Automated Demand Response Technology Demonstration Project for Small and Medium Commercial Buildings

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Small and medium commercial customers in California make up about 20-25% of electric peak load in California. With the roll out of smart meters to this customer group, which enable granular measurement of electricity consumption, the investor-owned utilities will offer dynamic prices as default tariffs by the end of 2011. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which successfully deployed Automated Demand Response (AutoDR) Programs to its large commercial and industrial customers, started investigating the same infrastructures application to the small and medium commercial customers. This project aims to identify available technologies suitable for automating demand response for small-medium commercial buildings; to validate the extent to which that technology does what it claims to be able to do; and determine the extent to which customers find the technology useful for DR purpose. Ten sites, enabled by eight vendors, participated in at least four test AutoDR events per site in the summer of 2010. The results showed that while existing technology can reliably receive OpenADR signals and translate them into pre-programmed response strategies, it is likely that better levels of load sheds could be obtained than what is reported here if better understanding of the building systems were developed and the DR response strategies had been carefully designed and optimized for each site.

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