Part 5 : Demand Response: Open Automated Demand Response and Why The U.S. is Onboard


Open Automated Demand Response and Why The U.S. is Onboard

 Automation plays a crucial component in a successful demand response program. Utilities commonly use special devices like special thermostats to automatically control the user’s electrical system - with the consumer’s explicit permission, of course. Utility alliances are now even pushing for a DR communications system that helped California achieve its sustainable energy goals. Califonia calls the platform Open Automated Demand Response.


Why OpenADR? 

The earliest ADR systems have no standardized specifications. They work as stand-alone demand response data systems that are not interoperable with other technologies used for managing the grid, like BACnet, EMIX, ASHRAE, and LonMark. Open Automated Demand Response uses a non-proprietary communication model that enables it to integrate with other systems and protocols to optimize its DR reports.


OpenADR helps streamline demand response implementation by unifying standards and automation processes that could not be achieved using stand-alone DR communication systems. The main improvements from the open structure are:

  • Uniform program effectivity benchmarks across all providers
  • Standardized exchange of pricing and fundamental information
  • Facilitate automatic demand response actions in the user’s location
  • Enable interoperation of ADR with other energy management protocols
  • Stipulate how third parties, manufacturers, facility operators, utilities, and ISOs will interface with Demand Response Automation (DRA) servers


Open Automated Demand Response: How It Started 

California, leading state for sustainable energy, started developing OpenADR after its 2002 electricity crisis.  By 2013, California providers were using OpenADR 1.0 to implement dynamic pricing and information-driven demand response programs. The open communication structure helped boost reliable electricity delivery in the state and helps users avoid paying high electricity prices.


The wide acceptance of Open ADR 1.0 in California has now grown into a national initiative. ADR 2.0 was developed and design to address the needs of the US wholesale and retail energy markets. More and more states are following in California’s steps and adopting automated demand response to support their sustainable energy policies. Open ADR 2.0 is an important component for the success of these ADR programs.


How OpenADR 2.0 Works 

Technically, Open Automated Demand Response is defined as a data communications system that facilitates the transfer of DR data and signals from utilities and operators to their electric consumers. Open ADR triggers automatic load reduction and adjustments in the consumer’s electrical unit without the presence or manual intervention of the user. The system also connects users and providers to exchange information that is crucial to demand response like:

  • Basic rate multiples
  • Price per kilowatt hour
  • Any changes in kilowatt-hour prices
  • Load percentage needed to be shed
  • Fixed volume of load that need shedding or shifting


For security and operation purposes, there are also limitations to the type of data that can be shared through this communication system. Other information that utilities, third-party providers, and end-users can access from the system include:

  • Test signals
  • Operating mode
  • Bids and market data
  • Event values enumeration
  • Emergency and reliability signals
  • Renewable energy generation status
  • DR event name, identification, and status


Prepare for OpenADR 2.0 and Take the Lead 

The work being done to develop and test effective for effective ADR standards is critical to the success of the nationwide demand response initiative. Collaborative groups like the OpenADR Alliance are also continually conducting trials, trainings, and certifications to make sure electrical professionals keep pace with the currents standards for OpenADR.


If you work or run a business in the electrical industry, don’t get left behind. Stay at the forefront of demand response developments. Be familiar with this platform which will soon become a prominent part of your daily operations. Train, invest, and be ready for the coming shift to Open Automated Demand Response.  


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
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