5 Things to Know Before a Demand Response Event

checklistDeep within the suffering (and snow) of another Buffalo, NY winter, one cannot possibly be blamed for yearning for the warmth of the upcoming summer.  The chance to settle into another summer vacation will be here before you know it, as will the days of oppressive heat and humidity. And with all of that heat comes the blasting of air conditioners.

Using all that cool air comes at a cost, not only monetarily, but also in the reliability of the electric grid. The risk of brownouts and blackouts is, unfortunately, very real. Thankfully, strategies have been set up to combat these issues before they become too severe. NRG Business is a leader in demand response (DR), a program that pays customers to reduce their energy consumption during times of peak demand. Businesses that participate in DR need to understand the process, how to train staff, when the critical times of each event occur, and what machinery to shut down.  Being a critical cog in the “energy-reduction machine” is essential to making the most of your participation.

With that in mind, here are five actionable tips to get the most out of a demand response event:

I- Know how much you are going to reduce.

Understanding how much energy your organization needs to curtail is vital to a successful role in demand response.  This amount will be predetermined by you and your account representative when enrolling in the program. Knowing your target before an event commences makes it easier to reduce and know whether you are on track to meet that goal.

II- Know how you will reduce.

Will you shut down an entire wing of your factory and move employees to a different line? Will you opt to run production during off-peak hours? Forming an action plan prior to a DR event will save you from headaches during this important time.

III- Know which machines will be adjusted.

There is a myriad of choices when it comes to which units will be turned off during an event. Machines like compressors, chillers, and elevators are huge energy consumers and are easily the first items to address when reducing electric usage. HVAC and lighting systems are also indispensable in an effective DR reduction. Can you afford to turn one of these off or does it make sense to aim for something else?

IV- Know who will be involved.

The facilities director is typically the one who will be the decision maker on the day of an event. Ideally, one key person is assigned to be the point of contact; however, having several backups at your disposal is always a good idea. In case that person is out of the office, someone else needs to deploy the reduction plan for your building.

V- Know how to track your reduction.

NRG’s Intervalocity metering program allows you to track your facility’s reduction in real-time. A smart meter’s data is needed for accurate compensation from the program. Being able to actually see results while an event is taking place is just one way to realize the importance of your participation.

Keep in mind that demand response events don’t just occur in the summer. Due to last year’s polar vortex and extremely low temperatures in recent times, more winter curtailment requests have been called over the last few years than ever before. It’s not unusual to see high demand for electricity when the temperatures plummet since more heating systems are being activated.

Demand response programs keep the grid stable during a time when the activation of idle power plants would be too costly and polluting. The programs make sense, they are monetarily worthwhile, and they are easy to execute.  So, go ahead. Enjoy your summer and earn some accolades at the same time for doing your part in keeping the grid reliable.

Visit demandresponse.nrg.com for more information on how your organization can benefit from demand response.



Related Articles:

Guide to Choosing a Demand Response Provider
Best Energy Strategies for Businesses: A 4-Point Checklist
Energy Statistics Prove Your Company Can Participate in Demand Response

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  • James Cleland

    Why is it that I never hear about curtailing lights as part of a demand response effort? Lights use up to 25% of generated electricity.The amount of light we use is growing at 5% to 7% per year .If we curtailed light use back to 1990 or 1980 levels we would survive . One other factor is that heat given off by lights is a factor in urban heat islands.Less light means less heat and it may mean less air conditioner load.

    • Wayne Kovach

      Hi, James. Thanks for commenting.

      I did briefly mention lighting in the third section. As with any of the recommendations we have for our customers when a demand response event is called, lighting is a significant area for businesses to address to be successful in the program. Many companies choose to shut down an entire wing’s lighting and shift employees to another area.

      Personally, I have been swapping out old incandescent bulbs at home for halogen bulbs. They have been working great. We moved to a new house a year ago and all of the fixtures have incandescent bulbs, most of which are varying in wattages, clear vs. frosted, too large or small for the fixture, etc. I am trying to streamline everything that I have.

      I am not a fan of CFLs due to the time needed for them to come to full brightness, and have shied away from LEDs due to cost. I am a stickler for turning off lights at home, so I can only imagine that would be the first thing I would tackle if I owned a business.

      • James Cleland

        Curtailing most lighting would not involve curtailing operations as the sort of thing I am talking about would be to dim or shut of city lights like the garish decorative one in city centers or in residential areas where people are trying to sleep or ones on highways that have questionable value because for the most part they hurt your ability to see pedestrian or obstacle on the road. I am also calling for such things as shutting of lights in vacant office towers or empty parking lots.
        There is an event called “Earth hour ” where lights are shut off for 1 hour on a particular night each year. Utilities see a drop in electricity demand of 12% to 16% with far from 100% participation. This leads support that lighting uses about 25% of generated electricity.
        When I hear of events where there is not enough electricity to keep houses warm or in summer not enough to run AC units so that people can get a good rest at night and yet we use electricity for the things mentioned above. What are we thinking of!!!???

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