Debunking the 5 Most Common Misconceptions About Demand Response

Here at Enel X, we have worked with tens of thousands of organizations from across nearly every industry to help them reap the many benefits—financial, operational, environmental—of demand response (DR). Despite how sweet the benefits may be (particularly the regular payments), there are reasons why folks may hesitate to sign up. Here are five of the most common—yet easily surmountable—objections we’ve heard from customers over the years.

1. “It’s too disruptive to our operation.”

When we first talk to organizations about DR, the idea of shutting off, curtailing, or adjusting energy usage can be, well, scary. Whether you’re a building manager concerned about tenant comfort, a data center operations manager who is worried about constant power, or a plant manager focused on maintaining product quality, you’ve got a business to run, and your operations comes first. The good news is that an experienced demand response partner (ahem) will work closely with you to build a customized energy reduction strategy that works for your facility and doesn’t negatively impact your business. We’ve built specific plans that work within a whole host of different operational constraints.

2. “I’m not sure the financial benefit is compelling enough for me to make the effort.”

Every demand response program is different. Your financial opportunity will depend on the programs offered in your local area and how much you are able to reduce. But the regular financial payments you receive from participation are just the tip of the iceberg. All Enel X DR customers receive access to powerful energy intelligence software that can help drive thousands of dollars in incremental savings. Just ask Keith Nunley, the engineering supervisor at Lodge Cast Iron, where they are saving $15,000 in the summer by using our energy intelligence software to manage peak demand. Visibility into how and where you use energy can be a game-changer for organizations looking to reduce energy costs.

3. “Our generator doesn’t meet the EPA’s new regulations.” 

Thousands of non-compliant generators were removed from emergency DR programs when the US EPA began enforcing stricter engine emissions regulation in May 2016. If your site(s) were affected then, you might be a little gun-shy about re-enrolling them, given the steep penalties for violating the Clean Air Act. Given how strong the DR markets are right now, the ROI to upgrade your gen-set make the effort worthwhile. We’ve got the expertise to guide you through a generator upgrade project, so you can be 100% confident that you’re fully in compliance. We can even offer financing to help you avoid the upfront project fees. And if your generator is truly one of the few that isn’t upgradeable, you might be surprised at the options you have to curtail use during a dispatch without sacrificing operational priorities or occupant comfort.

4. “I’ve got higher priority energy projects going on.”

Our customers often have a lot of energy management initiatives on their wish lists or projects already under way, and demand response may not be one of their top priorities. But introducing DR into the mix early can have a big impact on making the other initiatives more successful. By partnering with Enel X, customers have access to their real-time energy data and valuable tools in our energy intelligence software, helping them keep tabs on energy use across facilities and prioritize opportunities and projects. And with more dollars in your pocket, it’s easier to make the case for additional energy investments down the line.

5. “I’ve participated in demand response before. I’m not sure I’m willing to do it again.”

Demand response is not a new concept—in many regions, programs have been around for years. But innovations in technology have revolutionized what it means to participate in demand response, simplifying and greatly enhancing the experience for businesses. While participation in DR should be easy and straightforward, not all providers are created equal. Enel X’s combination of market expertise, commitment to customer success, and history of industry leadership helps ensure each one of our customers is ready to roll when a dispatch is called and dollars are on the line. We encourage interested parties to do their homework and ask the right questions of potential partners, i.e., how does a dispatch work? What kind of support will I receive when a dispatch is called? What kind of visibility will I get into my performance and payments? Are there risks involved in participation? The right partner can easily set you up for success – our checklist helps ensure you’re asking the right questions to best serve your business.

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Authored By Melissa Depanian

As the Senior Marketing Manager for Demand Response, Melissa focuses on developing strategies that raise awareness of Enel X’s North American DR programs and driving customer loyalty.

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