Itron is a long-time member of the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA), which was founded in 1999 as the voice of demand response practitioners. I serve on the Executive Committee of PLMA and co-chair the Thought Leadership planning group.

Over the past few years, PLMA has been very focused on sharing the expertise of its members to help demand response professionals better address changing industry dynamics. An example of this is a recent PLMA publication called “The Future of Utility ‘Bring Your Own Thermostat’ Programs” that was created to help members better understand the value of Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) demand response programs. This paper—part of a new series call “Practitioner Perspectives,” where PLMA collects member insights on important industry trends—is a compendium of eight energy utility, manufacturer and solution provider viewpoints. The authors were selected in an open call for submissions and all article drafts were reviewed by a team of mentors that included the PLMA Thermostat Interest Group co-chairs prior to publication. Itron was pleased to be selected as one of the paper’s authors.

The perspective that Itron brings to the paper is that we have historically been focused on delivering operational demand response programs through the aggregation of a substantial amount of residential and small commercial load. As we outlined in the article, Itron today primarily views BYOT programs as a tremendous opportunity for utilities to better engage with their customers by rewarding those who have already purchased a Wi-Fi thermostat with the financial incentives that come with participating in a demand response programs. So as utilities look for ways to improve customer satisfaction scores, BYOT programs are a great vehicle to accomplish that. In terms of the BYOT role in demand response, for now, we see BYOT as a key component of a broader demand response/distributed energy resource strategy that may also include direct install devices, electric vehicle chargers, storage and more. And while we see the role of BYOT growing over time, due to limited penetration of these devices in today’s market, we don’t think it’s a great option to be the only load source when a large number of megawatts needs to be obtained.

To learn more, you can download the free paper here. PLMA also hosted a webinar on the paper that includes members of the Thermostat Interest Group, the Thought Leadership Planning Group and several of the authors. You can view a recording here.

Jason Cigarran