Energy Saving: EBCE Comes Up with Holistic Approach to Energy Saving

The EBCE is taking steps towards achieving a zero-emission power system in the next decade. Despite this move, one of the challenges is the evening peak. While it is easy to meet the power demand in the daytime when the sun is up, it becomes a challenge in the evening when the sun goes down.

There is a need for something else to meet the demand in the evening hours. The peak hours are expensive times for EBCE customers to buy power. However, the most viable solution that can help fill the gap is to burn natural gas. This can be a setback since it is not zero-emission.

To ensure energy saving, EBCE has come up with a new approach known as Pay for Performance. EBCE is using this approach to compensate energy efficiency contractors depending on their capabilities to cut or reduce demand in the evening hours. The approach is also set to give verified savings to targeted customers.

By saving energy during peak hours, EBCE will help save money for everyone. EBCE developed pilot programs for the Pay for Performance approach in 2019, which was intended for low-income residential customers, single-family residential, and commercial customers.

To help with the entire process, EBCE hired the Recurve Company, which was responsible for developing a dashboard that builds on the in-house data capabilities of EBCE. The dashboard helps to analyze customer loads comprehensively. It then creates baselines and keeps track of how the loads change based on the energy measures.

For EBCE to get the highest value, a constant stream of sub-hourly data from the smart meters is constantly fed into the dashboard. This also allows EBCE to reach customers that would greatly benefit from the program.

Generally, a red dotted line will show to represent the general population and a blue line for those with high demand during peak hours. The program makes it easy to filter customers with high demand during peak hours from the general population. Consequently, the program is now able to target customers that have the most potential to save.

According to the program manager for building electrification and energy efficiency at EBCE, Beckie Mentem, the low-income pilot has enabled them to identify customers on rate discount programs like FERA or CARE that utilize massive energy during peak hours on the low-income pilot.

She went on to say that some households in the low-income category use nearly 12% of their income on energy. This, she says, is higher than what most wealthy customers use. Basically, the program will help customers lower the proportion of their energy use to that of their monthly income, helping them save on their energy costs.

Mentem was quick to note that providing efficiency improvements that are meant for cutting the demand during peak hours will significantly lower their bills. It will also ensure a seamless time-of-use rates transition that is set to phase this year and lower the need for EBCE to provide power during peak hours. She said that this will help save money for all their customers.