Pepco relays detailed findings from PowerCentsDC pilot

October 12, 2020

Rate simplicity is vital for making DR programs work at the residential level, Steve Sunderhauf, Pepco manager for program evaluation, said last week during a Demand Response Coordinating Committee (DRCC) webinar on the utility's PowerCentsDC pilot.  Results of the AMI experiment in Washington, DC, showed 90% of the nearly 1,000 participants responded favorably to price signals via smart meters, smart thermostats and utility communications (SGT,Sep-10).

“Rate simplicity is key to customers making behavioral change,” Sunderhauf noted.  The demo also points to the need for making customers understand the functions of their smart meters and the possible benefits of DR.

Pepco learned that partial deployment of smart meters is less advantageous than a full roll out, he said.  It is worth noting, too, that new processes are needed for operations and billing system testing is essential.  Utilities need to set aside enough time to plan, implement and test every detail of the program, he said.

Even simple changes need review, like the billing and meter data management systems, and the status of a website.

PowerCentsDC customers preferred dynamic pricing by a 9-1 ratio, Sunderhauf noted.

Pepco will use its experience from the pilot to further its smart grid efforts across Washington, DC, Maryland and Delaware, where regulators have either approved or are in the process of reviewing the utility's AMI plans (SGT, Sep-07Jun-03).

Pepco is looking forward to ending the practice of estimating customer's bills, notably in Washington where many residential meters are located indoors and hard to access, Sunderhauf said.

PowerCentsDC has drawn praise from policymakers who cited its thorough consumer education before, during and after the trial.  Pepco divided the randomly selected customers into three groups: hourly pricing, critical peak pricing and critical peak rebates and communicated through phone calls, mail, email, the internet and in-person meetings (SGT, Sep-14).

© 2010 Modern Markets Intelligence Inc..  IMPORTANT: This article was reproduced from the October 12, 2020 issue of Smart Grid Today with the limited permission of the owner.  To view the full story on Smart Grid Today’s website, please visit .

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