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Snohomish County PUD pilots to incentivize flexible energy usage

Washington State’s Snohomish County PUD has launched pilot programs that will incentivize customers to change their behavior or employ innovative technology and save energy when demand on the electrical grid is at its greatest, the PUD said on May 24.

The PUD plans to use the pilots to study the effects of shifting energy usage so the utility can keep rates low and meet clean energy goals.

The PUD’s FlexEnergy pilots are voluntary and open to all PUD customers who meet eligibility requirements. By enrolling, customers will earn bill credits and have the opportunity to save money on their bill.

Customers who have a Google Nest or ecobee smart thermostat or ChargePoint or EnelX (JuiceBox) connected electric vehicle charger are eligible to enroll those devices in SnoPUD’s FlexEnergy pilot program. Customers who enroll their eligible smart technology will receive alerts on those devices for specific pilot events.

PUD customers who don’t have eligible smart technology can enroll in SnoPUD’s FlexEnergy Customer Choice pilot, which will incentivize customers to change their energy usage habits through behavioral changes like doing laundry at night or turning the heat down a few degrees at select times and days, the PUD said in a news release.

Based on the type of smart device they enroll, customers will be able to participate in one of three FlexEnergy pilots: FlexTime, FlexResponse or FlexPeak.

The three pilots will focus on three approaches to shifting energy use: time-dynamic rate designs (FlexTime), and event-driven demand response (FlexResponse) and critical peak pricing (FlexPeak).

Customers who enroll in the Customer Choice program can choose to take part in the FlexTime or FlexPeak pilot.

The PUD has partnered with Virtual Peaker, a cloud-based energy management platform, to deploy its FlexEnergy pilots. Virtual Peaker’s Distributed Energy Resources Management System will be used to enable customer and communicating device enrollment, event scheduling and management, and pilot analytics.