The company recently received the Peak Load Management Alliance’s annual award for industry thought leadership around rate design and smart device integration.
Specifically, the company was recognized for three standout initiatives across multiple states:
“We’re coupling innovative technologies with forward-thinking rate design and offerings to deliver better experiences for our customers each day,” said Lon Huber, vice president of rate design and strategic solutions at Duke Energy. “And none of this would be possible without the support of our policymakers, partners and other stakeholders. They see the tremendous value in our customer-centric grid modernization and carbon reduction efforts.”
In Florida, Duke Energy is piloting an Energy Service Subscription (ESS) bundle. The 12-month pilot program offers customers a flat monthly subscription fee, with no surprise bill adjustments or year-end settle-up payments. Duke Energy offsets energy usage with renewable energy credits, helping customers contribute to emissions reduction while experiencing peace of mind through bill certainty.
The subscription framework allows customers to pay fixed amounts for different bundles of utility-provided products and services, making it seamless for customers to participate. Customers in the pilot may also enroll a smart thermostat with Uplight for instant savings in the program. It also provides benefits for the grid, reducing periods of high demand and saving energy.
Piloting allows Duke Energy to bring new customer programs to market at a record pace.The company’s Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) program, deployed by EnergyHub and referred to as Power Manager® or EnergyWise® Home focuses on reducing demand for electricity in the Carolinas and Indiana. Duke Energy has enrolled more than 90,000 thermostats.
These programs provide an incentive to customers for voluntarily reducing energy use during periods when demand for power is highest. Originally the Power Manager and EnergyWise Home programs addressed peak period of energy usage in the summer. With evolving demands on the power grid, the company conducted an in-depth study into how to expand its programs to address winter peaks as well, bringing reliability benefits to customers while providing operational efficiencies during each season’s peak demand periods. “We’ve enrolled more smart thermostats than any other utility in the U.S.,” said Huber. “This is extremely gratifying and speaks directly to our commitment to adopting technologies that can lower our carbon footprint and those of our customers.” “Using advanced analytics, automation and intelligence, we’re helping our customers manage their peak energy demand better than ever before. As a result, we’re able to maximize the use of our cleanest and cheapest energy sources – keeping costs as low as we can for our customers.”
Currently, more than 1 million Duke Energy households participate in the company’s extensive suite of residential programs to reduce the demand for energy, helping customers enable carbon reduction while being rewarded for helping Duke Energy manage energy use. This supports Duke Energy’s commitment to low-carbon technology, helping the utility meet goals outlined in its 2020 Climate Report and recent integrated resource plans, including its commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Duke Energy also recently launched an innovative Bring Your Own Battery study in Florida and North Carolina to explore opportunities to leverage existing energy storage systems to support renewable energy growth and improve grid functions. Participants are Duke Energy customers who currently have batteries installed in their homes to provide backup power in case of an outage.
“The 12-month study will enable us to learn more about customer usage of batteries and a utility’s potential ability to leverage these devices to support the grid during times of peak demand,” said Huber. “The goal of a future program will be to reduce battery costs for participants and enable customers to participate directly in the company’s transition to a cleaner energy future.”
The North Carolina Duke Energy Bring Your Own Battery program is made possible in part by Virtual Peaker, Powerhome Solar and Generac.