Luskin Center and Chai Energy Test Smart Energy Technology in Thousands of Homes

Luskin Center and Chai Energy Test Smart Energy Technology in Thousands of Homes

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Mon, 04/17/2017 - 2:03pm

What if you knew exactly when electricity prices increased each day and what to unplug or lower use of during those times to save money and help the environment? New technology is making real-time energy information and “demand response” a reality, rewarding homeowners who make smart, informed energy-use decisions. This could include knowing when it makes financial sense to replace that old washing machine, or simply what time to use it based on when there is less demand on the power grid or when renewable energy is abundant.

The California Energy Commission has awarded the Luskin Center and the start-up company Chai Energy more than $2 million for a pilot study to explore how to best message households to help reduce their energy use and costs during high energy use times. The study will test the effectiveness of innovative demand response programs using Chai Energy’s behind-the-meter customer engagement platform. 

Each of the demand response strategies will integrate a recent approach that energy researchers have shown to be effective in reducing customer consumption. These strategies include providing households with 1) tailored energy-analytic feedback, 2) aggregated versus single-period incentive information, 3) non-financial environmental-health benefit frames and 4) social comparisons. 

Chai Energy will deliver and test these program designs on thousands of volunteering customers in utility districts throughout California. This large sample will enable researchers to also identify the best format, timing and content of demand response signals, including those with differing incomes, household structures, transportation and energy choices (some with plug-in electric vehicles and rooftop solar) as well as those who live in different climate zones. 

The study will inform how best to design behavioral demand response strategies to help customers save money, reduce pollution and avoid costly technology upgrades associated with more structural demand response approaches.

 

What if you knew exactly when electricity prices increased each day and what to unplug or lower use of during those times to save money and help the environment? New technology is making real-time energy information and “demand response” a reality, rewarding homeowners who make smart, informed energy-use decisions. This could include knowing when it makes financial sense to replace that old washing machine, or simply what time to use it based on when there is less demand on the power grid or when renewable energy is abundant.