A midsized Western investor-owned utility (IOU) asked Escalent to assess its customers’ resource preferences and cost expectations to inform the public process of Integrated Resource Planning (IRP). IRP advises long-term resource planning and the development of customer service plans and rates. This IOU needed to determine which energy resource options customers would most likely support. It also needed to know the degree to which certain energy options would be supported given differences in price and resource mix.
Escalent launched a study with residential, commercial and key accounts customers to assess perceptions of electricity generation resources, education regarding each of these resources, prioritization of driving factors and preferences for generation mix. After presenting detailed information about each electricity resource, we asked the audiences to allocate points across several potential resource options (considering variable pricing for each resource) to create their own long-term energy supply plans.
The results quantified customers’ perceptions and receptivity to a variety of energy resource scenarios, allowing local utilities to assess individual resource and resource mix options. Our energy team also developed models based on the allocation results and built simulators that revealed customer preferences for energy resource mix in various pricing scenarios. Escalent was invited to co-present the results with the sponsoring utility’s IRP team as part of an effort to engage the region and key stakeholders in the utility’s resource planning process.