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

Call for Presenters is Open through May 17, 2021 Closed

We're Changing!  Come Change With Us!

The Advisory Committee is now accepting session proposals for the 15th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange as a virtual event.  The Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange is a networking and professional development forum for utility and government organization staff as well as industry allies who provide products and services to support utility customer programs. This will be an online-only conference again this year with a mix of live and pre-recorded content as well as networking opportunities.  The target audience is the staff of energy utilities serving Colorado and neighboring states who are responsible for the design and delivery of customer-centric utility programs, including resource efficiency/sustainability, load management/growth, distributed energy, and customer/member service operations.

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The agenda will explore best practices and lessons learned about initiatives related to energy (gas and electricity) efficiency, water conservation, strategy, issues, and integration with renewable energy, flexible load management, strategic load growth, and other customer-facing initiatives. Share with us how your organization is collaborating with other utilities and/or other departments in your own utility to take a customer-oriented approach to achieve greater impacts in residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial end-use applications.

The agenda format is being adjusted to the virtual environment in a way that will encourage online small group discussion around common topic themes that focus on case studies presented primarily by utility staff. Current plans are for the agenda to include up to eight Topic Sessions up to 90 minutes in length to be presented over 4 days. Each session will be moderated by an Advisory Committee member following this format:

  • First 30 minutes: up to three 10-minute utility case study presentations related by a central topic and theme. Attendees will be encouraged to type questions/issues in chat for further discussion;
  • Second 30 minutes: randomly-assigned breakout discussion sessions facilitated by session presenters (or Advisory Committee). Attendees may add their perspective and discuss common challenges/opportunities related to topic/theme;
  • Last 30 minutes: reconvene the full group to allow session presenters to report-out on key takeaways from the breakout discussion and respond to questions and comments chatted in throughout the session during ending roundtable discussion.

During the agenda development process the Advisory Committee will review and rank all session submissions. They reserve right to assign submissions to different topics, combine/eliminate topics, etc. Those submissions selected for the agenda will be notified in June and offered the opportunity to present live or as a pre-recording. The session presenters for a designated topic will be invited to meet online in July with the moderator and other presenters to coordinate their remarks. Those submissions not accepted for a topic session may be offered the opportunity to pre-record a stand-alone "poster" of up to 5 minutes with a single slide/graphic.

Presentation submitters will be asked to choose the best fit for their submission from the broad topics listed below. When choosing a topic, consider some of these potential themes for how the session moderator may relate your presentation with the others that will be included in your session for small group discussion.

Preference in the session selection process will be given to presentations by Rocky Mountain region utility staff who present case studies that focus on the challenges of designing and implementing comprehensive utility/customer solutions/experiences in ways that demonstrate utility-ally collaboration. Presentations from and about utilities from other geographical regions will be considered if relevant/replicable to the Rocky Mountain region.

Session topics and themes of primary interest to the Advisory Committee are:

Silo-Busting Collaboration, Partnership, and Innovation Development

  • Breaking down internal (as well as external) silos: Planning, Program and Operations Oh My!
  • Coordinating with multiple departments for future DER needs: Embrace or be afraid of all the different opinions
  • When and how to share the lessons learned of energy efficiency programs
  • Bundling residential products with a bonus rebate
  • Whole home solutions re-imagined

Consumer Engagement with Communication Strategies and Tactics That Work

  • Best in class ways to communicate complex utility concepts from/to customers
  • Innovative ways utilities are engaging with consumers
  • Reaching customers where they are: marketing and analytics that work
  • Rate design/communications and general consumer Energy Literacy
  • What does a utility-consumer relationship look like today? We are way past the days of 'keep the lights on and rates low'.
  • Lessons learned from TOU rates or demand charge launches: What do consumers need to know in order to assess value of program offerings and/or be accepting of new and sometimes strange rate options?
  • Carbon explained so customers care
  • Smart meter communication tools
  • Communicating Renewables: RECs vs new construction, etc.
  • Builders'/developer voices
  • Demand response engagement

Evolution of Utility Leadership in Business Models/Markets

  • Utility business models that incorporate partnerships with new technologies and the customer as a generator
  • Ways that utilities can create programming to boost satisfaction and provide sufficient consumer choices with the prospect of potential CCA competition
  • Markets: What can they do for utilities
  • Capacity/Consumption considerations and Transmission needs – HVDC, East/West/ERCOT intertie upgrades, large scale storage placement, etc.
  • Carbon benefits and the value proposition for 2030 and beyond
  • Marginal gas price management and communication

Equity and Income-Qualified Program Considerations

  • What does it mean to program design and portfolio mix? Is a shift needed from higher income potential free riders to those who can't make the investment or lack the information to make informed decisions - often both (i.e. more funding toward LMI consumers)?
  • Income-qualified program evolution and engagement
  • Equity as a consideration in new infrastructure proposals for unprecedented focus on frontline or underserved communities
  • Rural areas facing just transition issues as well as overall economic concerns for small communities

Beneficial Electrification as a Paradigm Shift

  • Value proposition for customers and marketing Beneficial Electrification
  • Value proposition for trade allies and engagement strategies
  • Impact to contractor bidding practices

Electric Vehicles: Driving Change in the Utility

  • EV charging load impacts/management: Load building opportunity or grid system failure
  • To EV or not to EV
  • Flexibility or Control
  • Cross-marketing TOU adoption with EV's

Energy Efficiency: Swipe Right or Left

  • EE as an enabler of utility goals in a brave new world
  • Does Energy Efficiency belong in the mix?
  • The need to build customer relationships for the utility of the future.
  • New buildings, new homes

Distributed Energy Resources: Feeling unDER the Stress

  • Interconnections: How to connect with customers for the "right solutions"
  • Is a "one stop shop" approach the best approach?
  • Distributed energy resource management systems and controls
  • Storage's role – ahead of and behind the meter, utility scale and site specific
  • Impacts on both EE and PV (and increasing storage) program considerations, both from a participation lens but also a rate perspective

None of the Above: Now for Something Completely Different
Use this space to suggest a topic not mentioned above with a proposed theme for 3-4 presentations about this topic

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Submissions will be accepted through midnight, May 17, 2021