El Paso Electric opens first demand response pilot

Dive Brief:

  • El Paso Electric has launched its first demand response initiative, offering a one-time payment of $125 and an annual participation incentive to up to 3,000 customers.
  • The three-year pilot program will utilize the Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) model and will be managed by demand response provider EnergyHub.
  • This program will attempt to lower summer peak demand by allowing EPE to remotely communicate with customers’ smart thermostats connected to central refrigerated air conditioning units. The program runs from June 1 through September 30 of each year.

Dive Insight:

Two months after regulators approved El Paso Electric's demand response pilot, the utility has now begun marketing the "eSmart Thermostat Program."

El Paso Electric CEO Mary Kipp said the utility has "seen the electric demand peak increase in eleven of the past twelve years." The new program will allow the utility and customers to "work together to be more energy efficient and reduce peak demands on our system," she added.

In addition to the one-time enrollment incentive of $125, the utility is offering a $25 annual participation incentive. Demand response events can last up to four hours, but EPE said customers can "easily opt out of an event at any time, for any reason."

To qualify for the program, customers must be in EPE's Texas or New Mexico service areas, have central refrigerated air units, Wi-Fi in their home or business, and at least one eligible smart thermostat already installed.

El Paso Electric will use EnergyHub's "Mercury DERMS" system to manage program enrollment, customer validation, eligibility verification, demand response dispatch and data management. The distributed energy resource management system is used by more than 30 utilities across the country. In the EPE pilot, customers can bring thermostats to the program from more than a half dozen manufacturers, including Nest, Honeywell and Ecobee.

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Filed Under: Efficiency & Demand Response
Top image credit: Bob Smith