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Why I feel we have no DER/DR standards

Why I feel we have no DER/DR standards
melbourne-1.jpeg used with permission

I continue to receive great feedback on my recent paper that explores the concept of Victoria leveraging its investment in its advanced metering infrastructure to become a Smart State.  

One piece of feedback, with quite a few ‘likes’ from our community, challenged my view that we have no standards for DER or DR. The feedback correctly highlighted all the great work by the likes of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

On reflection, I can see that my paper did not articulate what I meant very clearly, but I still stand by this assertion.   

When I think about standards, I think about it from the energy consumer’s perspective.

Picture an energy consumer who has purchased rooftop solar, maybe even a local battery. The energy consumer should be able to sign-up to a demand response service provider and have that service provider be able to remotely connect to the consumer’s equipment. There should be no need for a technician to come around and install a device to create the connection between the in-home equipment and the service providers back-office platform. Should the consumer switch service providers it should be remotely managed.

If this is too much of a stretch, the next best thing is to have someone install a device that works with all major demand response solutions. That way, if a consumer wanted to switch demand response providers, they are not locked in.

In my experience and based on my research to date I have not come across such a capability. To my knowledge, every time a service provider sets up the ability to remotely connect to a consumer’s behind-the-meter equipment, that service provider has had to install some form of ‘smart device’ at the consumer’s home.  If the consumer decides to move service providers, the old devices would need to be replaced with devices that can talk to the new service providers back-office systems.

I am serious when I say I hope I am wrong. The way I understand it, the current model creates consumer lock-in to the service provider that sold them their first automated demand response solution.

In the area of remote demand management, do solutions exist that enable consumers to easily switch service providers?

Wayne Pales's picture

Thank Wayne for the Post!

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Marc Tannenbaum's picture
Marc Tannenbaum on March 12, 2019

In the 1980s, Houston Power and Light used a radio controlled device that interupted power to the home’s AC compressor, the most significant source of power savings for residential.

In an article I wrote several years ago (https://www.energycentral.com/c/iu/lets-democratize-demand-response-power-people) , I identified the same problem of DR and consumer switching in the US deregulated markets.  The concept of DR seems to be most compelling for a regulated market in which the local monopoly can dictate what device can be installed and insure uniformity.  Given the consumers capability to switch providers in deregulated markets, DR is unlikely to succeed if devices have to switched out with each change of provider because of varying protocols and data collection requirements.

An additional problem is the resistance of the consumer to allowing an outsider access to WiFi and the perceived risk of unauthorized access.

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