Natural Gas Demand Response Program Demonstrates 18% Savings Potential During a Blizzard

Copper Labs

Posted November 7, 2022

BOULDER, Colo. — Newly released data from demand response program proves real-time usage data significantly improves system reliability.

Copper Labs, a technology provider that unlocks real-time grid-edge data for gas, water and electric utilities, is sharing  results from a pilot program it conducted last winter with utility company National Grid that demonstrates the effectiveness of a natural gas demand response program incorporating near real-time data.

"Unlocking near real-time usage data for our gas consumers has created new opportunities to reduce peak demand when it matters most to our gas distribution system," said Jon Rei, director, Distributed Energy Resources at National Grid. "With Copper Labs' innovative technology, we have a new channel to engage targeted consumers with actionable insights that help them reduce energy costs."

Copper Labs' patented technology can help ratepayers and utilities by generating real-time energy usage data directly from existing automatic meter reading (AMR) gas meters without extensive infrastructure upgrades. As a strong "bomb cyclone" winter storm approached New York in January, National Grid observed increased customer loads and sent residents targeted messages on their smartphones. These messages encouraged them to modify their behavior to help support the gas system during a period of very high demand (e.g., by turning their heat down a few degrees or postponing a hot shower for a couple of hours). 

The result was an 18% reduction in natural gas usage during the peak demand window from customers who received the messages compared to those in the control group who did not. The gas savings allowed National Grid to manage demand and more-efficiently serve its customers while ensuring no system disruptions.

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