PSE, in cooperation with the Bainbridge Island Community Energy Task Force, launches pilot program to test demand reduction technology

Project will help assess how to best meet future demand for electricity

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. (Oct. 7, 2009) – Puget Sound Energy, in conjunction with the Bainbridge Island Community Energy Task Force, is launching a two-year demand response pilot program in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The pilot is designed to test the flexibility of the electrical system on the island with equipment installed at up to 700 homes that can automatically reduce residential customer electrical space and water heating use at peak usage times.

“Our calculations show that our system’s capacity on Bainbridge Island is near its reliable limit. This is actually an opportunity because it allows us a real-world test of technology that may help us delay the need to build a new substation,” said Cal Shirley, vice president of Energy Efficiency Services for PSE. “All Bainbridge customers can help too, especially during peak winter and summer weather, by lowering their energy use.”

PSE’s demand response pilot program will feature specialized control devices that can control electric heating and water heaters, which use the largest amount of electricity, in up to 700 Bainbridge homes. These controls will use two-way communication via the Web to automatically reduce participants’ energy demand for a short period of time during a few days each year.

Using information from the National Weather Service and customer usage data, PSE can determine dates and times to test the new technology. On such occasions, a demand response “event” could be triggered. During an event, the devices in the participating homes will automatically reduce individual household electric space and water heating demand with minimal effect to residents’ comfort or convenience. The program will also allow PSE to collect data on how this type of activity could improve system reliability.

“We on Bainbridge are excited about the program because it will offer us a way to automatically reduce demand for electricity on the island and increase optimization of our grid. It is a step towards a far more intelligent electric power system that allows our residents to be active participants in improving our power grid’s efficiency and reliability,” said Hilary Franz, Bainbridge Island city councilor and chair of the Bainbridge Island Community Energy Task Force, of which PSE is a member. Franz is also one of the initial households to sign up for the pilot. She was instrumental in the creation of the Task Force, which aims to increase Bainbridge Island energy efficiency and conservation, improve reliability, decrease carbon emissions, reduce peak load demand, and create green jobs.

The Task Force will soon be launching the Bainbridge Island Energy Challenge to engage the community in these goals. The Bainbridge Island Energy Challenge is a broad based community-wide effort that will substantially reduce Bainbridge Island’s consumption of electricity by targeting comprehensive, deep efficiency in both residential and commercial facilities, implementing demand response management, and developing clean, renewable power generation alternatives.

Those participating in the PSE pilot to make a positive impact on Bainbridge Island’s energy future will receive a $50 thank-you from PSE for each full year that they are enrolled. Equipment will be installed in participating homes by GoodCents Solutions, a firm with experience implementing similar programs nationally, that PSE has hired to run the two-year pilot.

Events will typically occur when electric space and water heat use is highest between November and February in the early morning. Due to an emerging summer peak on some parts of PSE’s grid during hot weather, a few events will also be scheduled between May and September to measure the response of homes with air conditioning and water heating. During winter, the diversified load reduction is expected to average approximately 1.6 kilowatts (kW) per participating home. Spread over 700 participants, this load reduction would be 1,120 kW, or a little over 1 megawatt.

By balancing the island’s energy demand through this load management program and aggressively applying other energy efficiency programs, PSE hopes to gather data on increasing system reliability, efficiency and safety, and the potential for postponing additional electric distribution capacity infrastructure.

In order to qualify to participate in the demand response pilot, single-family Bainbridge Island residential electric customers need a broadband Internet connection and electric space and water heat. Interested customers should call toll-free 1-877-287-3461 to find out if they qualify and enroll in the program.

For more information about other PSE energy-efficiency efforts, call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482 or visit


Rebekah Anderson, 1-888-831-7250

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state’s oldest local energy utility, Puget Sound Energy serves more than 1 million electric customers and nearly 750,000 natural gas customers in 11 counties. A subsidiary of Puget Energy, PSE meets the energy needs of its growing customer base through incremental, cost-effective energy conservation, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service and delivering energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible.

About Bainbridge Island Community Energy Task Force

The Bainbridge Island Energy Challenge was developed by the Bainbridge Community Energy Task Force, whose participants include citizens and representatives from community non-profit organizations, religious organizations, local government, school district, the business community, Conservation Services Group (CSG), and Puget Sound Energy. The large number of active and diverse participants in the Task Force provides a strong, grassroots network to mobilize the community around the Challenge goals and strategies. Ultimately, the Challenge will help Bainbridge Island residents and businesses use energy more efficiently, control their energy costs, and build a cleaner future with renewable energy options.

About GoodCents

With headquarters in Atlanta, GoodCents is an industry leading company that specializes in Smart Grid Solutions, Energy Efficiency Programs, and Research and Data Analysis for utility companies all across North America. With over 30 years of experience, GoodCents has an acute understanding of the challenges utilities face in meeting demand reduction goals and maintaining reliability. GoodCents has implemented in excess of one million load control devices delivering over 1,000 MW’s of dispatch able load reduction. The Company provides unique mass-market programs to the residential and commercial segments to over 40% of the top 25 IOU’s. A team of over 300 industry professionals is dedicated to ensuring the highest level of results, from the design and implementation of programs, to the marketing and recruitment of customers to the ultimate validation of the results. Through the years, GoodCents has continued to add to their offerings to become a comprehensive service partner to utilities.