Using geospatial analysis to target programs
Geographic analysis tools, such as geographic information systems or GIS, have traditionally been used by utilities for managing physical assets and often reside on the desktops of utility transmission and distribution engineers. Yet geospatial analysis methods offer a range of opportunities for energy efficiency and demand response (EEDR) program designers, implementers, and evaluators to help in the sometimes elusive search for savings and demand reduction, and to help improve customer satisfaction. This paper describes an analysis of customer data for one utility, and the limitations encountered from examining the data in aggregated form, i.e., at the service territory. It then provides an example application of geospatial analysis for rate offerings related to smart meters is provided to illustrate the expanded insights that can be achieved by adding a geographic dimension to customer research. This example study shows how adding the geographic dimension to an assessment can help utilities determine how and where their customers are likely to engage, whether such potential engagement is likely to produce enough benefit for the investment given physical system characteristics in those locations, or where an expanded pilot program or staged roll out should take place. These data and resulting information provide the utility a much richer and more detailed amount of information for strategic decision making.