The number of utilities planning or considering demand response programmes has increased significantly, according to 2007 survey results by utility research firm Chartwell.

Although the proportion of utilities offering customers demand response programmes has remained steady, 22% of utilities report planning or considering special rates that encourage peak load management for residential customers. Fifteen percent are planning or considering a residential air conditioner cycling programme; only 1% reported planning or considering such a programme in a 2006 survey.

Metering and data analysis technology may also contribute toward the movement. More than half of all utilities using, planning or considering advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) intend to leverage the technology for demand response programmes, according to Chartwell data. Nearly three quarters of those same utilities are planning or considering AMIenabled time dynamic rates.

Other drivers are the latest environmental trends, consumer attitudes and technology advancements, but all these are no guarantee that the planned programmes will get off the ground.

These are some of the findings outlined in two new companion Chartwell reports, AMI-Enabled Demand Response 2007 and Marketing & Communicating Demand Response.

Many utilities close to deploying the next generation of metering systems project demand response to deliver benefits internally as well as to customers. Several industry experts believe AMI-enabled energy efficiency programmes will allow utilities to reduce demand and prevent the construction of generation facilities, according to the AMI-Enabled Demand Response 2007 report.

www.chartwellinc.com