Study Analyzes Barriers and Opportunities for Broader Adoption of Demand-Side Management Programs at Electric Utilities

In a study released last week, Barriers and Opportunities to Broader Adoption of Integrated Demand Side Management at Electric Utilities, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explores recent electric utility experiences with demand-side management programs, the drivers of these programs, and the barriers to their development.  Electric utility participants in the study reported that this is a critical time for addressing energy efficiency, demand response, and distributed energy resource technologies, and that Integrated Demand-Side Management (IDSM) may be positioned to play an important role in the grid’s evolution.

The study explains that while demand-side management programs are currently administered as a patchwork of policies, IDSM, i.e., strategically designing and delivering a portfolio of demand-side management programs to participating customers, could improve the collective performance and penetration of these programs.  The study defines IDSM as the coordinated delivery of three or more of the following: (1) energy efficiency, (2) demand response, (3) distributed generation, (4) storage, (5) electric vehicles, and (6) time-based rate programs for residential and commercial utility customers.

To better understand the electric utility industry’s current efforts to implement IDSM programs and the future outlook of those programs, the authors gathered input in the form of surveys and interviews from eight utility and third-party IDSM program administrators.  Respondents reported that the business drivers of IDSM include compliance with regulatory mandates and increasing customer engagement and satisfaction, while the barriers to IDSM implementation include lack of effective metrics for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of IDSM programs and the separation of responsibilities within a utility for administering different demand-side management programs.  From the perspective of the study participants, the deployment of more complex IDSM programs can be expected over the next few years, although doing so will require changes to utility management structures and to regulatory structures.

A webinar presenting the findings and conclusions in the study will be presented on Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 12:30-1:30 pm EST.  Registration is available here.

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