Hawaiian Businesses Get 10-Minute Warning for Demand Response

In February, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) began a Fast Demand Response program, which rewards business customers if they reduce their electric consumption during emergencies. But participants must act fast.

HECO already had demand response systems in place: Energy Scout for the home and Energy Scout for Business. These DR programs have been in place for several years and have been tested regularly and used intermittently over that time. The new Fast DR is similar to Energy Scout for Business, however, the new system includes a 10-minute-or-less notification requirement.

Participants must reduce their energy use within 10 minutes of an emergency event initiation, with a maximum of 40 events per year and a maximum of 80 hours of interruption. Typical loads to consider for fast DR include: any non-essential process or equipment; HVAC; non-essential indoor and outdoor lighting, signage, window displays; fountains, saunas, pool or hot tub heating and pumps.

“Aside from testing, we have not yet had occasion to use the Fast DR system for an actual event,” said Peter Rosegg with HECO corporate communications.

In August, Pacific Park Plaza’s 16-story, 256,000-sq-foot office property in Honolulu became the first business to enroll in the program. Since then, the utility has signed on more customers, including Shriners Hospitals for Children; Admiral Thomas hotel and Allure Waikiki hotel.

Commercial or industrial customers that can designate a minimum of 50 kW of equipment they are willing to allow the utility to turn off receive an automatic bill credit of $3,000 annually, and $60 per each additional kW. These credits are paid whether there is a Fast DR event or not. When there is a Fast DR event the customers get an additional incentive, based on how much is actually turned off and for how long.

While Fast DR requires some automation, customers always maintain complete control and can opt out of having their demand impacted at any time. For commercial and industrial customers who qualify, Hawaiian Electric places automatic or semi-automatic controllers on non-essential equipment.

One of the goals of Fast DR is to allow more renewables onto the Hawaiian electric grid. If cloud cover drops the levels of solar energy or calm winds reduce the levels of wind power, Fast DR allows HECO to respond very quickly to the reductions and make decisions about additional power generation.

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