Like 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014 before it, 2015 will go down in history as the hottest year ever recorded on earth. Unprecedented summer heat requires unprecedented demand response. And for utilities that use Opower’s DR product, 2015 was a record-breaker. Our clients called more than twice as many events as last year and drove reliable peak savings across the board. Here’s how. The day before peak events, utilities used our platform to target the likeliest households to participate in DR and sent tailored messages encouraging them to reduce peak demand. The next day, customers saved energy during critical hours. The day afterward, we analyzed customers’ AMI data and showed each household personalized feedback about its performance.
Email, phone, and SMS communications during a 2014 BDR event.
All told, utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric and Hydro Ottawa sent millions of personalized messages this summer. And just like last year, those communications lowered peak demand 3 percent on average — at one-third the cost of traditional DR programs. It was more proof that utilities worldwide can dramatically reduce peak demand using software alone. That wasn’t all we learned. Here are a few more takeaways from 2015’s behavioral demand response season.
We’ve written before about customer love for behavioral demand response. Participants like taking part in something big, helping their communities during a heat wave, and knocking a few bucks off their bills. This year, new data reinforced that finding. Rigorous customer surveys at multiple utilities measured more than 80 percent customer satisfaction with BDR. That’s even higher than it was last year. Not only that, but customers who participated in BDR scored their utilities higher on several JD Power metrics, like price and corporate citizenship.
Postseason surveys revealed a substantial boost in customer sentiment around price, citizenship, and communications. Increases are absolute percentages measured against customers who did not receive BDR messages.
Opower’s CEO, Dan Yates, put it best. "As utilities face evolving load profiles driven by the introduction of solar and other forms of distributed generation, BDR empowers utilities with a flexible, scalable solution to address their needs now and into the future."
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