February 24th, 2010

Demand-Response for the Average Joe

BOSTON -

I was at a training last week at the Connecticut Light & Power headquarters in Berlin, CT.  CL&P is a division of Northeast Utilities.  The most interesting thing I learned there is that CL&P is working on a residential demand response program.

What is demand responseIn this case, CL&P will begin offering rebates for customers to install special meters and switches in their homes that allows the utility to shut off certain appliances when the grid is being pushed, by pushed I mean the demand for electricity is almost more than supply.  The obvious example of this is on a hot summer day when everyone is running their air conditioner.  In exchange for a lower electricity rate, customers that opt in will allow the utility to shut off their equipment during these peak times.  Companies like EnerNoc do this on a commercial and industrial scale.

How much of a discount will customers get?  How often will appliances be shut down?  When will the program roll out?  None of those answers were available to me, but I was encouraged to see this kind of program happening on a residential level.  It’s bound to open up new business opportunities and I’m happy to see some tangible evidence of the much-hyped smart grid.  Way to go Northeast Utilities!

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Brian Hayden

About Brian Hayden

Brian Hayden founded HeatSpring Learning Institute in 2007. He's an accredited geothermal installer and creates technical training programs on geothermal and solar systems. HeatSpring has been featured in Business Week's "America's Top 25 Promising Social Entrepreneurs"

  • Geoffrey Day

    Any idea what devices or systems they are using or testing? Wish I lived in CT.

  • Brian

    The biggest impact will come from shutting down air conditioners intermittently during summer peak hours. I’m not sure what brand of controls or devices they’ll be using to do it – we didn’t get into that type of detail in our conversation.

  • http://www.thegreenlightdistrikt.com Chris Williams

    There are a bunch of devices out there. Maybe The Energy Detective. Check it out on EnergyCircle.com, really cool device and website!