Top 10 US utilities by DSM investment

23 Mar 2011

Demand-side management (DSM) is on the cusp of a smart-grid evolution that will transform the way homes and businesses use electricity – that’s according to a new report from Zpryme, which places Pacific Gas & Electric Co in pole position for DSM investment, as it says the utility has invested nearly US$586m in 2010, a 219pc increase over the past five years.

Based on Zpryme’s Smart Grid analysis, the top 10 US utilities by DSM investment over the past five years are:

  1. Pacific Gas & Electric Co
  2. Southern California Edison Co
  3. Florida Power & Light Co
  4. San Diego Gas & Electric Co
  5. New York Power Authority
  6. Public Service Electric & Gas Co
  7. Baltimore Gas & Electric Co
  8. Massachusetts Electric Co
  9. PacifiCorp
  10. Progress Energy Florida Inc

Zpryme also acknowledged companies’ sales (MWh) and revenue in its report.

Smart grid and DSM

A Microsoft Worldwide Utility Industry Survey 2011 carried out in March points to how budgets to allow for smart-grid planning and implementation are on the rise, with 73pc of utility professionals surveyed indicating they are dedicating more of their budgets to the smart grid area.

And, according to Zpryme, while governments and utilities have been striving to improve DSM through conservation and load management programmes, the development of smart grids offers more tools and avenues for improving DSM than any other power sector programme or technological advancement in the past 30 years.

In 2010, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) launched the National Action Plan on Demand Response, calling for the formation of a coalition of governments, utilities and other stakeholders to co-ordinate measures to improve DSM.

Speaking to Zpryme, Allan Schurr of IBM Global Energy and Utilities said “two key near-term benefits of smart grids for utilities are operational and asset efficiency, along with improved reliability and quality of electrical service. Smart metres will enable their consumers to use energy more efficiently. Finally, smart grids will improve the reliability and lower the cost of incorporating significant amounts of renewable energy supplies.”

Smart metres

Zpryme also looks at smart metres in its report.

It says the impact of smart grids on DSM can expect:

  • Regional differences to play a factor in the deployment of smart metres. Zpryme says while California may be the first part of the US to embrace the smart grid, residences in the southern portions of the US will have a higher incentive to buy into DSM improvements due to their heavy air conditioning usage.
  • Tablets and smartphone apps to be ideal platforms for customers to obtain information about rate changes from utilities. From these, it says customers will “theoretically” be able to control appliances and heating and cooling systems in order to save energy when prices are high.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic