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Baseline basics for demand response programs

Once a baseline is determined, participants work with their DR provider to create a reduction action plan that includes their committed capacity, the usage level that a facility has to stay below during a grid event. In terms of a baseline, this reduction amount shows a realistic amount of energy a participant can reduce when they are called. Performance during an event is tracked by comparing a facility’s committed capacity to the reading on their meter.

There are a lot of buzz words in the energy industry — and baseline or baseline types are critically important to understanding your potential for participating in a demand response program.

So what is a baseline? We’ve created a quick breakdown for you to make it easy to evaluate your facility’s energy usage in terms of reduction possibilities.

What a baseline means for your facility:

Essentially, a baseline is an estimate of the electricity that would have been used by a facility if a demand response event had not been called.

Because it indicates your normal energy usage, the baseline is the most important tool for demand response program administrators to measure participants’ curtailment during a grid event.

Therefore, when your DR administrator is measuring your baseline, it is crucial that it serves as an accurate “snapshot” of your facility’s normal usage. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has an approved basic structure that defines how baselines are created and measured by demand response providers.

The three phases of curtailment in demand response events:

Phase 1 – Facilities are notified of a grid event and begin to lower their energy usage.

Phase 2 – Curtailment is in full-swing, and sustained reduction across the board means the electric grid is getting a much-needed break.

Phase 3 – Facilities are notified that the event has ended, and program participants go about their normal activities.

Why these phases matter:

While there are new and innovative energy management resources on the rise, there is a tremendous amount of electricity available that goes to waste every day.  This is the resource that demand response relies on, and utilities recognize the value of curtailed electricity just as they do generated electricity — which means the better you perform, the more you can make through a DR program.

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