Helping utilities and regulators develop dynamic pricing options for customers. Apex conducts evaluations and synthesizes load impacts, bill impacts, enrollment trends, and survey findings to develop a holistic view of the outcomes of residential and commercial pilots and programs such as EV rates, TOU, Hourly Pricing, and demand-based rates.
Battery Energy Storage Pricing
ComEd TOU Pricing Pilot
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) deployed its Residential TOU Pricing Pilot (RTOUPP) in June 2020. The primary objective of the RTOUPP is to examine whether fixed-price TOU rates encourage customers to shift or reduce energy usage during the hours with the highest prices and, typically, highest usage. The RTOUPP encourages EV owners to charge their vehicles during the off-peak hours when prices are usually lower. Apex’s evaluation tasks include estimation of load impacts and bill impacts. Both EV and non-EV owner households showed significant load shifting from the peak to off-peak periods (peak-period reductions ranged from 6.5% to 9.7%). Another notable finding includes customers who have switched to electric-powered vehicle miles, resulting in net daily kWh increases in home electricity use, with increases concentrated in the off-peak overnight hours.
Duke Energy Power Manager
Apex Analytics staff lead the annual load impact evaluations of Duke Energy’s Power Manager demand response (DR) programs in the Carolinas, Indiana, and Kentucky. The Power Manager programs provide DR capabilities to Duke Energy via AC direct load control switches and smart thermostat offerings in the summer, and direct load control of heat strips and smart thermostats in the winter. The impact evaluation is conducted via a randomized controlled trial (RCT) which allows for concurrent dispatch of multiple curtailment scenarios for side-by-side testing. Scenarios include different cycling strategies, start times, and durations for AC direct load control switches and various pre-cooling or pre-heating and event period temperature offsets for smart thermostats. The analysis also includes identification of load control switch failures presented on geographic heat-maps and DR load impact forecasting tools to help inform bids into the MISO market and understand program performance under varying weather conditions.
ConEd Innovative Pricing Pilot
Con Edison’s Innovative Pricing Pilot (IPP) was designed to test the impact of demand-based and subscription-based rates on customer acceptance, satisfaction, customer bills, and energy-use behaviors. Apex staff are leading the multi-year evaluation of the IPP, which tests five demand-based rates and two subscription-based rates for residential customers, as well as one demand-based rate for small commercial customers, across three waves of enrollment. This complex evaluation included the estimation of load and bill impacts as well as an examination of enrollment and attrition patterns.
Duke Energy Flex Savings Options Pilot
Duke Energy Carolinas launched the “Flex Savings Option” Pilots in the fall of 2019 to test a variety of dynamic rate structures enabled by the AMI recently installed in North Carolina. The Pilots tested three different types of rate structures—critical peak pricing (CPP), CPP + TOU, and CPP + TOU + Demand Charge—each across three rate classes including residential and small commercial and industrial customers. The objectives of the Pilots were to observe customer acceptance of new, complex rate structures and to estimate customers’ responses to dynamic and TOU price signals. Apex staff estimated load and bill impacts for each of the rate structures and customer segments by season and day-type. Duke Energy used findings from the Pilots to inform their application to the North Carolina Utilities Commission for approval of three permanent rate designs that would replace the Pilots. The proposed rates reflect many lessons from the Pilots while incorporating new improvements, such as shorter On-Peak periods that make it easier for customers to respond to price signals and a new Discount period that will enable electric vehicle (EV) charging, among other benefits.