Saturday, October 31, 2020

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Power Zone

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A California based firm has selected Opower’s behavioral demand response solution to usher energy efficiency and raise customer engagement levels.


Glendale Water & Power is an innovative municipal utility in Southern California. The utility in 2013, invested in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) but found it hard to unlock the full potential of its investment for its customers. In particular, while Glendale was already using AMI data to power a successful behavioral energy efficiency program, it wanted to amplify its energy savings during high-cost peak hours. The key goal targeted by the utility was to complement behavioural energy efficiency with a reliable behavioural demand response resource.


To achieve its objectives, Glendale enrolled its customers in Opower’s behavioural demand response (BDR) solution. Opower’s BDR platform changes the way utilities engage their customers about demand response programmes. The program enables utilities to send personalised communications and data analysis in place of direct-control technologies. The platform effectively contributes in making the utilities adopt demand response as a cost effective add-on to their traditional programs.  For utilities which subscribed to Opower's platform, the company would take smart meter data and use it to develop personalised communications urging customers to curb their usage on peak days.

The idea behind BDR is simple. The simple yet sophisticated software solution empowers customers by providing them personalised insights before and after peak days. Furthermore, the utilities can reliably motivate them to reduce peak demand. Unlike other demand response programs, BDR runs on AMI data alone — no installed devices or special prices are necessary. This makes the solution more cost effective and also supports the utilities to enhance their operational performances and most importantly in maintaining a stronger positive customer relationship.
Glendale tested Behavioral Demand Response across two customer groups: homes that were already receiving energy efficiency messaging, and homes that weren’t. The approach allowed Glendale to measure the impact of efficiency and peak solutions separately and in combination. Wisely, Glendale used the industry’s gold standard — a randomised controlled trial — to ensure accurate results.


Behavioral efficiency and demand response solutions complement each other. By combining them, Glendale could cut the peak demand to more than 6 per cent. As the process involved no price signals or devices, Glendale’s approach cost them less than two-thirds of the traditional demand response programs.

Even more importantly, customers who participated were happier than those who didn’t. By putting people in control of their energy use, Glendale created more meaningful and trusting customer relationships. So much that, through a survey it was observed that the customers who responded enjoyed BDR more than an ice cream or the beach.



  • Not every kWh saved is equal — those saved during peak hours are more valuable
  • Glendale has a robust behavioral energy efficiency program, and complements it with a robust peak savings program
  • Glendale uses Opower’s Behavioral Demand Response solution to turn AMI data into timely, actionable insights
  • 6% savings and 85% satisfaction for 100% of customers at one-third the cost of a traditional demand response resource


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