Wade Brown is the owner and operator of Kawerau New World.
Wade heard about the Demand Response Programme and realised his store could probably be part of the programme.
“I completed the Request for Proposal forms during a Registration Cycle”, Mr Brown said. “It wasn’t complicated but it did require me to have knowledge about my peak demand, average power use, and how kilowatt hours (kWh) fit into the picture.”
“After the Registration Cycle finished, Transpower were in touch to let me know my business had made the cut.”
Mobile App makes it easy
Kawerau New World was part of the programme from late 2014, and was able to take advantage of Transpower’s Demand Response App to participate when there is a call for demand response.
“When I get an email announcing a call for demand response, I open the Demand Response App on my iPhone and check out the details of the event. It’s really easy – I just put in the amount I’m willing to switch on my standby generator for, and if I get accepted to participate then the App gets notifications. Through the App I log the event in my Outlook calendar with a reminder to switch the generator on.”
“When the event concludes, we turn the generator off and the mains power comes back on. Afterward, I get a notification on my phone that the event has ended, and then an invoice comes through for the agreed payment at the end of the month. You can follow it all and look at the past events, power amounts, and prices on the App.”
Greater confidence in back-up supply
Mr Brown said that it’s all good news for his business when it comes to demand response.
“To be honest, demand response hasn’t affected my business at all, the doors are still open and the lights are still on. During an event, customers at the supermarket wouldn’t be able to tell that anything was happening.”
“This programme has meant that I understand what my electricity usage is and that I have confidence that the generator is going to keep the store ticking over in the event we lose power supply.”
“We’re also being paid, and that’s great. As a business owner, driving down costs without reducing service or quality is a constant challenge. As part of my building warrant of fitness and disaster recovery planning, as an internal process in the store we are required to run the generator once a month. To me it was a ‘no brainer’ – if they’ve got to be on anyway, why not be a part of the demand response scheme and be paid for running the generators?”
Mr Brown recognises that understanding energy usage isn’t straightforward for everyone.
“My advice to anyone thinking about participating in the programmes is to make sure you’ve done your calculations correctly, and that you understand how much power you use, what your peak demand is, and how much you’re paying for your power. Understanding those numbers is critical so that you can set a price that works for you and your business.”
Quintin Tahau, Demand Response Manager for Transpower New Zealand, said: "Kawerau New World have been an avid participant in our programme, really being able to spot an opportunity and leverage it to make that business more energy efficient. We strongly encourage them to continue to participate when we call for demand response from the North Island.”