Keeping California’s Lights on with Data Analytics & Demand Response Programs

August 30, 2021

By Dominique de Wit and Bryson Allen, VP of Retail Energy Services and Market Development

Across the Western United States, dry conditions and scorching heat waves are straining our power grids. Electricity demand peaks in response to high temperatures, and grid operators, analysts and utilities are concerned that consequent power shortages will cause blackouts.  

In response, California Governor Newsom signed an emergency declaration on July 30. The governor’s order seeks to expedite delayed battery projects and provides state-funding for Demand Response (DR) programs.  

These DR programs play a critical role in enhancing grid reliability and reducing grid stress by incentivizing large electricity users to reduce their load during critical hours. Stabilizing the grid quickly and effectively requires California’s energy providers to utilize industry expertise powered by big data technology. GridX, a leading providing of Data Management services to Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), is meeting this requirement for its client, Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) using Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology and sophisticated analytic platforms. 

CCCE, serving 400,000 customers on California’s Central Coast, had proactively developed and implemented a pilot DR program. This Summer Readiness Program incentivizes Commercial & Industrial (C&I) customers to reduce load on selected days and receive credits of up to $5,000 per event. CCCE anticipates ten “event days” when summer temperatures may provide a spike in demand, and C&I customers will be requested to reduce their load between 4-9pm.  

Data and data integration plays a critical role in developing such programs. GridX is CCCE’s data management and billing provider and utilizes AMI interval data. Relying on its patent-pending iSQMD technology, GridX utilizes the historical interval data to calculate customers’ reduced usage on CCCE event days.  

GridX’s big data scalability enables it to easily support all 400,000 of CCCE’s customers. Relying on GridX’s complex billing solutions to calculate customer bill impacts and perform big data analytics with revenue grade insights, its Business Operation Support (BOS) Cloud analyzes how to maximize the program’s potential to enhance grid reliability and sustainability.  

GridX technology therefore allows DR to become an asset in the Smart Grid ecosystem, and its data plays a key role in supporting peak load management and providing real-time insights. Following an event day, GridX provides immediate data analytics to CCCE. Powered by its native Data Warehouse, GridX deploys digital platforms such as dashboards to provide real-time data and enable CCCE to interactively explore the efficacy of their program’s impact on incentivizing customer’s load behavior.  

The need for data analytics and DR programs is not unique to California – the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) estimates that about half of the U.S. is at elevated risk of power shortages as electricity demand peaks in response to high temperatures.  

Electric utilities and suppliers across the country will need to adapt quickly. Greater investments in AMI will enable energy providers to better understand load patterns in their service territory to incentivize shifts in load behavior.  

GridX is a leader in big data and analytics solutions and is passionate about using its solutions to support grid reliability and emission reduction goals across the globe.