 2022 - Pivotal Sources

     

      United States, June 23 -- Summer is here, bringing the promise of more-extreme weather events and strain on the energy grid. However, record results from Oracle Utilities Opower Peak Management programs from the summer of 2021 show that consumers can be a powerful ally in maintaining grid reliability. Opower engaged more than 3.3 million people in dozens of events across North America in 2021. Using behavioral science alone, Opower delivered 25 megawatts of demand reduction across clients""the equivalent of bringing 10 wind turbines online. In addition, Opower delivered hundreds more megawatts of demand reduction with peak time rebate programs. These efforts not only shifted usage when energy prices surged and the threat of rolling blackouts loomed, but also helped customers reduce their energy bills and improve overall satisfaction with their utility. Utilities around the U.S. are currently working on programs that can apply the same principles and customer action to better manage their response to extreme weather events this summer. Customers rise to the energy saving challengeLast summer, Opower Behavioral Demand Response programs were run in the California ISO, PJM Interconnection serving large parts of the East Coast, New York ISO, and The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) electricity markets. These programs were run by more utilities, engaged more customers, and delivered more peak demand reduction than in any other year in Opower's history.Customers received educational emails about impending seasonal changes and tips on how to save energy. Personalized, post-event feedback has proven to be critical to the success of behavioral demand response programs as evidenced by the fact that those communications, were opened at an average of 53% - which is 2.5X the industry average. And in the case of CPS Energy, 32% of survey respondents said their satisfaction with the energy provider increased because of the alerts. Guiding, and rewarding, energy-saving behaviorOpower Behavioral Demand Response solutions, some of which use incentives in addition to behavioral nudges, encourage utility customers to reduce their load on peak event days. They consist of pre-season communications that prepare people to be a part of the program, pre-event notifications that alert them of an impending event and ask them to reduce their energy use, and post-event communications that celebrate their performance. These programs are also unique in that they seek to gamify the experience of shifting energy usage. As part of the post-event notifications, customers are rewarded for their contributions with badges they can share over social media, highlighting how much they saved.Behavioral Demand Response makes customers a crucial part of shifting demand. This is important because a recent study from The Brattle Group reinforce how customers must be involved in decarbonization efforts if the industry is going to achieve its aggressive 2040 targets. Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Pivotal Sources. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com

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