Maryland PSC Authorizes Utilities To Offer Value-Add Behavioral Load Shifting Tool As Part Of Time Of Use Rate Supply Pilots
December 17, 2018 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Maryland PSC has authorized Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), and Delmarva Power & Light Company to offer to customers in a Time of Use pilot (which includes TOU supply rates for utility supply service) a Behavioral Load Shifting (Shaping) tool.
The Behavioral Load Shaping Tool is designed to support customers on TOU rates with weekly personalized electronic communications focused on educating customers on how to manage energy use to benefit from a TOU rate. It is a tool designed to help customers shift load on an on-going basis (rather than event driven demand response) by leveraging behavioral science, AMI, and data analytics in targeted communications. The Behavioral Load Shaping Tool is offered by Oracle.
The Behavioral Load Shaping Tool will be offered to all customers in the utility pilot who opt-in to receiving electronic communications from their respective utility
PSC Staff and the Maryland Energy Administration had opposed the offering of the Behavioral Load Shaping Tool in the pilot, noting that the impact of the Behavioral Load Shaping Tool cannot be isolated from the impact of the TOU rates themselves in evaluating results. The MEA also objected that Oracle was not selected via a competitive bidding process.
Commissioner Anthony J. O’Donnell issued a concurrence stating that he would not have approved inclusion of the Behavioral Load Shaping Tool
"For the following reasons, I agree with Staff and MEA and do not support inclusion of the BLS in the TOU Rate pilot. Although there may be some value of including such a tool, in this instance this particular service was not obtained through a competitive process nor was an RFP ever issued for this service. There is no ability to determine if a more cost effective alternative is available to this sole source product or how the costs of the product would translate into a full scale deployment. Additionally, Oracle indicates that this product has never been used commercially anywhere in the industry although it has had 'discussions' with some utilities about the tools possible use in the future. Further, the results of the pilot with the use of the commercially untested BLS will not be able to objectively distinguish and quantify the effect the tool had on the results of the pilot, if any at all," O’Donnell wrote
"For the above reasons, I would not have included the Oracle BLS tool. In my opinion, this tool is essentially a commercial test of a product whose efficacy and results will not be able to be objectively determined apart from other variables in the pilots," O’Donnell wrote
The PSC did direct to the Rate Design Work Group to work with the Joint Utilities and Oracle to develop and implement, to the extent feasible, the metrics proposed by the Maryland Energy Administration in its Comments.