In Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E; San Francisco, California, U.S.) first emergency power-reduction event of summer 2008, Energy Curtailment Specialists Inc. (ECS; Buffalo, New York, U.S.) successfully performed 100% of its contracted load for summer 2008 participation.

ECS participants received a day-ahead notification of the event, which took place in mid-August, and responded by reducing electricity usage such as shutting off lights, shifting production and precooling air conditioning. The participants were asked to shut down their electricity usage for a two-hour period in order to relieve stress from the grid. In turn, they were paid based on their electricity reduction, which was measured against a baseline over the 10 days prior to the event. ECS's customers performed successfully, allowing ECS to fulfill its contractual commitment with PG&E for the month of August.

"ECS has proven itself in PG&E, and we are pleased with how successful we have been not only in enrolling hundreds of companies in the program, but ensuring that those customers actually perform when called upon," said Stephen Lynch, principal and co-founder of ECS.

PowerPay! California — the brand name of ECS's program — is good for everyone involved: the participating business that earns significant money; the utility, which has a more stable grid to supply load to its customers; and the community for helping to avoid blackouts, reducing energy costs and enjoying a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

"Demand response sometimes gets a bad name in terms of its reliability, but this successful performance demonstrates just how reliable demand-response resources can be given the proper program design and program framework," Lynch said. "Demand response should be treated on par with generation and supply resources."