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SEPA Report: The Next Generation of Demand Response

New Technologies and Software Fuel Demand Response Capabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Based on data collected from 190 utilities, representing 64% of total U.S. customer accounts, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) found that utilities enrolled 20.8 GW of demand response (DR) capacity, and dispatched 12.3 GW of DR capacity (59.2% of enrolled capacity) in 2018. The commercial and industrial (C&I) segment contributed over half of total reported DR capacity, 13.3GW.

The 2019 Demand Response Utility Market Snapshot details the phasing out of older programs, the introduction of advanced technologies and smart devices increasing customer engagement, and the growing diversity of program offerings.

Other key takeaways include:

  • Utilities are moving away from traditional DR programs, and are increasingly interested in advanced technologies, noting a shift to demand flexibility.
  • Investment in thermostat programs remains strong, with 53 utilities calling on thermostats in 2018, and 17 utilities indicating piloting or expanding their thermostat programs in 2019 and beyond.
  • 54 utilities reported offering behavioral DR programs, with these programs using two different approaches: 1) traditional event-based programs, and 2) time-based behavioral programs. Behavioral programs, regardless of approach, are using advanced customer engagement strategies to prompt participation.
  • Programs are increasingly providing customers with options that utilize smart home and voice-enabled devices. The success of these programs relies on customer engagement and education.
  • 38 utility-run EV managed charging projects have taken place from 2012-2019, with utility interest continuing to grow in direct load control via charging infrastructure as well as automaker telematics.
  • Three pilot programs in the U.S. are demonstrating how demand response can play a role in transactive energy.
  • Clean Peak Standards and commitments to go 100% carbon-free are encouraging utilities to pursue demand response programs as part of an integrated portfolio of DERs.

“Utilities and the industry are uncovering a host of capabilities for demand response as they adopt more advanced technologies. In order to fully take advantage of the benefits of new technologies and programs, customers need to be engaged, educated, and feel invested,” said Medha Surampudy, Senior Research Analyst and lead author of the 2019 Utility Demand Response Market Snapshot.

The 2019 Utility Demand Response Market Snapshot is the third in the SEPA Snapshot series, all based on the results of the SEPA  Annual Utility Market Survey. The 2019 Utility Solar Market Snapshot and 2019 Utility Energy Storage Market Snapshot are available for free download on the SEPA website.

Media contact: Jordan Nachbar [email protected]; 202-559-2034