The Top 5 Reasons Why You May Be Hesitant About Demand Response... and Why You Shouldn't Be

We work with tens of thousands of organizations from across nearly every industry to help them reap the many benefits – financial, operational, environmental – of demand response (DR). Despite how sweet the benefits may be (particularly the regular payments), there are reasons why folks may hesitate to sign up. Here are 5 of the most common objections we’ve heard from customers over the years – and the reasons why they’re not actually the hurdles that they seem.

1. “I can’t curtail energy – it’s too disruptive to our operation.”

When we first talk to organizations about DR, the idea of shutting off, curtailing, or adjusting energy usage can be, well, scary. Whether you’re a building manager concerned about tenant comfort, a data center operations manager who is worried about uninterruptible power, or a plant engineer worried about product quality, you’ve got a business to run, and your operation comes first. The good news is that an experienced demand response partner (ahem) will work closely with you to build a customized energy reduction strategy that works for your facility and doesn’t negatively impact your business. We’ve built specific plans that work within a whole host of different operational constraints. But don’t take our word for it: check out how peers in YOUR industry have made DR work for them.

2. “The financial benefit doesn’t seem compelling enough for me to make the effort.”

Every demand response program is different. Your facility's specific financial opportunity will depend on the programs offered in your local area and how much you are able to reduce. But the regular financial payments you receive from participation are just the tip of the iceberg. All EnerNOC DR customers receive access to powerful energy intelligence software that can help drive thousands of dollars in incremental savings. Just ask John DeVinney, the plant engineer at Perdue Farms, whose team saved $45,000 in its first year of participation by using our energy monitoring tools to get more aggressive about peak demand management. Getting visibility into how and where you use energy can be a game-changer for organizations looking to reduce energy costs.

3. “There’s too much risk – we can’t afford to be on the hook for penalties if we can’t reduce.”

Penalties for underperforming during DR dispatches do exist and some DR providers make customers pay out-of-pocket penalties for underperforming during dispatches. Not EnerNOC. We understand that there may be times when you will not be able to carry out your complete energy reduction plan. Even in these cases, you’ll never have to pay us a penalty – you’ll simply be paid for the amount you are able to reduce. That said, we do work with you ahead of time to make sure that your curtailment strategy makes sense in nearly all situations, so that on game day, you're well positioned to deliver the kilowatt reductions needed to reap the financial rewards you expect.  

So how can EnerNOC afford to cover for those that do underperform during a dispatch? It’s our portfolio or aggregator model that makes it happen. After all, we have obligations to the utilities/grid operators with whom we work to deliver energy reductions when necessary. EnerNOC’s demand response network is made up of thousands of sites whose performance, in aggregate, will balance out during dispatches. For instance, if the President happens to be visiting your college campus the day of a demand response dispatch, and you’re not able to reduce the lights in your auditorium, it’s ok. Because chances are a nearby manufacturing facility happens to have an extra production line down for maintenance during the dispatch and will therefore surpass its commitment, balancing you out.  All of this balancing of energy load happens behind the scenes in our Network Operations Center, where our world-class technology fuels what we like to call a “virtual power plant.” All of this is to say, we’ve got your back.

4. “I’ve participated in demand response before. I’m not sure I’m willing to do it again.”

Demand response is not a new concept – in many regions, programs have been around for years. But innovations in technology have revolutionized what it means to participate in demand response –simplifying and greatly enhancing the experience for customers like you. While participation in DR should be easy and straightforward, not all providers are created equal. EnerNOC’s combination of advanced technology, 24/7 customer support, and deep industry expertise helps ensure each one of our customers is ready to roll when a dispatch is called and dollars are on the line. We encourage interested parties to do their homework and ask the right questions of potential partners, i.e., how do I know I’ll receive the dispatch notification in time? What kind of support will I receive when a dispatch is called? What kind of visibility will I get into my performance and payments? Are there risks involved in participation? The right partner can easily set you up for success.

5. “I’ve got higher priority energy projects going on.”

Our customers often have a lot of energy management initiatives on their wish lists or projects already under way – and demand response may not be one of their top priorities. But introducing DR into the mix early can have a big impact on making the other initiatives more successful. By partnering with EnerNOC, customers get access to their real-time energy data and valuable tools in our energy intelligence software, helping them keep tabs on energy use across facilities and prioritize opportunities and projects. And more dollars in your pocket means it’s easier to make the case for additional energy efficiency investments down the line.

See how energy intelligence software can help you achieve demand response success.
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Authored By Thalia Pascalides

As Senior Content Marketing Manager, Thalia strives to deliver valuable, relevant information that helps energy decision-makers become heroes in their everyday jobs.

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