Company’s advanced thermostat systems make electric water heaters more flexible and responsive, creating a “virtual battery” that helps manage electricity demand and lower costs

Burlington, VT – December 16, 2020 – Water heaters powered by Central Electric Power Cooperative and its 20 member-cooperatives will get “smarter,” thanks to a new five-year agreement with Packetized Energy, whose thermostat systems add flexibility and responsiveness to electric water heaters. The devices will help balance Central’s system and deliver peak demand savings for its member-cooperatives. 

The agreement comes after Central’s tests of Packetized Energy’s Mello® smart thermostat devices that demonstrated significant improvements for connected water heaters. The system includes an integration with Packetized Energy’s Nimble® energy flexibility software platform. The result is lower demand during peaks. The system also supports several different electricity rate structures offered by participating cooperative utilities that allow consumer-members to share in the peak demand savings. Based on that success, Central is adding the Mello device to its load management offerings for its member-cooperatives. 

“We’ve been working with Packetized Energy since 2019 to make ‘smart’ electric devices on our system more accessible, flexible and easy to use for both our member-cooperatives and for consumer-members,” said Scott Hammond, members program manager at Central, a generation and transmission cooperative based in Columbia, South Carolina. 

“Based on the success of our pilot project and availability of almost real-time data from the devices, we decided to implement their innovative and cost-saving solution on a larger scale,” Hammond said.

“The electric grid of tomorrow will be digitalized and decentralized – and it’s being built today,” observed Jigar Shah, prominent clean energy entrepreneur, investor, and author. “As we move toward new and cleaner sources of electricity, the biggest impacts in sustainability will come from scaling distributed technologies that have already been proved, like the energy flexibility platform.”

Executives at Packetized Energy view the project expansion as a vote of confidence in its technology, a major step toward enhanced grid flexibility, and an opportunity for cooperatives to lower peak demand. By lowering peak demand, cooperatives provide savings for their members. 

“Partnerships like these underscore the value of Packetized Energy’s software platform and associated hardware in delivering demand flexibility and a high degree of DER visibility and control at significantly lower cost than grid-scale batteries,” said Paul Hines, CEO of Packetized Energy. “This, in turn, enables resilience, responsiveness, increased use of renewables, and cost savings.”

Central will deploy and evaluate Packetized Energy’s Mello technology for possible expanded use of energy flexibility solutions. The goal will be to reduce costs and better balance supply and demand in real-time grid conditions by using smart thermostats, EV chargers and batteries. When successful, these technologies will add resilience and responsiveness, deliver peak demand reduction for Central’s member-cooperatives, reduce the need for added grid infrastructure, and generate new revenue streams. 

About Central Electric Power Cooperative

Central is a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. It is owned by the 20 member-cooperatives of South Carolina, which provide power to approximately one-third of South Carolina’s population across all 46 counties in the state. Central owns almost 800 miles of transmission lines to tie its member-cooperatives into the bulk power systems of Duke Energy Carolinas and Santee Cooper. Central’s member-cooperatives own over 70,000 miles of distribution lines to provide power to over 820,000 meters.

About Packetized Energy

Packetized Energy makes electricity flexible with software systems and smart devices for the electric power industry, enabling distributed energy to be clean, affordable, and easy to use. Packetized Energy provides utilities in the U.S. and Canada with energy flexibility software and IoT solutions and is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. For more information, visit www.packetizedenergy.com.

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