2008 Ex Post Load Impact Evaluation for Pacific Gas & Electric Company's SmartRate Tariff

FSC recently completed a load impact analysis of PG&E's SmartRate tariff, a voluntary, opt-in critical peak pricing tariff. The SmartRate tariff charges much higher prices during the peak period on up to 15 SmartDays during the summer in return for lower prices over a four month period from June through September.

Prices vary by time of day only on SmartDays. During the summer of 2008, roughly 10,000 customers signed up for SmartRate, based on a marketing campaign that relied primarily on a single direct mail promotional piece. There were nine SmartDays during the summer of 2008. In 2008, SmartRate was only offered in PG&E's Bakersfield region, where advanced meters had been installed. Air conditioning saturation is very high in the Bakersfield area. Among the key findings are:

  • The ave rage reduction for residential customers across the 9 SmartDays was 16.6% 
  • Average response was higher on the third day of each of three multi-day events than on the first day 
  • Customers that qualified for the California Alternative Rates for Energy program, a low income program, signed up at much higher rates than did non-CARE customers but responded less. The average reduction for CARE customers was still a very respectable 11% and the average reduction for non-CARE customers was a quite impressive 22.6% 
  • Almost 55% of notified customers provided load reductions that exceeded 10% of peak period energy use on SmartDays and almost 40% of notified customers provided load reductions exceeding 20% of peak period energy use 

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