Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose Demand Response Programs

hawaii-energy-manageThe Hawaiian Electric Companies are proposing an Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan to provide customers more options for saving on their electric bills while supporting the adoption of more clean energy, reducing the use of more expensive fossil-fueled generation and relieving stress on the electric grid.

The plan lays out new and enhanced demand response programs for residential, commercial, industrial and water pumping customers. Under the programs, customers receive financial incentives for shifting energy use to certain times of the day or voluntarily allowing the output of certain appliances or equipment to be adjusted if necessary to help maintain reliable grid service.

Demand response programs would be a more cost-effective option than using energy storage or oil-fired generation to balance demand and supply, Hawaiian Electric said.

To help enroll customers, the Hawaiian Electric Companies plan to work with independent such as Hawai‘i Energy, the PUC-appointed public benefits fund administrator that manages energy efficiency programs, including rebates for solar water heating and energy efficient appliances.

The utilities also plan to build on their partnership with Energy Excelerator, a resource provider for clean-energy startups, to enhance the demand response portfolio continuously by using emerging technologies.

Hawaiian Electric currently offers five demand response programs on O‘ahu. Among them is “Energy Scout” which provides 32,000 participating residential and small business customers a credit on their electric bills to allow the utility to turn off their hot water heaters remotely for brief periods. “Fast DR” is a pilot program that pays participating large commercial and industrial customers several thousand dollars in incentives each month to allow the utility to reduce their electricity use briefly when necessary to stabilize the grid.

Subject to review and approval by the PUC, existing programs will be revised and new ones developed and rolled out in 2015 for customers on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island, and later for Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.

Hawaiian Electric recently issued a request for proposals for large-scale energy storage and is currently reviewing bids.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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