From the Danville, Illinois Commercial-News, a report of a two-year old dynamic power price program for residential customers of Ameren in Illinois:
The program offers customers the ability to track in real time, via the Web, the day-ending regional commodity price of electricity. And as the rate fluctuates, participants can adjust their usage to avoid peak rates the following day.
“You don’t have to turn everything off and you don’t have to sit around in the dark,” said Stephanie Folk, a spokeswoman for CNT Energy….
She said it’s more a matter of knowing when the prices are high or are going to go higher, and then saving major chores such as laundry for a less-expensive part of the day.
“Maybe you just turn up the air conditioner a couple of degrees at certain times,” she said.
The reporter suggests that customers “can save nearly 15 percent”, but doesn’t indicate if that is a maximum or mean value.
Probably nothing new in the article for regular KP readers, but in a world in which people think such pricing programs are impossible — politically or practically — the mere existence of a two year old program offers a proof.
The next step is to automate the adjustment processes. For example, if the air conditioner’s thermostat setting was a function of price rather than a fixed number, the power customer could capture savings without needing to check prices nightly. This kind of thing is already possible, but hampered by the current lack of energy data communication standards to allow thermostats to communicate to other household systems, the power meter, and the consumer’s energy retailer.