Fort Collins Utilities, a municipal distribution utility in Colorado, launched the Peak Partners program in June 2014 in partnership with Itron. This summer, just five years after the program launched, the 1,000th Peak Partners conservation event was achieved. Conservation events occur year-round when the utility automatically turns off the elements of electric water heaters and cycles the compressors of participating customers’ central air conditioners (May through September) to help balance the region’s demand for electricity.

The program aims to reduce energy use during costly peak hours when the community’s electric consumption is at its highest. For this Distributed Energy Management (DEM) program, Itron provided field and marketing services, customer care, end-devices and the software platform.

Peak Partners began as a small, voluntary thermostat program designed to reduce air-conditioning use during peak hours by triggering ‘events’ that coordinate air conditioning across the city to prevent them from running all at the same time. Since then, Peak Partners expanded to include an electric water heater program with various levels of participation, all geared to reduce peak use at higher increments.

In 2018, Fort Collins Utilities implemented Time-of-Day (TOD) residential electric pricing. To better align with TOD pricing, all thermostats were upgraded to include a pre-cooling and pre-warming period to further decrease use during on-peak hours. Electric water heaters are turned off for a part (or the whole on-peak period based on customer preferences) to shift usage from expensive on-peak hours to cheaper off-peak hours.

Currently, the program includes direct installed Wi-Fi thermostats and cellular-based controllers for electric water heaters, an OpenADR VTN head-end for commercial customers, Bring-Your-Own Thermostat (BYOT) programs and a customer education brand via Zigbee In-Home-Displays, which operates in partnership with the local library for loan management. Peak Partners is also exploring the potential addition of battery storage capabilities to its peak-management portfolio.

The Peak Partners program empowers customers to make a difference when it comes to preserving natural resources, conserving energy and saving money. Congratulations to Fort Collins Utilities for their impressive milestone.

To learn more, read the press release.

Paige Schaefer on EmailPaige Schaefer on Linkedin
Paige Schaefer
Sr Forecast Analyst - Itron
Paige Schaefer directs various web-based projects, including brown bag seminars, internet surveys, and other web-based projects and services. Schaefer manages Itron’s Energy Forecasting Group (EFG), which supports end-use data development, the Statistical End-use Approach (SAE) and coordinates their annual meeting for discussing end-use modeling and forecasting issues. In addition, Schaefer develops, manages and executes marketing campaigns for forecasting products and services and provides software support and documentation. She is responsible for project accounting and support, financial budgeting, accounting and invoicing. Schaefer received a B.S. in Business Administration from San Diego State University with an emphasis in Marketing.