As each summer breaks the temperature record of the past summers and customers are faced with unrelenting heat, demand response (DR) at scale is becoming a necessity for utilities to ensure grid reliability. Utilities nationally are accelerating the pace of DR enrollments to avoid strain and prevent blackouts.
Uplight’s expertise in enrolling and retaining customers in DR programs creates a reliable resource that utilities can depend on. As the DR partner to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), we recently surpassed 100,000 enrollments–making their program among the largest residential customer demand response programs in the country. Despite being just a third of its current size only last year, this DR asset still made a huge impact on California’s grid reliability during the heat waves in September 2022. In fact, Uplight and other DR programs like PG&E’s contributed to a 1.21-gigawatt decrease in demand for CAISO during an all-time demand high. This summer, many utilities in California and beyond are partnering with Uplight to curtail between 30-40 MW per event to achieve needed grid flexibility during record-breaking conditions.
DR and other grid flexibility offerings will only become more important, and Uplight is keeping pace with that acceleration by managing 18% more flexible load now than at this time last summer. This uptick in MW under Uplight’s management is due to a combination of higher enrollments and more event participation from existing program participants. In particular, we’ve seen a 62% increase in cumulative enrollment volume compared to last year.
Part of our success in driving both enrollments and retention is due to our dedication to continuous testing and pilots, learnings from which are incorporated into our product offerings and operational standards. Our focus on best-in-class user experience from initial application to ongoing participation – including customer communication before, during, and after DR events – contributes to our ability to provide a long-standing and reliable resource for our utility partners.
Despite the hot start to the summer, June and July opt-out rates for Uplight clients – which were already less than 1% – have decreased since 2022 by between 50-75%. We’re also proud to share that our post-event customer satisfaction (CSAT) score averages 75%+, which is comparable to best-in-class companies such as Amazon at 84 and Target at 78.
With the temperatures not showing any signs of cooling down, Uplight is on track this summer to deliver better results at a larger scale and in more challenging weather conditions. We’re excited to take these learnings and finish the 2023 DR season stronger than we started it.