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IoT World Forum 2016
IoT World Forum 2016

Opower Scales Cost-Effective Demand Response Without Devices to 1M Households

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Opower announced that it has partnered with several leading utilities to engage over 1 million residential customers this summer through its enhanced Demand Response platform. Based on last summer’s success, Opower is doubling the size of its existing program with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and partnering with utilities across 3 of the largest Independent System Operators (ISOs) to help them meet their demand management goals. All utility partners will have access to enhanced features that enable increased scale, greater personalization, and improved measurement and verification.

“Traditional DR programs are costly, can take years to deploy, and have very limited adoption — reaching less than 5% of US homes.” said Alex Kinnier, Opower’s Senior Vice President of Product. “Through behavioral science, leading utilities are finding a better way. They’re using Opower’s cloud-based platform to unlock a reliable capacity resource that is cost-effective, rapidly deployed, and can engage everyone.”

Launched last summer, Opower’s Behavioral Demand Response (BDR) platform leverages energy and billing data, behavioral science and highly personalized real-time digital communications to drive measurable peak reduction without a device in the home. BGE partnered with Opower to launch BGE Smart Energy Rewards® to more than 300,000 customers. As part of BGE’s Smart Energy Rewards program, customers received highly personalized communications through Opower’s BDR platform. Customers without load control devices reduced their consumption by approximately 5 percent on average, through behavioral changes alone. In addition, customers with BGE’s existing direct load control program, PeakRewardsSM, reduced their consumption by about 23 percent on average.

“BGE is committed to engaging customers in energy efficiency and demand response programs like BGE Smart Energy Rewards that help customers save energy and money,” said Ruth Kiselewich, Director of Demand Side Management Programs for BGE. “BGE is proud to team up with Opower, which serves as the foundation in those efforts.”

Based on last summer’s successful launch, which resulted in over $7M in customer bill savings for BGE customers, the program will be expanded to more than 800,000 customers this summer. In addition, several new utilities including Efficiency Vermont, Consumers Energy, and Glendale Water & Power will deploy this highly scalable resource to their residential customer base. These first-of-their-kind programs will utilize multi-channel behavioral feedback, without incentives or devices, to engage customers and motivate them to reduce their peak usage.

“Vermonters take a lot of pride in being community-oriented and economical,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “We are enthusiastic about the potential of Opower’s cloud-based platform to help Vermonters turn those values into concrete actions that will drive real savings for our electric system and customers.”

Opower’s BDR solution is built on the Opower 5: Flex platform, released earlier this year. Beginning immediately, all partners on the BDR platform will have access to the following capabilities to maximize the impact of their programs:

Increased Scale To Achieve Time Sensitive Capacity – Demand response programs require rapid communication with customers in order to achieve peak reduction during specific timeframes. Opower BDR can meet the most stringent utility SLAs, and has been scaled to deliver 1M messages per hour via email, phone, and text message.

Greater Personalization to Deliver Consistent Peak Reduction – Opower BDR allows each utility to test hundreds of combinations of content and channel across key customer segments, optimizing communications to improve savings impact over time. During summer 2014, utilities will have access to additional content and channel combinations, including the ability to engage customers that are not enrolled in dynamic rates through AMI-enabled neighbor comparisons and rankings.

Improved Measurement and Verification Tools – Opower has built a suite of analytics capabilities to measure and optimize demand response results via customer level regression baseline analysis. Throughout the course of each season, Opower will assess peak reduction soon after each event, and use this data to deliver the most effective customer communications.

SOURCE: Opower