15th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange, Sept. 21 - 24, 2021

15th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange Agenda

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session 1: Silo-Busting Collaboration, Partnership, and Innovation Development

Dominic May, La Plata Electric Association Co-Chair Dominic May
La Plata Electric Association
Megan Moore-Kemp, Yampa Valley Electric Association Co-Chair Megan Moore-Kemp
Yampa Valley Electric Association
  Smashing Silos in Summit Co
Home Energy Squad is Xcel Energy's residential direct-install program. It is implemented by CLEAResult, and its technicians are based in the front range (Silo 1). HC3 provides home energy audit and direct-install services for customers in Summit County, but its resources are limited (Silo 2). Xcel Energy is forecasting a gas capacity constraint in Summit County (Silo 3). How do these disparate pieces fit together? Xcel Energy is supporting HC3 with marketing and program resources, CLEAResult is providing virtual visit support to streamline HC3's in-home visits, Home Energy Squad is providing additional equipment for customers, and all parties are collecting information to support gas demand reduction strategies being developed by Xcel Energy's engineers and product developers. Normally, these groups might be competing for resources and might not play nice together. However, with a common goal in mind, we are seeing what is possible when groups pool their resources and support each other's strengths.
Rob O'Connell, Xcel Energy Rob O'Connell
Xcel Energy
Jess Hoover, High Country Conservation Jess Hoover
High Country Conservation
  Timing is Everything: Engaging Customers, Reducing Peak, and Managing Batteries When it Matters Most
As the deployment of clean energy and distributed energy resources continue to grow and beneficial electrification gains momentum, the time and location in which energy is used are increasingly important. This presentation, with Holy Cross Energy, Copper Labs, and Camus Energy will share preliminary findings from enhancing an existing peak reduction program (Peak Time Payback) with real-time usage data and customer engagement, as well as exploration of leveraging managed batteries (Power+) and real-time voltage information (Copper) to reduce load and balance the grid.
Eileen Wysocski, Holy Cross Energy Eileen Wysocki
Holy Cross Energy
Eric Van Orden, Copper Labs Eric Van Orden
Copper Labs
Ted James, Camus Energy Ted James
Camus Energy
  Evolving Residential Energy Management to be a Clean Peak Resource
TOU rates are critical to shifting peak demand and aligning energy use with intermittent renewables to help meet clean energy goals. But we must make it easy and convenient for customers to participate by combining good rate options, enabling technologies and educational resources. APS has a successful Home Energy Report (HER) program focused on EE savings, sending 9 million over the past decade. We wanted to know if this tool could be leveraged to shift demand by educating customers on the value of TOU rates. We began segmenting customers based on their rate—"TOU, TOU + Demand and Flat"—and using HERs to send details on that rate, personalized tips to save in the peak and offers for efficient products like smart thermostats. June to August 2020, average weekday savings in the HER program ranged between 1,200 kW and 1,700 kW. With additional strategies being added in 2021.
Tom Hines, Arizona Public Service Tom Hines
Arizona Public Service
Vanessa Richter, Oracle Vanessa Richter
12:00 - 12:30 pm Lunch Break
12:30 - 2:00 pm

Session 2: Equity and Income-Qualified Program Considerations

Susan Bartlett, Longmont Power & Communications Co-Chair Susan Bartlett
Longmont Power & Communications
Brian Tholl, City of Fort Collins Co-Chair Brian Tholl
City of Fort Collins
  How to Better Address the Needs of Lower-Income Consumers
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased focus on the financial challenges of Americans and on racial equity issues in American society. Using the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative's propriety consumer research as a starting point for discussion, this session will focus on the energy-related needs and wants of lower-income consumers (those with incomes under $50K annually) and also highlight notable disparities between White, Black and People of Color consumers in this lower-income customer segment. We will discuss consumers' values, motivations, behaviors and interests around important energy-related topics, including smart home technology, climate change, energy efficiency and clean energy, and how stakeholders can better serve these consumers going forward.
Nathan Shannon, Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative Nathan Shannon
Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative
  How to Successfully Engage Manufactured Home (Limited Income) Customers
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is making strides engaging limited income customers. They have a large population of manufactured homeowners who they want to engage and help save money by conserving energy and making cost-effective home upgrades. So they set out to better understand who these customers were and how they wanted information. With these insights they took a multi-faceted approach to engage them with personalized messaging through preferred channels. One channel was the Home Energy Report, with customized modules promoting a dedicated page with insights on their usage, information on weatherization programs and a link to a home energy assessment. Customers have responded well. Average monthly savings are 1-1.5%, with 91% of customers reading the reports and 58% finding the tips useful. This session will examine PSEs unique approach to engaging manufactured home customers, including best practices for delivering EE savings and improving satisfaction.
Richard Dillarge, Puget Sound Energy Rachelle Dillard
Puget Sound Energy
David Siddiqui, Oracle David Siddiqui
  The Evolution of Energy Trust Programs Designed to Serve Frontline Communities
From offering a moderate-income program pathway for over 13 years to the present-day expansion into programs designed with little, or no, out of pocket costs. Expanding to LMI customers as well as rural customers, communities of color, veterans, and people with disabilities by offering the highest levels of cost-effective incentives to partner "Community Based Organizations" (CBOs), to pair with their other funding sources. Presentation will offer details on key milestones and stakeholders, our approach to establishing partnerships with organizations serving their customer bases, and how we work to support capacity building with CBOs.
Ryan Crewes, Energy Trust of Oregon Ryan Crews
Energy Trust of Oregon
Whitney Miller, CLEAResult Whitney Miller


Wednesday, September 22, 2021
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session 3: Consumer Engagement with Communication Strategies and Tactics That Work

Alantha Garrison, Gunnison County Electric Association Co-Chair Alantha Garrison
Gunnison County Electric Association
Christmas Wharton, Grand Valley Power Co-Chair Christmas Wharton
Grand Valley Power
  Delivering the Goods: One Pizza, Many Toppings
Creating a solution, rather than transactions, is the goal of this initiative. Xcel Energy redesigned its diffuse array residential heating and cooling programs into a one-stop shop for energy efficiency rebates, including rebates for beneficial electrification projects.
Josh Martin, Xcel Energy Josh Martin
Xcel Energy
  Powerful Messaging that Drives Tangible Results
Ameren Illinois and their respective energy efficiency program implementers will discuss the importance of engaging customers to help them transition to an online platform and increase savings. The utility's recent case study originated from customer engagement success during the heat of the pandemic. Ameren Illinois will explain the need to promote online savings at the start of the pandemic and will share their tactics to help customers save energy and money. EFI will reveal 2020's customer shopping trends before COVID-19, and the unexpected data after the stay-at-home order was in effect. CLEAResult will walk us through marketing tactics and strategic customer messaging that helped deliver and achieve the utility's goals.
Cheryl Miller, Ameren Illinois Cheryl Miller
Ameren Illinois
John Coons, EFI John Coons
Stephanie Cole, CLEAResult Stephanie Cole
  Meeting Customer
Leveraging the capabilities of new third-party provider, the Xcel Energy marketplace platform opens new/improved ways to engage customers with new "one click" solutions such as contractor scheduling, financing options, home visits.
Kristin May, Xcel Energy Kristin May
Xcel Energy
Jed Crawford, EFI Jed Crawford
12:00 - 12:30 pm Lunch Break
12:30 - 2:00 pm

Session 4: Energy Efficiency: Swipe Right or Left

Alaina Hawley, Platte River Power Authority Co-Chair Alaina Hawley
Platte River Power Authority
Cesar Kokoletzi, United Power Co-Chair Cesar Kokoletzi
United Power
  Good Math: One Device + Three Program Benefits = A Great Customer Experience
We're moving the burden of participation from the customer to the utility. How? Pairing demand response, energy efficiency and easy customer participation methodology is a big win for the customer experience and for utility savings. The thermostat optimization algorithms provided by the manufacturer is a unique energy savings value-add. Personalized customer experience, leveraging their behaviors into energy savings is something we all aspire to in program design. Combining this with DSM and DR savings, and with the addition of gas and renewable curtailment in the future, this a real winner.
Michelle Beaudoin, Xcel Energy Michelle Beaudoin
Xcel Energy
Meagan Madden, Xcel Energy Meagan Madden
Xcel Energy
Shawn Peterson, ecobee Shawn Peterson
  HVAC&R in Supermarkets, Untapped Potential for Utilities?
The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed that buildings can play a significant role in the clean energy transition. Partnering with NREL and Emerson, the team is attempting to make supermarkets with both HVAC and refrigeration equipment more efficient and more flexible through supervisory controls only. The question is what flexibility is important for utilities. This interactive presentation will bring the question to the audience and lead discussion about how buildings and the associated distributed energy resources can help utilities modernize the grid using a specific building type and DERS as an example to spark discussion.
Hannah Debelius, U.S. Department of Energy Hannah Debelius
U.S. Department of Energy
Grant Wheeler, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Grant Wheeler
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  Growing Pains (Think Grow Houses)
Commercial refrigeration and grow house (indoor agriculture) new business/new building projects have increased sharply during the pandemic, and new technologies are challenging the utilities' standard design models. Asking the right questions in the design process is key to capturing savings.
Aaron Esselink, Xcel Energy Aaron Esselink
Xcel Energy
Russ Chitwood, Resource Innovation Russ Chitwood
Resource Innovation


Thursday, September 23, 2021
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session 5: Electric Vehicles: Driving Change in the Utility

Chris Michalowski, Mountain Parks Electric Co-Chair Chris Michalowski
Mountain Parks Electric
Joy Manning, High West Energy Co-Chair Joy Manning
High West Energy
  Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Rate Design
Rate design for both level II and DC fast-charging is evolving quickly. In April 2021, The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and Tri-State collaborated with E Source to facilitate a rate-design workshop with 16 Colorado cooperative and municipal utilities to identify goals, principles, best practices, and challenges to rate design and synthesized it into a final report (to be released in the summer of 2021). CEO and Tri-State will provide an overview of the report and the key findings, as well as rate design modifications made to CEO's DC fast-charging corridor program to show how real usage data can inform rate modifications. Attendees will then be broken out into discussion groups on level II and DC-fast charging rate design to build upon these presentations and share their perspectives, challenges, and opportunities related to rate design.
Matthew Fitzgibbon, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Matthew Fitzgibbon
Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association
Colorado Energy Office Representative Colorado Energy Office Representative
  Planning for the Future: Best Practices in EV Programs
Electric Vehicles are the future. Projections show that all auto manufacturers' fleet will be electric powered by 2030. A significant carbon reducer will be the electric vehicle. It is the task of the utilities to create viable programming that will promote EV use while also capitalize on the savings as EV is adopted. Join Sparrow Energy during this panel discussion with utility program managers who have successfully (or not) implemented an EV program. We will discuss best practices in this emerging area of interest. The panel will answer questions on how municipalities, implementers and more can serve as allies for a successful design and implementation.
Brandon Johnson, Sparrow Energy Brandon Johnson
Sparrow Energy
Southern California Edison Representative Southern California Edison Representative Con Edison Representative Con Edison Representative PG&E Representative PG&E Representative
  SmartCharge Colorado: Tri-State Generation and Transmission's EV Load Profiling Program
In 2021, Tri-State Generation and Transmission launched an EV load profiling and load management program with Geotab Energy and six of its member co-operatives. The aim of the program is to gather data from Colorado-based EV drivers, in a diversity of rural and suburban communities, to help inform with rate formulation and future managed charging programs. Preliminary data and lessons learned from this program will be presented to highlight some of the unique characteristics of EV charging in Colorado, including use of public charging infrastructure and the future value of managed charging.
Mike Frailey, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Mike Frailey
Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association
Eric Mallia, Geotab Energy Eric Mallia
Geotab Energy
12:00 - 12:30 pm Lunch Break
12:30 - 2:00 pm

Session 6: Beneficial Electrification as a Paradigm Shift

Lisa Reed, Holy Cross Energy Co-Chair Lisa Reed
Holy Cross Energy
Bryce Brady, Platte River Power Authority Co-Chair Bryce Brady
Platte River Power Authority
  If It Were Easy, Everyone Would be Doing It
What difference does it make whether utilities and industry partners collaborate or not? The Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado (BEL-CO) has an active heat pump quality installation committee of utilities, municipalities, the CO Energy Office and SWEEP. Key topics, results and plans will be shared in this session.
Ann Kirkpatrick, Xcel Energy Ann Kirkpatrick
Xcel Energy
Peter Rusin, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Peter Rusin
Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association
  You Say Tomato, I Say Tom[ah]to: Defining Cold Climate Heat Pumps
Multiple, credible industry leader organizations have different definitions of cold climate heat pumps. Xcel Energy's heat pump energy efficiency engineer will explain the design considerations for energy savings, and the channel manager will describe the market implications.
Mike Papula, Xcel Energy Mike Papula
Xcel Energy
Josh Martin, Xcel Energy Josh Martin
Xcel Energy
  We're Asking the Wrong Question about Electric Space Heat
The first objection that often arises when discussing electrifying space conditioning in new homes - especially in climate zone 5 or colder - is whether an ASHP can actually provide enough heat for the given space. The advancement in the technology increasingly means yes in colder climates. By reframing the question, though, the answer can be yes for all climates, all homes, and all builders. It can be done with materials, practices, and technologies widely available in market today. Instead of asking whether the system can accommodate the design, design to accommodate the system.
Rob Buchanan, Xcel Energy Rob Buchanan
Xcel Energy


Friday, September 24, 2021
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session 7: Distributed Energy Resources: Feeling unDER the Stress

Gabriel Caunt, Colorado Springs Utilities Co-Chair Gabriel Caunt
Colorado Springs Utilities
Ann Kirkpatrick, Xcel Energy Co-Chair Ann Kirkpatrick
Xcel Energy
  Bridging the Gap Between Demand Side Management and The Markets and Trading Desk
As DER portfolios mature, they are helping utilities meet the needs of demand side management and grid operations groups. Arizona Public Service (APS) has built large, reliable behind-the-meter demand response resources that contribute to the objectives of demand side management, grid operations, and, now, the markets and trading team. In this session, experts from APS' DSM and markets and trading desks will share how they partner to use DER programs to accomplish their goals, from blackout prevention this past summer to optimizing their procurement strategies to long-term resource planning. An expert from EnergyHub will join to facilitate and explain how they are building and optimizing this multi-DER portfolio to best support the markets and trading function. Attendees will hear from a utility pioneering grid-edge management on how the markets and trading team can harness the benefits of DERs.
Tayla Simmons, Arizona Public Service Tayla Simmons
Arizona Public Service
Tom Hines, Tierra Resource Consultants Tom Hines
Tierra Resource Consultants
Tyler Rogers, EnergyHub Tyler Rogers
  AI-Driven Smart Community Control for Accelerating PV Adoption and Enhancing Grid Resilience
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Holy Cross Energy (HCE) are deploying a novel smart community control architecture that combines individual home energy management systems (HEMS) and a utility aggregator to coordinate control among the houses. This approach ensures that residents are comfortable and their costs are reduced, while also maintaining grid stability as PV adoption increases. This project has undergone extensive modeling and laboratory validation at NREL and is now deployed in homes in the Basalt Vista community in Basalt, CO. The controlled devices in these all-electric homes include heat pumps for space conditioning, heat pump water heaters, PV inverters, batteries, and electric vehicle chargers. The HEMS is an NREL-developed software called foresee(TM), which controls the flexible loads to maximize use of on-site PV, responds to aggregator commands to reduce voltage violations and provide demand response, and can also reduce consumption in the homes during emergencies to reduce stress on the grid.
Bethany Sparn, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Bethany Sparn
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Dr. Xin Jin, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Dr. Xin Jin
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  Distributed Energy Resources: A Tale of Two... Car Dealers??
Many distributed energy resource projects are going on right under the noses of Rocky Mountain utilities, with or without their active participation. We provide a two-part case study of how solar developers and software vendors are teaming up to turn customer sites into flexible distributed energy resources. Colorado solar developer IPOWER Alliance and load flexibility software company Extensible Energy will present direct customer experience with solar-plus-storage-plus-software projects at two Colorado car dealerships that deliver joint customer and grid value. Both were developed with limited utility involvement; however, they provide key lessons for utility teams developing DER programs. Such projects could also become a key tool for meeting corporate sustainability targets as well as local and state renewable portfolio standards targets.
John Powers, Extensible Energy John Powers
Extensible Energy
Diane Dandeneau, IPOWER Alliance Diane Dandeneau
IPOWER Alliance
12:00 - 12:30 pm Lunch Break
12:30 - 2:00 pm

Session 8: Evolution of Utility Leadership in Business Models/Markets

Ron Horstman, Western Area Power Administration Co-Chair Ron Horstman
Western Area Power Administration
Chuck Finleon, Longmont Power & Communications Co-Chair Chuck Finleon
Longmont Power & Communications
  Challenges of the Clean Energy Future
Xcel Energy's DSM residential and small business leader will talk about two aspects of the changing economics of the clean energy future. As we move to a lower carbon generation fleet we have less control over when generation resources are available. Unless we increase control of customer load we will have significant increases in real time price variability. How do we adapt our offerings to protect customers and our business from the associated risks?
Mark Schoenheider, Xcel Energy Mark Schoenheider
Xcel Energy
  "No Regrets" Investments for a DSO Future: Improving Grid Visibility with Existing Telemetry
Managing today's distribution grid is far from simple, and it's getting more complicated. Low-cost, distributed renewables and the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar, battery storage, and electric vehicles are forcing utilities to adapt their approaches to grid management. Learn why grid visibility is the foundation for a DSO Future and how Holy Cross is leveraging existing telemetry and data sources to gain transformational situational awareness. Hear first-hand accounts of the obstacles encountered and the paths carved to enable highly-reliable management of low-carbon, low-cost grids in Colorado. Think DSO is a term for 2030 or beyond? Let us change your mind by showing you just what's already possible, using proven technology to improve outcomes for your community today and into the future.
Chris Bilby, Holy Cross Energy Chris Bilby
Holy Cross Energy
Ted James, Camus Energy Ted James
Camus Energy
  Unlocking Market Forces to Accelerate Decarbonization
The old way of running energy efficiency programs—acquiring kWh and therm savings—is not going to get us to our aggressive decarbonization goals. To have deeper and more lasting impacts on decarbonization, utilities in Illinois have turned to a new market transformation framework that seeks to remove market barriers and grease the wheels for technologies with low market penetration. In this session, you'll learn how Illinois utilities were able to augment their programs using market transformation and insights into early market transformation programs in the state, including thin triple windows, advanced lighting controls, and heat pumps.
Michael Pittman, Ameren Illinois Michael Pittman
Ameren Illinois
Kate Merson, Resource Innovation Kate Merson
Resource Innovation
2:00 pm Adjourn