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Simplifying the Connected Device Game

  • Written by Mark Michalski & Jim Walsh
  • February 28, 2024
connected smart programmable thermostat

Connected devices, like smart thermostats and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), serve as tools for utilities to optimize grid operations through flexible load management programs. Providers of distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) can actively manage the operation of these connected devices whose owners have agreed to demand response or managed charging programs. This helps reduce peak demand and shift tasks (like electric vehicle charging) to off-peak hours, thereby enhancing utilities' ability to respond effectively to real-time instabilities caused by heatwaves and other severe weather events, which strain the power grid.  

Enrolling more customers in these programs has become a growing utility engagement strategy. With an increasing need to supercharge program enrollment driven by regulatory mandates, adopting a more comprehensive approach to customer engagement can help utilities and their DERMS providers achieve the desired transformation.  

BYOD? DRPE? Managed charging? How about all of the above?  

The current process for bring your own device (BYOD), demand response pre-enrollment (DRPE), and managed charging programs requires developing an interconnected system between a DERMS provider, manufacturers, e-commerce providers, and sometimes other third-party vendors (to support customer validation). The system configuration differs for each program type, as does its entry point, with DERMS leading BYOD, e-commerce vendors leading DRPE, and manufacturers leading managed charging. The resulting experience for customers can feel like they themselves are a pickleball getting bounced between different websites if they are exploring their options for program participation.  

What if we improve the experience by consolidating all the program enrollment steps for various programs in one place while giving customers access to the ancillary services they need to participate? BYOD, DRPE, and managed charging programs, and utilities in general, can benefit from a more simplified and streamlined process.  

Why simplify the enrollment process.  

Simplifying the enrollment process, by crafting clear pathways outlining all aspects of program enrollment, helps improve device adoption and scale program participation to meet a utility’s ambitious flexible load management program goals.  

PEP Customer Experience

We see the need for dedicated program enrollment portals to help overcome adoption barriers, like buying qualified equipment paired with installation from a qualified and vetted trade ally partner, accessing financing to help cover the cost of a project, or simply just registering an existing qualified device. Bulldozing barriers increases the likelihood of customer participation—participation that’s often thwarted by not providing a comprehensive offering. This shift is the next logical step in evolving the connected device adoption and enrollment experience for utilities and DERMS providers. 

If you’re seeking a new approach to increasing participation in your demand response or managed charging programs, contact us to find out what a program enrollment portal can do for you.