Examining Uncertainty in Demand Response Baseline Models and Variability in Automated Response to Dynamic Pricing
Controlling electric loads to deliver power system services presents a number of interesting challenges. For example, changes in electricity consumption of Commercial and Industrial (C&I) facilities are usually estimated using counterfactual baseline models, and model uncertainty makes it difficult to precisely quantify control responsiveness. Moreover, C&I facilities exhibit variability in their response. This paper seeks to understand baseline model error and demand-side variability in responses to open-loop control signals (i.e. dynamic prices). Using a regression-based baseline model, we define several Demand Response (DR) parameters, which characterize changes in electricity use on DR days, and then present a method for computing the error associated with DR parameter estimates. In addition to analyzing the magnitude of DR parameter error, we develop a metric to determine how much observed DR parameter variability is attributable to real event-to-event variability versus simply baseline model error. Using data from 38 C&I facilities that participated in an automated DR program in California, we find that DR parameter errors are large. For most facilities, observed DR parameter variability is likely explained by baseline model error, not real DR parameter variability; however, a number of facilities exhibit real DR parameter variability. In some cases, the aggregate population of C&I facilities exhibits real DR parameter variability, resulting in implications for the system operator with respect to both resource planning and system stability.