Free Forecasting Brown Bag Webinar

Now in our 11th year of hosting Itron’s popular, free hour-long internet seminars on a range of forecasting topics, we take great pride in helping our customers around the world understand the complexities of energy forecasting and talking about the latest forecasting issues and solutions. Take advantage of Itron’s expertise and experience to gain insightful knowledge and help you to improve your forecasts.

Participation is free, but prior registration is required. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour, allowing 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. Seminars start at noon Pacific-time.  If you can’t attend a seminar or missed one, don’t worry! Your registration ensures that a link to the recording will be sent to you automatically approximately one week after the seminar date.

Our second seminar of the year is next Tuesday, May 23 entitled "Modeling Humidity Effects." For more information on this Brown Bag and other forecasting events, go to http://www.itron.com/forecastingworkshops.


FREE Forecasting Brown Bag Webinar

Itron continues to host its popular hour-long Internet seminars on a range of forecasting topics. We’re now in our 11th year!  Itron is always at the forefront of the energy forecasting field. We are helping our customers around the world understand the complexities of energy forecasting and talking about the latest forecasting issues and solutions. Take advantage of Itron’s expertise and experience to gain insightful knowledge and help you to improve your forecasts.

Participation is free, but prior registration is required. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour, allowing 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. Seminars start at noon Pacific-time.  If you can’t attend a seminar or missed one, don’t worry! Your registration ensures that a link to the recording will be sent to you automatically approximately one week after the seminar date.

Our first seminar of the year is Tuesday, Feb. 7 entitled “Modeling the Impact of Solar PV, EV & TOU on Hourly Loads.”


Declining Residential Sales?

In the past three months, I’ve received three questions, all the same, “Why are my residential sales down?”

There are several reasons why a company may see declining residential sales, but searching for an economic reason is not the first course of action. The initial step is to validate the analysis.

  • Did you weather normalize your history?
  • Is your weather normalization model and process good?
  • Is your data free of billing issues?

Once the analysis is confirmed, the search for reasons begins.

  • What are the macroeconomic indicators saying?
  • What are energy efficacy programs doings?
  • Is it behind-the-meter solar penetration?
  • Could it be lighting impacts?

For the past five years, Itron has conducted an annual benchmarking survey capturing historic residential class growth rates. Each year, more than 60 companies respond representing almost 50 percent of electric sales in United States and Canada.

For the first time in five years, the survey results show declining weather-normalized energy-weighted residential growth. The -0.38 percent growth in 2015 stands in stark contrast to the average annual growth of 0.42 percent from 2011 through 2014. The graph below shows the annual growth rates reported in the surveys.

forecasting

 

When preliminary estimates were reported at Itron’s Energy Forecasting Meeting in April, the negative growth appeared to be a data anomaly to be ignored. Five months later, with repeated inquiries about low 2016 developments, the data anomaly is beginning to command attention.

During Itron’s Sept. 13, 2016 Brown Bag presentation, I conducted an inform poll among participants. “Who is experiencing declines in residential sales growth in 2016?” The response was 11 declines and 14 increases.  While declines were just below half of the responses, they were certainly more than I expected.

Are we experiencing a simple 2015 data outlier or is this a developing trend?  It may several years before a definitive answer is established, but that doesn’t negate our responsibility to monitor this development. Be sure to participate in our next survey in early 2017 to help us investigate this trend.  If you missed our last brown bag, you may still register and view the recording.


Free Itron Forecasting Brown Bag Seminars

Join us for our third brown bag of 2016 on Tuesday, Sept. 13 titled “2016 Forecast Accuracy Benchmarking Survey and Energy Trends,” where we’ll reveal the results of our latest industry survey.

Participation is free, but prior registration is required. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour, allowing 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. Seminars start at noon Pacific Standard Time.  If you can’t attend a seminar or missed one, don’t worry! Your registration ensures that a link to the recording will be sent to you automatically approximately one week after the seminar date.

Read a detailed description about these seminars and other Itron forecasting workshops at: www.itron.com/forecastingworkshops.


Who is Forecasting Long-Term Solar Generation?

In this last forecasting brown bag presentation on solar load forecasting, we asked participants who had developed a long-term solar load forecast before 2013 and after 2015. As expected, very few had done a forecast before 2013 and majority put together something after 2015. During the last Vermont state forecast we did in 2014, solar wasn’t even a major topic until, of course, the month before the forecast was due. But what is a reasonable approach?

We started by collecting monthly data on installed systems and number of customers for each state starting in 2010. Then we compared saturation rates – what we found is that those states with the highest return on investment had the highest level of saturation. People make rational economic decisions after all! Well, at least some people do. Armed with this information, we estimated a regression model for Vermont that relates system saturation to system economics using a simple payback to capture system economics. And guess what? It worked. We were pleasantly surprised; when we used a cubic specification the model fit was awesome. We have used this model in several service areas – some with high saturation-levels (Nevada) and some with very low saturation (Indiana) and it seems to work, most of the time. This model approach was laid out in the brown bag presentation.

If you google “Forecasting New Technologies” you will find dozens of approaches. Most of these entail fitting an S-shaped curve to your own or like technology data set. If you have tried a Bass Diffusion model or Fisher-Pry logistic curve fit model or something else, we would love to hear about it. We all need to forecast solar generation – let’s share approaches!


Free Itron Forecasting Brown Bag Seminars

Since 2005, Itron has conducted its popular hour-long Internet brown bag seminars on a range of forecasting topics. Itron is always at the forefront of the energy forecasting field. We help our customers around the world understand the complexities of energy forecasting and talk about the latest forecasting issues and solutions. Take advantage of Itron’s expertise and experience to gain insightful knowledge and help you to improve your forecasts.

Participation is free, but prior registration is required. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour, allowing 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. Seminars start at noon Pacific Standard Time.  If you can’t attend a seminar or missed one, don’t worry! Your registration ensures that a link to the recording will be sent to you automatically approximately one week after the seminar date.

Join us for our third brown bag of 2016 on Tuesday, July 12 titled "Forecasting Behind-the-Meter Solar Adoption and Load Impacts."

Remaining 2016 topics:

  • 2016 Forecast Accuracy Benchmarking Survey and Energy Trends – September 13
  • Building Robust Models through Model Testing – December 6

Read a detailed description about these seminars and other Itron forecasting workshops at: www.itron.com/forecastingworkshops


2016 Energy Forecasters Meeting

forecastingMtgFrom May 18 to 20, 62 energy forecasters representing 42 companies from across North America gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona to discuss the latest issues in energy forecasting.  The meeting included two pre-conference workshops focused on the Statistically Adjusted End-Use modeling technique at both the introductory and advanced levels.

For two and a half days, forecasters worked through 17 industry presentations covering the following topics.

  • The state of the U.S. and Canadian economies
  • Updated trends from the EIA’s 2016 Annual Energy Outlook
  • Recent growth trends and forecast model accuracy
  • Weather normalization techniques and trends
  • Solar (photovoltaic) penetration and shape forecasts
  • State of the electric storage market

Two round table discussions allowed participants to deeply discuss recent “hot” issues within the industry as well as detailed peak modeling issues.

With so much information being disseminated, I cannot adequately summarize each presentation.  Instead, let me share with you a couple of my highlights.

  • Matt Owens of STEM, Inc., presented on the state of the electric storage market.  With so much media surrounding Tesla’s battery and the general public’s interest in batteries, I appreciated the inside look at the state of the technologies, the available products, and the economic benefits.  The next time someone asks me about batteries, I am now prepared to discuss the state of the market.
  • Adam Kamin from Moody’s Analytics updated me on the state of the U.S. and Canadian economies.  I’m never disappointed with the economic outlook presentation.  This time, I gained insights into the latest employment and housing trends, which are expected to drive our economy forward.

Share with us your highlights from the conference.  We look forward to hearing from you.


Energy Forecasting Accuracy Trends Free Brown Bag Seminar

Interested in learning about the latest energy forecasting accuracy trends? Itron has been collecting information on industry growth expectations and forecast accuracy for electricity and natural gas for the last several years. Join us for our first brown bag of the year on Thursday, Feb. 18 at noon where we’ll discuss the trends discovered.

Participation in our brown bag seminars is free, but prior registration is required. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour, allowing 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. Seminars start at noon PST. If you can’t attend a seminar or missed one, don’t worry! Your registration ensures that a link to the recording will be sent to you automatically approximately one week after the seminar date.

The new 2016 survey is currently open for responses. A link to participate will be provided in your brown bag registration confirmation. All survey participants will receive a summary report and the preliminary results will be presented at the annual Energy Forecasting Meeting in May, and final results during our brown bag seminar on Sept. 13. Utility specific data will NOT be disclosed.

Register for this brown bags and others scheduled throughout the year or register for one of our upcoming forecasting workshops at www.itron.com/forecastingworkshops.


Save the Date – 14th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting & Training

Mark your calendars for 14th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting & Training.  We’ll be in Scottsdale, Arizona at the W Hotel on May 17-20.  There will be two optional workshops to choose from on Tuesday (either beginning or advanced SAE).  And the meeting will be two and half days this year, starting on Wednesday ending at noon on Friday.

Registration for the meeting will be available soon.


Lessons Learned from Itron’s 13th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting

I just returned from Itron’s 13th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting & Training, which took place in Baltimore on May 6 and 7, 2015.  A total of 57 attendees participated from 42 companies.  For the two days, Baltimore treated us with outstanding hospitality and a beauty hidden from recent media reports.

The 14 presentations and two roundtable sessions offered many issues to consider, including economic and growth trends, changing and future efficiency standards, photovoltaic impacts, alternative economic drivers, peak forecasting methods, weather normalization with extreme weather modeling techniques, and forecast process management.  There were so many issues, that I’m still thinking about a few of them.
Instead of recapping all the presentations, I am highlighting a few things I learned this past week.

  • Richard Lynch, manager of sales and forecasting at Entergy Corp., I learned that going to my “Happy Place” is a reasonable way to deal with the significant risks facing the economy.  If this is too cryptic, I’ll explain.  Richard covered the unintended consequences of Quantitative Easing (QE) as it relates to past and future growth.  The presentation highlighted the past impacts of QE on housing, jobs and GDP growth as well as highlighted the ongoing major threats to the economy.  While there is reason to be optimistic, uncertainty abounds, and if you can’t handle the uncertainty, you can always hide in a “Happy Place.”
  • Erin Boedecker and Kevin Jarzomski from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presented the key assumptions behind the 2015 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).  The assumptions included changes in energy efficiency modeling from the 2014 AEO.  This presentation was followed by John Cymbalsky, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), explaining the energy efficiency standard adoption process.  Between the EIA assumptions and DOE future standards, I’m certain that the downward trend in average use will continue.
  • Finally, I appreciated the candid discussion of the difficulties in forecasting and model analysis from CPS Energy’s Matt Croucher, Entergy’s Rae Anne Dodd and the New York Independent System Operator’s Arvind Jaggi.  These presenters highlighted potential sources of new data, the challenge of weather normalizing extreme data and potential new model drivers.  I plan on exploring these ideas as I work with individual clients in the coming year.

As I mentioned before, there were numerous other presentations and issues from this past week.  When you get a chance, submit a comment to this blog and tell us something you learned.  In the meantime, I’ll be in my happy place - San Diego.

 


Comparison of Peak Forecasting Methods Brown Bag Seminar Recap

On Tuesday, March 24, we held our first brown bag seminar of the year, “Comparison of Peak Forecasting Methods,” which provided an overview of peak forecasting methods and thoughts on ways to structure stronger peak forecasting models. Modeling peak demand is an important topic and we felt it was a strong topic to kick off our annual brown bag series. During the session, we conducted a quick poll and 93 percent of respondents indicated their company develops forecasts of peak demand, highlighting the importance of this topic. We plan to launch a survey in the next month to find out more about industry practices.

In case you missed it, during the seminar Dr. Stuart McMenamin, Itron vice president of forecasting, led a discussion about alternative methods for peak forecasting and summarized the results that we have developed. We looked at modeling daily, monthly and annual peaks using data from 1998 to 2014. In our study, we examined various weather variables (e.g., temperature, humidity, cloud cover, etc.) and economic drivers (e.g., GDP, GMP, number of households, etc.) that are typically included in peak models. We did some exploratory analysis using artificial neural networks to determine the relative importance of these variables and to guide us in construction of explanatory variables for regression models. This included development of optimized THI variables, development of multi-part weather variables and construction of weather indexes that combine average temperature, humidity, maximum temperature, minimum temperature and lagged temperatures. These variables are then interacted with day type variables and seasonal variables to allow for slope shifts. The result of this structuring was a very strong and robust regression model.

We also examined using subsets of the data (e.g., all days, weekdays only, extreme weather days only, etc.) with hourly and daily modeling approaches, as well as using quantile regression for comparison against least squares. Ultimately, in-sample and out-of-sample tests were conducted to compare the performance of these approaches, which yielded some very interesting results.

Needless to say, a lot of information was discussed. Outside the technical discussion of building strong models, an additional takeaway from our analysis is that the relationship between energy use and the economy has changed dramatically since the Great Recession. This needs further study to better understand the causes of this change and what this means for longer-term forecasts.

For those who registered for the brown bag seminar, you should have received an email with a link to the recording of the presentation and the slides, so you can review it at your leisure. Let us know if you did not receive it.

We would like to thank everyone who attended for taking interest in our brown bag seminars. We have a few more coming later this year, including a session on June 9 about modeling the impact of new technologies. Be sure to mark your calendars and register at www.itron.com/forecastingworkshops. Please feel free to leave any comments about this brown bag seminar – we’d love to hear your thoughts! Keep your eyes open for the upcoming survey as all participants will receive a copy of the results. If you aren’t sure that you are on our mailing list or would like to be added, contact us at forecasting@itron.com.


Free Itron Forecasting Brown Bag Seminars

For more than 10 years, Itron has conducted its popular hour-long internet brown bag seminars on a range of forecasting topics. Itron has always been at the forefront of the energy forecasting field. We help our customers around the world understand the complexities of energy forecasting and talk about the latest forecasting issues and solutions. Take advantage of Itron’s expertise and experience to gain insightful knowledge and help you to improve your forecasts.

Participation is free, but prior registration is required. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour, allowing 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. Seminars start at noon Pacific Daylight Time. If you can’t attend a seminar or missed one, don’t worry, your registration ensures that a link to the recording will be sent to you automatically approximately one week after the seminar date.

Our first seminar of the year is on Tuesday, March 24 and titled "Comparison of Peak Forecasting Technologies." To register, click here.

 

Upcoming 2015 Brown Bag Seminars

  • June 9 – Modeling New Technologies
  • July 28 – The 25 Best Explanatory Variables used in Short-Term Forecast Models
  • September 15 – 2015 Forecast Accuracy Benchmarking Survey and Energy Trends
  • December 8 – Using Daily Data to Refine Peak Forecasting Models

 

Read a detailed description about these seminars and other Itron forecasting workshops at: www.itron.com/forecastingworkshops.


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