Urgent Alert

9 steps to greater savings and supporting the grid

Date: April 06, 2022
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Technologies that automatically regulate commercial energy usage during peak times of consumption has become an effective way for businesses to reduce energy usage, utility costs and environmental impact.  PG&E’s Automated Demand Response (ADR) program can help offset the technology costs.

By working with PG&E and our authorized program implementer, businesses in California can design and implement an ADR project that is aligned with their operations. These specialized projects allow businesses to realize substantial short- and long-term financial and environmental rewards without making major sacrifices or spending a lot of money on upfront investments and which help to reduce the strain on California’s grid.

What is Automated Demand Response and how does it work?


When commercial energy usage hits its highest levels, which occurs during peak hours and typically the hottest days of summer, PG&E encourages businesses to reduce their consumption through a combination of financial incentives and technical assistance. This overall initiative is referred to as demand response (DR).

ADR allows businesses to design and implement an ADR project which includes control technology and subsequently do not rely on human intervention during DR event days. Simply, the automated systems handle the work. In addition, often ADR incentives can be coupled with energy efficiency rebates for even greater savings. And, even better, DR programs offer customers ongoing incentives in exchange for their participation.

9 Steps to Greater Savings & Supporting the Grid


  1. Build an audit with the ADR team
    The first step in designing and implementing an ADR project is to gain a greater understanding of how a business currently uses energy during peak times and days. This process involves working with the ADR team to audit a business’s commercial energy usage, including how a business consumes energy during peak demand, the size of a business’s facility, and a business’s ability and willingness to curtail loads during demand events.
  2. Choose load reduction goals
    Before moving forward, a business owner and/or manager needs to lay out a set of load reduction goals they hope to realize by implementing an ADR project. The most important part of this process is determining how much energy consumption a business is willing and able to shift from critical peak demand times to times when overall system loads are lighter.
  3. Select and enroll in an eligible DR program
    Based on a building audit and a business’s threshold for shifting energy during peak demand, a business owner and/or manager will work with the ADR team to enroll in an eligible DR program that is appropriate for the business and its operations.
  4. Apply for ADR incentives
    Once a DR program has been selected, a business owner and/or manager will fill out application. Upon positive review of the form, PG&E will reserve the applicable incentives for a business’s ADR project.
  5. Have project specifications reviewed by the PG&E ADR team
    Before moving forward with a project, the ADR team will review a project’s specifications, including any equipment that needs to be installed. This final approval process serves as a blueprint for all the measures that will need to be implemented for a program to be successful.
  6. Purchase and install the proper equipment
    By working with the ADR team and/or sales and service representatives, along with a qualified contractor, businesses will follow through with installing the proper equipment. The ADR team and the contractor can offer expert advice on purchasing and installing the proper equipment as befits each individual business.
  7. Have project equipment inspected and verified, and, get paid
    Once project equipment has been installed, the ADR team will inspect, test, and verify the response of the equipment during a simulated DR event. Upon confirmation, the project will be officially operational, and it is time to start reaping the rewards through receiving the first installment of the incentive payment.
  8. Participate in ongoing performance monitoring
    Ongoing performance monitoring is necessary to ensure that an ADR project is living up to its efforts to reduce energy usage during DR events. PG&E’s ADR team will work with a business owner and/or manager to provide performance feedback and tackle any technical difficulties.
  9. Evaluate project and receive final incentive payment
    At the end of the first full DR season (usually May 1 - October 31) following project installation, the ADR team will conduct an evaluation of the business’s DR event performance. The performance evaluation will determine the amount of the second incentive payment, which is based on the kilowatt-hour reductions that are achieved over the average of all DR events during the evaluation period. Once the performance evaluation has been completed, the second incentive payment will be issued.

For detailed information on the ADR program application process, please visit our Automated Demand Response Program Manual.

Automated Demand Response's temporary reduction in energy consumption in exchange for financial incentives allows for California businesses to achieve effective cost and energy savings without having to make significant long-term sacrifices or spend a lot of money on an upfront investment. To learn about additional cost-saving tips, check out PG&E's free eBook, "25 Money-Saving Tips for Businesses".