Electric Demand Response: Policies in the West

September, 2022

The Western Interstate Energy Board approved a report that explored electricity demand response policies throughout the Western states. State policymakers from around the West are trying to learn from each other on how to increase the effectiveness of demand participation to help with the clean energy transition. Policies that address demand response programs are scattered throughout states’ statutes, regulatory proceedings, and utility tariffs. Therefore, for this report, WIEB surveyed western states to identify the existing policy approaches that encourage and regulate demand response. This work seeks to help define the characteristics of successful demand response programs based on lessons learned from states that implement successful programs that support clean energy policy in the West.

Western states have a history of coming together to promote energy policy developed cooperatively to improve the efficiency and reliability of the western electric system. Demand response programs are not new tools to achieve utility operational objectives or energy policy, but approaches to promote demand response vary significantly. Some states may take a more hands-on approach, whereas others may leave more up to the discretion of the local utility. Many states in the West have set aggressive clean energy and carbon reduction goals, and policymakers recognize that more regulatory tools are needed to help achieve the policy objectives.