19th PLMA Award Winners Presented in April 2022

PLMA Recognizes Leading Load Management, Demand Response, and DER Initiatives

19th Recipients - 2022

PLMA Trophy 

PLMA proudly announced the winners of its 19th PLMA Awards on April 5, 2022: Those recognized by their peers for outstanding load management programs, initiatives, and achievements. 

Pictured above, receiving their organization's award on April 5, 2022 are, left to right:  

Rachel Robinson, WeaveGrid
Kristy Fleishmann Groncki, BGE
Orly Hasidim, Universal Devices
Mark S. Martinez, SCE
Lon Huber, Duke Energy
Stacy Phillips, Duke Energy
Andy Taylor, Duke Energy
Kevin Fox, Duke Energy
Beth Reid, Olivine
Vasudha Lathey, Olivine


Congratulations to each of the Award Winning Initiatives!

Program Pacesetters Award Winners:

Technology Pioneer Award Winner:

Thought Leadership Award Winner: 

Learn more about each initiative by clicking here.

These winning initiatives will each be featured in a PLMA Load Management Dialogue webinar/podcast in the Summer of 2022. Please check the PLMA Calendar for broadcast dates. 

19th Awards - Summer Webinar Series

About the PLMA Awards Program
The annual PLMA Awards program recognizes industry leaders who, in the previous calendar year, created innovative ideas, methods, programs, and technologies to manage end-use loads, meet peak load demand, and support the successful grid integration of distributed energy resources. Over the past 19 years, PLMA has presented ~100 awards to utilities, product/service providers, end-users, and individuals responsible for demand response efforts targeted to the residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customer markets.

Learn More about the 19th PLMA Award Winning Initiatives

Program Pacesetter: BGE with WeaveGrid

Program Pacesetter: Olivine and PG&E
Technology Pioneer: PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and Universal Devices
Thought Leader: Duke Energy

2022 Program Pacesetter: 
BGE for its Telematics-based Smart EV Program with WeaveGrid
Working with WeaveGrid, Baltimore Gas & Electric's (BGE) EV Smart Residential EV Program is among the first programs to use electric vehicle (EV)-based telematics to provide insights on customer charging behavior, and is also the very first program to use telematics to support an EV time-of-use (TOU) rate without the need of a networked smart charger or a utility installed sub-meter for EV charging. The programs use the vehicle’s computer to measure EV-specific electricity usage, and then offer lower cost off-peak charging to participants, resulting in a 16% improvement in charging during off-peak times.

In a high electrification scenario, EVs are projected to become up to 23% of utilities’ load in the by 2050, with “peak load” happening at the local level, as well as at the bulk system level. The BGE programs attract EV drivers to participate in load management activities by making enrollment and participation easy. In addition to load management activities, the use of telematics provides BGE with data on EVs that allows them to forecast where and when the peaks of the future will occur. 

BGE’s residential offerings included a rebate program designed to introduce customers to utility EV programs, support adoption of wifi-enabled L2 chargers with partners Chargepoint, Enel X, and Siemens, and increase data sharing between residential customers and the utility. The rebate program includes a $300 rebate to customers with a qualifying residential Level 2 smart charger in exchange for sharing charging data with the utility. These customers are also given access to a charging insights platform.

Customers began to enroll in the BGE program using the $300 rebate for the Level 2 charger, however, the majority of EVs in the BGE service territory were Teslas which come with a non-networked wall charger. In order to access the Teslas in its service territory, BGE  partnered with WeaveGrid to enable program participation via direct-to-vehicle telematics, eliminating the need for customers to install networked Level 2 chargers.

As a result of its streamlined onboarding process with a typical sign up time of 2 minutes, BGE experienced a rapid acceleration in driver enrollments, such that it was fully subscribed in just over two years, even though the utility was authorized to to administer 1,000 rebates over the course of 5 years. Building on the success of the telematics-enabled sign-ups, BGE launched an EV-TOU rate in January 2021 which offers a lower rate for off-peak EV charging, without installing a separate meter. As a result, BGE has enrolled a significant number of customers in the telematics-enabled EV TOU program without requiring customers to purchase additional hardware.

In its first year, BGE has achieved over 500 customers sign up for the EV TOU rate, with the majority of these customers participating via WeaveGrid’s telematics offering, which further demostrates the scalability of this type of technology. In addition, the EV TOU rate has proven to be easy for customers to understand, and with driver behavioral coaching and personalized messaging from WeaveGrid, BGE has successfully shifted charging patterns from 80% off-peak charging to 96% off-peak charging.** This significant shift in charging patterns was enabled by connecting directly to vehicles and avoiding secondary meter or hardware installation, representing a cost-savings for the utility and the customer.

Easy enrollment, high levels of participation, and a demonstrated shift in charging patterns shows this innovative program to be easily scalable to more EV drivers in BGE's service territory and easily replicable in other utility service territories. As a result, BGE is already expanding this offering to increase program eligibility across more automakers and models, and to further grow the program so that it can continue to push EV charging into lower-demand grid hours. BGE’s innovative telematics-enabled programs in partnership with WeaveGrid has demonstrated the potential to significantly increase sign-ups, participation, and levels of grid flexibility from broad customer participation in significantly less time than traditional programs. Additionally, these programs are the precursor to an Exelon-led Department of Energy project enabling advanced managed charging (active utility managed charging) in support of more complex grid management goals which will continue to build on these learnings. 

2022 Program Pacesetter: 
Olivine + PG&E for their Collaboration on Solving Problems for Diverse Customers and Situations

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Olivine were recognized for their ongoing collaborations in 2021. Together, they worked to unlock load flexibility across northern California for diverse customers, including low income residential customers from disadvantaged communities as well as for large commercial and industrial customers (C&I). 

Their work together leveraged the Olivine ClimateResponseTM technology and services, specifically the ClimateResponseTM App as an innovative technology solution for facilitating customer engagement and education to enhance peak load management. This App is integrated with the Olivine DER Platform and is a one-stop-shop for customers to monitor their home electricity usage, engage with demand response (DR) programs, participate in events, reduce emissions, and contribute to grid stability and resilience. The technology features of the app offer equitable access for all customers. It is also provided in multiple languages, is available as a mobile and web version, and engages customers through event notifications and reminders, energy savings tips, post-event energy and environmental impact data, and by tracking program earnings. 

The App was launched in 2020 for the implementation of the Fresno Energy Program, a behavioral DR program that delivered on average 0.65 kW of load reduction per household during events with residents in the low-income communities of south-central Fresno, CA. The load performance delivered by low-income customers through a behavioral DR program was many times higher than similar programs, and was made possible through the unique technological, engagement, and educational features of the Olivine app.

In the summer 2022, PG&E’s Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) will leverage the Olivine app for its residential customers. Olivine will also administer the ELRP for PG&E which focuses on aggregating dispatchable load in times of high grid stress and emergencies, and will include C&I customers, program aggregators, Virtual Power Plant (VPP) aggregators, and Vehicle to Grid aggregations. PG&E’s program implementation using both Olivine’s ClimateResponseTM technology and its services provide a model for how utilities can rapidly design, launch, and scale efforts to respond to grid emergencies and mitigate current and future impacts of climate change.

2022 Technology Pioneer:
PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and Universal Devices for the "Demand Response Emerging Technologies" Collaborative

Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and Universal Devices were recognized for the successful launch of the Demand Response Emerging Technologies (DRET) Collaborative. In 2021, Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) completed a coordinated trio of projects in 2021, under the Demand Response Emerging Technologies (DRET) Collaborative*, effectively demonstrating that smart speakers offer a highly promising channel for utilities to reach residential customers and facilitate beneficial changes in the way they use energy.

These projects each utilized “smart speakers” as a voice-activated gateway in assessing the ability for customers to interact with Amazon Alexa software and hardware solutions which created an intuitive interface between the smart speakers, the utility, in-home connected smart appliances, and the customer. To participate, a customer can either download an app to their phone or self-install an easily available in-home device, linking their utility account and smart devices.

This solution leverages a voice activated assistant to create a pathway for two-way instantaneous verbal communication between the utility and the customer about energy usage, outages, and alerts. It also enabled the customer to manage their smart devices in their home to maximize energy savings without having to individually control or program each end use.

The SCE and PG&E pilots utilized the “Energy Expert” Amazon skills technology developed by Universal Devices (UDI). The Energy Expert enables customers to interact with their home’s energy use using their smart speaker, providing customers with cost estimates, time-of-use (TOU) pricing, rate plan comparison and historical data, while also allowing customers to optimize their energy use through messaging, analytics, and end device integration. The skill was originally developed as part of a transactive energy project in Southern California and then advanced through follow-up development for time-of-use rate (TOU) load management. Additionally, through an in-home energy management system, the Energy Expert can facilitate automated control of connected smart devices, as set up by the customer.

This solution creates a platform to educate customers about energy savings, rebates, energy efficiency programs, California “Flex Alerts”, and other demand response opportunities and helps them to accomplish their energy goals at their convenience. In field tests the smart speakers were found to be an effective way to enable dynamic rate management in a way that residential customers like. The use of existing smart speaker systems in customers' homes also reduces cost for the utility and inconvenience for the customer. Each utility participating in the pilot had a unique program.

The California utilities realized that smart speakers are an ideal point of entry for residential customers because they have been widely adopted in homes across customer segments nationwide, with relatively consistent adoption across age groups, demonstrated increasing usage over time, and a high level of smart speaker owners encouraging peers to make a similar purchase. This pioneering effort to enhance Alexa in customer homes for load management makes this solution particularly cost-effect and easy to scale, and can revolutionize the way utilities interact with customers as they develop innovative future models of energy markets, load management, and demand response programs. For more information, www.dret-ca.com/smart-speakers. 

2022 Thought Leader:

Duke Energy for its Multiple Initiatives and Commitments to DR/DER Advancement

Duke Energy was recognized for its Thought Leadership in advancing numerous successful demand response programs across its territory. Its DR team manages these programs for all rate classes in five states, each on its own path to achieve the company’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. Demand response will play a critical role in getting there, balancing load against intermittent renewable generation and pushing usage from peak, in addition to its day job of helping to ensure reliability.

The company runs traditional demand response programs with switches on appliances for residential customers, interruptible rates, and manual load reduction for non-residential customers. Quickly the portfolio is adding more tools to manage demand. EV managed charging, Small & Medium Business Bring Your Own kW, and AMI residential switches are in pilot planning stages. In-flight pilots include Bring Your Own Battery and flat billing with controllable thermostats. Duke is also looking at low income demand response programs and how to use the capability at the distribution level to defer or avoid investment on a smaller scale.

The proliferation of solar generation is creating new challenges for the company, which demand response can help address. In the mid 2010’s, North and South Carolina flipped from summer to winter peaking. A winter peak study was commissioned to identify opportunities for demand response tools to address it. After decades of building summer afternoon capability, the utility had to start building winter morning capability. Today there are over 11,000 residential customers participating in winter programs and the rate pilots have moved to permanent rates. Florida is reconsidering how its 1200MW of capability should be used as its peak is moving from the 5:00 hour to the 8:00 in 2024 due to the increase in solar generation. Both the MISO Seasonal Construct and FERC 2222 will impact the company’s Midwest operations. In all cases, the company is working on a portfolio of solutions to meet changes in technology and customer preference.

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