Energy management firm Energate said the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund will provide $1.35 million for a customer opt-in dynamic pricing project. The project is a collaboration with local distribution company PowerStream, was launched February 13, 2014 and will run until March 2016.
This is the second time Energate has been selected to receive funding through the Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund, which promotes smart grid usage in the province. Energate is currently in the final stages of the Consumer Engagement to the Smart Grid project in collaboration with six Ontario LDCs to see how utilities and equipment providers can offer services and equipment that make customers engage more with the smart grid.
The Customer Opt-in Dynamic Pricing Project is a one-year voluntary pilot program for 1,000 participants in PowerStream’s service territory. Participating consumers will be equipped with Energate Foundation Smart Thermostats and Home Energy Gateways that will provide up-to-date pricing information and respond to price changes intelligently and automatically according to their preferences.
Energate’s Consumer Connected Demand Response platform with its Load Management System, CORE Middleware in addition to the smart thermostats will also be deployed.
The objective of this $3.5 million project is to introduce an optional dynamic pricing program in which the daily on-peak price will vary in response to expected demand. Participants will be given the opportunity to shift their demand away from the on-peak, and more expensive periods, to lower-demand periods. This shifting will reduce strain on the electricity grid while helping customers save money.
Also, critical peak prices will be called at any time to assist with system emergencies. By providing consumers with the ability to manage their energy consumption from anywhere at anytime, this project will create a strong market pull as participants will enjoy an overall savings on their electricity usage and will receive a refund at the end of the year. The project guarantees to be risk free for participants.
Many other benefits result from the Customer Opt-in Dynamic Pricing project. From a capacity perspective the project will see the expansion of high value manufacturing jobs associated with the creation of the smart grid in Ontario creating a workforce with relevant skills in a growth market.
The project also serves as a template for the remaining 80+ LDCs to follow which, in turn, drives additional jobs. This project will provide much needed experience and expertise in terms of program design and implementation of pricing programs, which is readily transferable to the North American market.