SMUD’s Summer Solutions Study: An Investigation of the Effects of Real-Time Information, Dynamic Pricing, and Thermostat Automation on Residential Energy Conservation and Demand Response

February 10, 2012 - 12:00pm
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SMUD’s residential Summer Solutions study is the second phase of the Residential Information and Controls Study managed by Herter Energy Research Solutions and co-funded by SMUD and the Demand Response Research Center at LBNL.   The field study was designed to investigate the effects of real-time data on residential energy use and peak demand, where customers were given the opportunity to sign up for a dynamic TOU-CPP rate and/or a direct load control program. The primary objective of this work was to determine the effects on hourly residential electricity use of real-time home-level energy information and real-time appliance-level energy information. A secondary objective was to compare hourly loads of the four groups representing the four program options: the TOU-CPP rate option, the AC load control option, both options, and neither option.    All 265 participants were provided with advice on energy savings and peak load shifting. During the summer 2011 field test, all participants were notified of the 12 system events triggered by temperature criteria, and demand response of programmable thermostats was initiated using OpenADR. Events were timed to occur during SMUD’s regular on-peak hours: non-holiday weekdays from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.    Mixed effects modeling indicated overall energy savings of 7.7%, daily peak savings of 14%, and an average load reduction of 40%. Effects of information on these impacts were small but in some cases statistically significant. Those on the TOU-CPP rate had signficantly higher daily peak and event peak savings than those on the load control option. On average, customers who chose to remain on the standard rate saved $10 per month (7.6%), while those on the dynamic TOU-CPP rate saved an average of $20 per month (15%).   A recording of this seminar is available at

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