Retail Demand Response in Southwest Power Pool

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In 2007, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) formed the Customer Response Task Force (CRTF) to identify barriers to deploying demand response (DR) resources in wholesale markets and develop policies to overcome these barriers. One of the initiatives of this Task Force was to develop more detailed information on existing retail DR programs and dynamic pricing tariffs, program rules, and utility operating practices. This report describes the results of a comprehensive survey conducted by LBNL in support of the Customer Response Task Force and discusses policy implications for integrating legacy retail DR programs and dynamic pricing tariffs into wholesale markets in the SPP region. LBNL conducted a detailed survey of existing DR programs and dynamic pricing tariffs administered by SPP's member utilities. Survey respondents were asked to provide information on advance notice requirements to customers, operational triggers used to call events (e.g. system emergencies, market conditions, local emergencies), use of these DR resources to meet planning reserves requirements, DR resource availability (e.g. seasonal, annual), participant incentive structures, and monitoring and verification (M&V) protocols. Nearly all of the 30 load-serving entities in SPP responded to the survey. Of this group, fourteen SPP member utilities administer 36 DR programs, five dynamic pricing tariffs, and six voluntary customer response initiatives. These existing DR programs and dynamic pricing tariffs have a peak demand reduction potential of 1,552 MW. Other major findings of this study are:

  • About 81% of available DR is from interruptible rate tariffs offered to large commercial and industrial customers, while direct load control (DLC) programs account for ~14%.
  • Arkansas accounts for ~50% of the DR resources in the SPP footprint; these DR resources are primarily managed by cooperatives.
  • Publicly-owned cooperatives accounted for 54% of the existing DR resources among SPP members. For these entities, investment in DR is often driven by the need to reduce summer peak demand that is used to set demand charges for each distribution cooperative.
  • About 65-70% of the interruptible/curtailable tariffs and DLC programs are routinely triggered based on market conditions, not just for system emergencies. Approximately, 53% of the DR resources are available with less than two hours advance notice and 447 MW can be dispatched with less than thirty minutes notice.
  • Most legacy DR programs offered a reservation payment ($/kW) for participation; incentive payment levels ranged from $0.40 to $8.30/kW-month for interruptible rate tariffs and $0.30 to $4.60/kW-month for DLC programs. A few interruptible programs offered incentive payments which were explicitly linked to actual load reductions during events; payments ranged from 2 to 40 cents/kWh for load curtailed.

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