Pacific Gas & Electric Company
At a Glance
Energy or Utility
Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
San Francisco, CA
Rice Lummis identified ways to better integrate energy-efficiency programs and demand-side management.
Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) Customer Energy Solutions department is a part of the organization devoted to designing and implementing energy efficiency, demand response and distributed generation programs for PG&E’s customers. Its Commercial Energy Efficiency Program enlisted the help of Rice Lummis to help in identifying opportunities to better integrate its Energy Efficiency (EE) and Demand Response (DR) programs.
Lummis quickly learned what some of the barriers to success would be. The EE department and DR department were physically located on different floors, and each derived its budget from a separate funding mechanism at the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). In addition, each department had different goals and measures for success. In fact, the units used to calculate energy savings were not the same either. While EE focused on saving kilowatts, kilowatt hours and therms over a long-time horizon, Demand Response (DR) was aimed at short-term, sometimes instantaneous, kilowatt reductions that occur for only a few consecutive hours at most.
To overcome these barriers, Lummis’s first task at hand was to gather data. He interviewed over 20 supervisors and program managers across both departments in order to understand their respective project management processes. He read a variety of research papers related to “Integrated Demand Side Management” (IDSM) efforts underway at utilities around the country. In California, where the utility commission places a heavy emphasis on the simplification of customer programs, several success stories were well-documented from around the state. After about six weeks, his research started to bear fruit. In the end, Lummis developed a project proposal to bring an “integrated” technology through the product development process at PG&E.
With this approach, Lummis hoped to uncover opportunities in the existing organizational wiring. Ultimately, this proposal could offer a customer experience and program management roadmap for both the EE and DR departments to consider when launching future IDSM projects in California.