Grid Forward: Building the Decarbonized Grid Virtual Summit

By Erin D'Amato on

Mom and child riding a bike by windmills

Over two days, energy industry leaders gathered virtually to discuss how we build a more resilient and reliable grid with innovative policy and technology solutions. The Building the Decarbonized Grid Summit highlighted exciting new technologies and brought focus and attention to ways in which the industry can work together to break down barriers to adoption and scale decarbonization solutions. Uplight was excited not only to attend, but also participate on a panel. 

Scaling Demand-Side Flexibility

Angela Amos, a member of Uplight’s Step Change Labs Market Development team, spoke among panelists from Bidgely, Portland General Electric, and SMUD. They discussed the importance of engaging customers to scale their organizations’ innovative demand side technology and program solutions. As more states and utilities are creating aggressive decarbonization goals, it is crucial that technology capabilities align with incentives to ensure demand-side programs are accessible to all. 

Scott Blunk, Strategic Planner of Building Electrification at SMUD, highlighted the dual role of rebate incentives and customer advocacy in their initiative to remove gas from all buildings in Sacramento by 2045. To accelerate residential electrification, SMUD rolled out $3,000 in rebates for customers to upgrade water heaters. These higher incentives proved to be successful and SMUD has used new revenue generated from building and transportation electrification programs to avoid raising consumer rates. 

Angela Amos cited Uplight’s recent residential customer survey, which surveyed one thousand customers from across the US. The results showed that 40% of customers were interested in time of use (TOU) rates, or shifting their usage to align with periods of more favorable prices, but only 22% of customers had looked into actually changing their rate. Low to moderate income customers surveyed had less awareness and lower engagement in utility energy savings programs, despite many of these programs being designed to help this demographic. A key takeaway is that in order to realize wide-spread adoption of TOU rates and other demand-side programs, we need to engage all customer segments. 

How Does Uplight Fit In?

Uplight has had a track record of creating engaging customer experiences with solutions like Behavioral Energy Efficiency, instant rebates in the Marketplace, and Next Best Action. Using customer behavior learnings from these existing solutions, Uplight is continuing to innovate demand-side management engagement beyond early adopters and continually refine adoption methods to activate users from across all customer segments. 

Learn more about Uplight’s Customer Research Series.