Newly released data from demand response program proves real-time usage data significantly improves system reliability.
Copper Labs, a technology provider that unlocks real-time grid-edge data for gas, water and electric utilities, is sharing results from a pilot program it conducted last winter with utility company National Grid that demonstrates the effectiveness of a natural gas demand response program incorporating near real-time data.
"Unlocking near real-time usage data for our gas consumers has created new opportunities to reduce peak demand when it matters most to our gas distribution system," said Jon Rei, director, Distributed Energy Resources at National Grid. "With Copper Labs' innovative technology, we have a new channel to engage targeted consumers with actionable insights that help them reduce energy costs."
Copper Labs' patented technology can help ratepayers and utilities by generating real-time energy usage data directly from existing automatic meter reading (AMR) gas meters without extensive infrastructure upgrades. As a strong "bomb cyclone" winter storm approached New York in January, National Grid observed increased customer loads and sent residents targeted messages on their smartphones. These messages encouraged them to modify their behavior to help support the gas system during a period of very high demand (e.g., by turning their heat down a few degrees or postponing a hot shower for a couple of hours).
The result was an 18% reduction in natural gas usage during the peak demand window from customers who received the messages compared to those in the control group who did not. The gas savings allowed National Grid to manage demand and more-efficiently serve its customers while ensuring no system disruptions.
As an added benefit, Copper Labs showed that its high-interval data could identify inefficient HVAC units when comparing homes in similar weather conditions based on gas consumption. These valuable insights are critical for utilities planning future targeted energy efficiency upgrade programs.
"Data is truly the central pillar to the energy transition," said Dan Forman, CEO of Copper Labs. "While there are other ways to help manage gas loads—like weatherization, high-efficiency equipment, home energy reports and smart thermostats—real-time usage information is far and away the most effective tool, and the results from this program drive that home."
Forman announced the results of the pilot at the NextGrid Alliance Summit, a first-of-its-kind gathering of senior utility executives convened by National Grid's innovation arm, National Grid Partners.
Copper Labs delivers real-time, grid-edge usage and voltage data to utilities, solutions partners, device vendors and network operators to accelerate the energy transition. The insights from Copper Labs' patented solutions empower its customers to make smarter grid decisions across electric, gas and water infrastructure, provide more personalized services, and orchestrate load flexibility when it matters most. Copper is fully compatible with grids across the intelligence spectrum, uncovering visibility at speed and scale for a fraction of the price of existing solutions. Visit CopperLabs.com for more information.