The Western Load Research Association
Linda Ecker, Portland General Electric, hosted the Spring 1997 WLRA conference at the historic Benson Hotel in beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon. The accommodations, conference facilities, meals and dinner show Beau Jest were outstanding as were the presentations. More than ever before the focus of the conference was truly toward the future of load research in the rapidly changing utility industry.
Two excellent internet related presentations, "<Title><B>Load Researcher and HTML</B></Title>, by Brien Lemmings, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, and Load Research on the Web, by Madjid Zehani, City of Austin Electric Utility, provided a glimpse of the powerful future of load research. Brien included in his presentation the internet registration page for the Spring 1998 WLRA conference to be held in Oklahoma City.
Spirited discussions of the future value of load research in an open access industry resulted from both a roundtable, Integrating Market Research and Load Research moderated by Justine Dase, Nevada Power Company, and several presentations including What Is All This Talk About Templates, Sue E. McNicoll, Pacific Gas & Electric, Load Information in Open Power Markets, Roger L. Wright, RLW Analytics, and Through the Looking Glass: Retail Wheeling and Its Impact on Load Research, Michael W. Rufo, XENERGY.
A half day session focused on vendor-members under the banner of The Equipment and Communications Revolution, moderated by Ilene Obstfeld, EPRI/CEED and Chris Dent, Pacific Science & Technology. It included Metering More Than kW: An Overview of Non-Energy Parameters, Chris Dent, Pacific Science & Technology, The Future of Metering, AMR Systems and Strategies, Victor Sitton, ABB and Networks for Data Acquisition: Intelligent Systems, Tom Nicotre, Cellnet. This half day concluded with brief presentations by vendor-members of their products and services followed up by a vendor hosted social hour with hands on demonstrations of their products and services.
The agenda was rounded out by Effect of Time-of-Use Rates on Transformer Sizing, Ron Statt, Arizona Public Service, Conveying Energy Use Data to Broad Audiences, Rick Kunkle and Alan Mountjoy-Venning, WSU Cooperative Extension Energy Program, Load Research Needs of Federal Customers, Mike Warwick, Battelle Pacific NW Labs and two excellent DSM evaluations, Seattle's Industrial Case Study Evaluation - Results and Implications and Impact Evaluation of a Small Commercial Lighting Program, Dennis Pearson & Brian Coates, Seattle City Light, respectively, and Patrick Lilly, Regional Economic Research.
Justine Dase, Nevada Power, was elected as co-chair for 1997 through 1999 and Joe Taffe, Tacoma Public Utilities, was affirmed as co-chair through Spring 1998 to allow staggering of co-chair terms.
Mike Alexander from Pacific Gas & Electric hosted the Fall 1997 WLRA at the elegant Lafayette Park Hotel in Lafayette, California. The accommodations were great and the group tour of the Wente Vineyard in Livermore, followed by hors d'oeuvres, and a lovely buffet supper completed the California experience. The overwhelming theme of the Fall meeting was deregulation and how load research will play a critical role in providing solutions to many of the questions surrounding open access.
One full morning was devoted to learning about the deregulation experience in California through a panel discussion with several of the main players. Toby Tyler Pacific Gas & Electric gave an overview of deregulation from a utility perspective, Pradip Menta of the Lucky grocery store chain spoke of deregulation from a customer's perspective, Julie Blenden Green Mountain Energy Resources, spoke to the group on the Energy Service Providers (ESP) perspective, Tom Nicotre, CellNet, provided the data collection aspect, Peter Miller, California Independent Board for Energy Efficiency, spoke about the centralization of Demand-Side Management (DSM) on the state level in California and Ken Goeke, California Energy Commission, presented the regulators' perspective.
Other presentations in keeping with the deregulation theme were by Tom Noll, Idaho Power, Load Research in a Regulated Delivery Company, Sean Collins, ICF International, The Development of a Load Settlement Tool for Retail Pilots and Open Access, and John Powers, Energy Interactive, Mad Dogs and Englishmen highlighting unresolved issues regarding Meter Data Management Agents.
There were several presentations on collecting, developing, and using load research data including Joe Taffe, Tacoma Public Utilities, demonstrating Pricing Ancillary Power Products; Susan Romer, Utility Marketing Services, addressing the Use of Load Data & Load Research Tools for Large Account Billing and Enabling Technology Solution for Open Access in New England; Stuart McMenamin, Regional Economic Research, telling The Truth About Neural Networks; Dick Ely, ADM Associates, building the Power Marketer's and Aggregator's Tool Kit; Ingrid Rohmund, Regional Economic Research, outlining Profiling, Scheduling, and Opportunity Assessment: An Update on Issues and Methods (which wins, hands down, for the longest title); and Brian Cunningham, Quantum Consulting, foretelling Remote Meter Reading, Now and the Future.
On a more mathematical note Machelle Wilson, Pacific Gas & Electric, discussed the problems of trying to determine significant differences in end use estimates between sample years in, Statistical Comparisons of Regression-Based End-Use Estimates from Residential Surveys, and Michael Parti, Applied Econometrics, discussed that mathematics involved in using end-use models to estimate load profiles in, Estimating Conditional Demand Market Segment Load Profiles.
The Californians took a collective deep breath and buckled down toward open access and the WLRA sights were set on Oklahoma, San Diego, and Denver.