The issue Energy Utilities face with load balancing
It is common that Energy Utilities are interested in Demand Side Management (DSM) (also known under other terms such as load reduction, demand response, load balancing, load shifting) in order to equilibrate their load duration curve and make major fixed cost reductions by leanifying their power production assets or optimize their production output in case they operate combined heat and power (CHP) plants.
The issue is that enabling DSM also represents a major change in requirements for customer relationship management. The former focus on relationships that were only based on contractual agreements is no longer sufficient. A personalized communication channel to all energy end-users needs to be opened. The reason is that reducing a customer's load, affects his/her perceived quality of service if no consent was given. A single event during which the intended use of power is not possible can be sufficient that a inhabitant looses trust. The disappointment caused by lacking or ambiguous communication around DSM and its occurences paired with the perceived restrained freedom of consumption may trigger the consumer to search for alternative solutions. He/she might influence for instance the contractual contact person to choose another energy provider at the next possible occasion.
This issue cannot be resolved with classical advertisement or with a website where information about DSM events is provided. A bidirectional communication channel with inhabitants needs to be opened. Energy Utilities need to be able to send notices about imminent load balancing events to the inhabitant within the required geographical area. In opposite direction, the inhabitants need to be able to confirm the reception of the notice by giving their consent to load reduction to the Energy Utility.
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