Part 3: Demand Response: Leading Sustainability: Demand Response in California


Leading Sustainability: Demand Response in California


The implementation of demand response in California is still in its infancy stage, but it is surely learning to walk and run fast. The state maintains its stand as the country’s leader for sustainable energy and is overhauling its energy generation, distribution, and consumption practices. California’s adoption of power efficiency strategies like demand response is finally nearing full swing.

California’s Demand Response Initiatives 

Within the past couple of years, the state of California developed policies and implemented programs to strengthen demand-response integration into its central electric grid.


Pilot Demand Response Programs Implemented by Investor-Owned Utilities

The California Public Utilities Commission is working in concert with investor-owned utilities (IOU) to run pilot demand response programs in areas with constrained transmission capacities. The IOUs have a total of $2.5 million funding from the government to mitigate deficient transmission and even out the load across all sections of the grid.


Enhanced Electric Reliability Reporting

Fulfilling the goals of AB 6692, investor-owned utilities in California answer to stiff reliability reporting standards.  including localized reporting, detailed disclosure of circuit performances, and annual investment plans to mitigate deficiencies. Utilities use technologies such as Geographic Information Systems and Outage Management Systems to manage the flow of accurate information. The state’s enhanced reporting standards aim to foster continuous improvement through objective standards and transparent reporting.


Click-Through Authorization Process for Customer Data Access

A critical improvement in the implementation of demand response in California is the approval of the Click-Through Authorization. Prior to the program, customer authorization was a tedious and time-consuming process, deterring many users from promptly finishing the step. Click-Through Authorization allows users to securely provide authorization online with just four clicks.


Conversion of Mobile Home Park Master Meters to Direct Utility Meters

The program aims to phase-out sub-meters and master-meters in shared living spaces like mobile home parks, and eventually multi-tenant buildings, then replace them with direct utility metering. Smart metering will increase individual user consciousness on their electrical usage and also enhance the accuracy of individual consumption for demand response settlements.


The Challenges of Establishing Strong Demand Response in California

The full effect of the demand process cannot be determined yet this early in the implementation timeline, but the results already show roughly 295 million minutes of avoided outages in the past year, which amounts to roughly $638 million according to the sustainable energy report by California Public Utilities Commission.


While the progress is good, issues still pop up, again and again, that delay processes and frustrate both providers and users:

  • Inefficient and inaccurate meter data management
  • Complicated authorization processes and user interface
  • Difficulties securing finances or funding from financial partners
  • Delayed or incomplete utility assistance on technical user concerns


Overhauling California’s Energy Practices with Demand Response

Demand response fits right in the junction of California’s energy overhaul and the growing appeal of cost-effective power consumption practices to the larger consumer base. The strategy is a core component of the state’s long-term sustainability plan, along with the migration to smart grids and renewable sources of electricity.


The earliest years of implementation show that demand response in California is already making a massive difference in bringing down outage hours and peak-hours inefficiency. The challenge now is smoothing out the implementation and integration processes based on current trends. Of course, the success over than challenge needs the synergy of all stakeholders, from financial partners and regulators to energy providers and consumers.


Walters Wholesale Lighting and Controls Division, is a leader in the Demand Response arena, contact your local Walters branch to see if we can help set your next project in motion.

Sirikit Hiyasmin Loong-Elebaran is a Filipino Freelance Writer who has 9 years of technical niche experience. She mainly provides content for electrical and IT companies. She is also the CEO and Founder of and You can reach her at


Tags:  electricity; demand response; electric; natural gas; technology; sustainability
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