Grid Forward’s 2nd Virtual Utility Roundtable Sees Load Shifts in AMI Data

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On Thursday April 30, Grid Forward hosted its second Virtual Utility Roundtable of local and national leaders to see first-hand data on the impacts on the grid from COVID-19 and the implications to dispatch order, revenue loss, wholesale market activity, capital spending and other areas. The group included representatives from EPRI, EPCOR, Portland General Electric, Holy Cross Energy, Guidehouse, Seattle City Light, Snohomish PUD and others.

This group began the conversation with an update to load analysis by country, ISO and utilities which showed the continued shifts in electricity use across all sectors

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Across the globe, the impact to daily energy demand ranges from 5% to 20% lower. Closer to home we are seeing most ISOs reporting a reduced demand in the 5-10% range.
Source: EPRI,  April 2020
  • Across the Pacific Northwest, utilities report seeing impacts in the range of 3% to 7%, with more volatility during the day and increased forecasted need in the morning hours.  
  • Delinquent debt and revenue losses from arrears continue to mount. Some utilities are monitoring early indicators such as un-enrollment from auto-bill-pay features. 
  • Utilities are shifting focus to what the “new normal” means for their businesses, as revenues are expected to slow and shifts in capital spending are occurring in real time.
  • The group reviewed impacts per sector using AMI data, with the largest impacts seen in the C&I loads. The data is showing that the hardest hit sectors include retail, schools, spa/salons and churches. Restaurants have seen a slight decrease with impact to full-service operations, yet early heat waves have shown the return to normal load shapes. This may have implications for forecasting as we enter the warmer part of the year and see increased use on HVAC loads. 
  • Similarly, with the seasonal weather shift occurring on the West Coast, utilities are preparing for the increase in solar and wind in the coming weeks, which will impact dispatch order decision making.  
  • Assuming the coming weeks provide some level of stabilization on shelter-in-place and overall economic activity, we will be moving into considerations of “how to use this opportunity to make progress on modernization, electrification and clean energy.” 
  • The group provided topic areas for future Roundtables such as impacts and investments on distribution system assets, forecast planning, DER integration, electrification initiatives, resiliency investments and analytics.

The Grid Forward Virtual Utility Roundtable Series uses an invitation-only, small-group format to encourage information sharing and frank discussion. We were pleased to have had a strong response for our first Roundtables and have shifted into a bi-weekly format. Our next Roundtable is planned for May 14th as we explore the impacts to Adjusted Forecast and Planning.

If you have an interest in reserving a seat for the next Virtual Utility Roundtable, please contact

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