BC Hydro Load Management Demonstration Projects

2017 – 2020

BC Hydro has been conducting a series of Load Management Demonstration projects on Vancouver Island; these involve the installation and testing of wireless communicating controls to adjust the energy usage patterns of devices such as hot water heaters, programmable thermostats, and electric vehicle charging stations. The goal of the projects is to test various aspects of direct load control implementation and communication methodologies, and to understand the effects of load management techniques on the electrical grid.

City Green works with BC Hydro and implementing contractors to support project development, recruiting demonstration project participants, selecting contractors to install devices, implementing demand response events, implementing project reporting, and providing customer support by assisting participants and contractors with program inquires throughout the course of the projects.

A current (2019-2020) Smart Water Heater Controller trial is testing the ease of installation, use, and effectiveness of Aquanta smart water heater controllers to help reduce and manage demand on the BC Hydro grid during peak times in the winter. A smart water heater controller is a junction box to an electric water heater’s power source. It turns the power to the water heater on and off when it is programmed to do so. It controls the temperature and timing of the water heater just like a programmable thermostat controls temperature and timing in a home heating system.

Load management demonstration projects are providing insights and data to inform how load demonstration technologies like smart water heater controllers could be scaled up to reduce the amount of infrastructure that needs to be built to meet the growing demand for electricity in the province. By helping manage load on the electrical grid, smart water heater controllers may help British Columbians save energy and money on electric bills.