DemandQ News

Energy, Big Data, and Bungee Jumping

After you are securely strapped into a harness and walked to the edge of the platform, what is the last thing you want to hear before stepping out into free space:

“There is a greater than two sigma probability that the bungee cords won’t fail given the inputs of your weight, number of system utilizations, ambient conditions, and the mean time between failure of the elastomers used.”

In other words, you would have a 5% chance of plunging to your death. Simply saying that clearly and succinctly would clarify the risk of using large rubber bands to restrain your fall before you leap from the ledge. You could rationally decide about the sanity of your next move without taking out your calculator.

Burying the “lead” in an obfuscating (if technically correct) data analysis methodology provides a liability “cover” for the bungee jump service provider. While the exponential growth of data has no limits, our ability to effectively use that data does. Customers (who probably have a wealth of other things on their minds) will be potentially exposed to more risk than might be acceptable.

Now take the energy industry, where every report is rife with statistical overload. Nowhere more so than in the measurement and verification methods applied in determining energy efficiency reductions.

At DemandQ, our goal is to clear up this statistical “fog.” We have accumulated 40,000+ months of billing data. We interoperate with and manage peak demand and consumption for over 43 million square feet of commercial building space. We routinely gather tariff and billing information from 245 electric utilities across the US.  

In other words, we have already gathered and crunched the data.  

Some keen (obvious) insights: Every building is unique as regards the efficient use of electricity. Even properties that are built the same way from location to location will respond to ambient weather conditions in significantly different ways. The HVAC appliances installed at a site will display a variable range of performance, especially as they age and are serviced.

So, we keep it simple for property owners, energy experts, facility managers, and sustainability professionals. Based on the data we have assembled over the past 9 years, we can predict within a reasonable range what we can achieve in net savings for our customers.

We model your properties, inputting factors like size and location, average ambient conditions, utility tariffs, usage (retail, office, light or heavy industrial) and the percentage of operating cost represented by the mechanical systems cycling at your site.

Then, we propose a simple business proposition: How many devices will we need to manage to reduce your costs, and how large/complex is your property? With those two inputs, we can tell you the flat cost of our service. It will be a small percentage of the savings that you get to keep.

No over-stated savings, no financial bungee cord metrics bouncing around, and no risk.

Bailing-out a Sinking Boat Doesn’t Plug the Leak

Buildings and wooden boats have a common problem: they leak.

Once a sailor gets sufficiently frustrated bailing-out instead of enjoying the breeze, they can pull the boat into drydock (before it sinks) and re-caulk the seams. Facility managers can upgrade windows & doors, increase insulation, and repair the obvious cracks and gaps. But what about the leaks you can’t see (even with an infra-red camera)?

Let’s look at a typical case: Your efficiency programs (LED lighting, e-Glass, higher SEER HVAC) are all doing their job, but your bill seems to stubbornly stay the same. While system upgrades and repairs will help lower the consumption (kWh) line item in your monthly Utility bill, the portion of that bill reflecting your demand charges will be unaffected, especially during the increasingly hot summer months.  

That’s because Utilities are shifting the cost burden of delivering the power you need to address peak demand. If you aren’t mitigating the causes of peak demand, you are subject to the “hidden” financial leakage these charges impose on your cost of operations. And no amount of caulking will plug the outflow of your capital.

DemandQ’s Intelligent Demand Optimization automatically assesses and addresses the cause of peak demand charges. Interoperating with your building automation system (along with your solar and battery installation), our cloud service continuously adapts the access profile of power-hungry devices like HVAC appliances and the vehicles parked at your EV charging stations, seamlessly parsing-out power. Every device gets what it needs to do its job, but all that potential leakage of your hard-earned dollars is prevented.

It’s like having an invisible hand constantly bailing you out of the high cost of energy. Enjoy the breeze.

Press Release: DemandQ Extends Intelligent Demand Optimization to Commercial EV Charging

New Service Could Reduce Annual Electricity Demand Costs for Commercial EV Fleet Operators by $3B

Watertown, MA - November 12, 2019 - Today, DemandQ, the market leader in Intelligent Demand Optimization, announces the release of a new Software as a Service that dynamically and effectively reduces the operational costs of municipal and commercial Electric Vehicle (EV) transportation and fleet trucking.  

Enterprises across every commercial and industrial sector are seeking to “decarbonize” their supply chains, with transport electrification taking a central role in their digital transformation initiatives. EV transportation and trucking programs are rapidly gaining traction globally. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that more than 195,000 commercial and workplace charge stations will be in operation across the 100 top metropolitan areas by 2025.  

Just one Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) station with eight 350 kW “ports” could create a demand peak of up to 2.8 MW when fully operational. At that scale, Level 2 and DCFC charging would cost commercial and municipal customers an additional $15 billion dollars per year in peak demand charges.

“While EVs are environmentally friendly, a single commercial EV charging station consumes more energy than a typical big box retail location,” said Gary Morsches, CEO of DemandQ. “Our new service reduces power demand during the charging cycle by up to 20 percent, mitigating one of the principal economic barriers limiting the adoption of EVs as the primary means for moving people, goods and services.”

Deployed in more than 43 million square feet of commercial space across 46 states, DemandQ’s patented Intelligent Demand Optimization integrates seamlessly across a wide array of energy management systems. Now, through adoption of the international Open Charge Alliance’s OCPP standard, DemandQ’s fully integrated and scalable demand optimization software merges building and EV loads into an easily managed solution

About DemandQ

DemandQ was founded in 2011 and is located in Watertown, MA. DemandQ's patented Intelligent Demand Optimization service sustainably reduces utility charges for commercial customers by 10 percent. Available for immediate deployment, DemandQ’s SOC2 compliant software seamlessly integrates with building automation systems, cycling equipment, EV charging stations and other renewable technologies to holistically achieve integrated energy management. For more information, visit www.demandq.com or email at info@demandq.com.

This release on Global News Wire

Green Isn’t Enough - An Important Insight Into the Economics of Utility Companies & Why Demand Charges Won’t Go Away/Part I

Gary Morsches, Demand Charge Expert, Thought Leader, and CEO of DemandQ, sat down with Arne Hessenbruch, Lecturer at MIT on innovation, to discuss the economics of buying electricity, how to reduce peak demand charges, and the need to act for large electricity consumers for the sake of all commercial & industrial users.Gary, thank you for sitting down with me today. You are being seen as a thought leader in reducing electricity demand charges. Can you tell us a little more about what a demand charge actually is, and why utility companies need to charge it in order to stay competitive?

Arne Hessenbruch: Gary, thank you for sitting down with me today. You are being seen as a thought leader in reducing electricity demand charges. Can you tell us a little more about what a demand charge actually is, and why utility companies need to charge it in order to stay competitive?

Gary Morsches: If you look at your budget for your commercial account or industrial account, you pay for G, which is your consumption. It’s the little meter that turns, and you pay so much per kilowatt hour; the more you use, the more you pay. Everyone gets that. People have been working hard to become more energy efficient, to be greener, and to reduce the amount that meter spins. That’s all about combating the consumption part of the bill. But that’s not the whole bill.

Demand charges are irrespective of the amount you consume; rather they capture the maximum amount you use in any given period.

In fact there’s a newer charge that has come out in the last decade or so called Demand Charges. Demand charges are irrespective of the amount you consume; rather they capture the maximum amount you use in any given period. What happens is the utility has to have infrastructure and processes to meet your peak demand. Since Electric utilities are regulated monopolies within their defined service territory they have a fiduciary duty to supply their customers the amount of power they need at any given time. So consequently, they have to build their infrastructure to meet their territory’s maximum need — not just your maximum need — but everyone’s maximum need. If you think about it, that costs a lot of money. That costs a lot of infrastructure that’s only used very little of the time.

In the old days, they didn’t have to have a special charge for this. They captured all their revenue in fees and consumption — in their kilowatt hour charges. The utility model worked well for 100 years with increasing demand, and it allowed the electrification of the United States. There have been some bumps and bruises, but by and large the United States has been electrified. The problem for utilities today is that over the past decade electric demand has stagnated and even declined in some regions due to efficiency, sustainability, and DER’s — Distributed Energy Resources (localized behind the meter Solar and wind) that have threatened the utility revenue model. So in light of these macro fundamental shifts in the market, utilities have implemented Demand Charges as a supplemental revenue source. And if you think about it, demand charges are a logical way to charge customers for being able to meet their maximum usage needs.

Now electricity rates are relatively stable, and we have pretty good reliability in comparison to much of the world. However, that business model is under tremendous pressure right now. Why? If you think about it, the utilities’ cost to serve you are basically fixed costs. They have fixed infrastructure, lines, wires, substations — those are largely fixed costs. And the variable side is the amount of electricity that goes through. So you separate those two, and they charge you for the electricity that goes through. But this fixed cost is a separate cost.

People are consuming less electricity even though they are living better lives.

For the first hundred years, demand continually inclined.It followed GDP growth. As our country was prosperous and grew, so did demand. As a result, this fixed cost utility was collecting rates on a variable increasing volume, i.e. they kept capturing more volume, providing more revenue, and allowing them to grow and be profitable.

The last decade, we have seen three phenomena that occur that have taken demand and actually flattened or lowered it in many places. The first thing is our population is stagnating in some areas of the United States. It’s not growing universally like it once did.

The second thing is that energy efficiency has come into play. People are consuming less electricity even though they are living better more prosperous lives. With things like LED lights and more efficient refrigerators, folks are still getting services they want with less electricity usage.

Finally, the biggest game changer here is DER, distributed energy resources, like solar panels and wind turbines. These DERs are supplying power to end users and to facilities that no longer require the utility to deliver electricity. It’s basically being generated and consumed in house, on-site. All in all, the amount of volume that utilities are serving is going down. So they have a fixed cost component and declining volume. That doesn’t work for businesses, and that’s really squeezing utilities today.

EV Charging Stations Cause Large Demand Charges



So what are they going to do? They can raise rates — i.e. they can raise the rate of the G (the generation, or energy charge) — but that doesn’t make them competitive. It’s a deregulated side of the marketplace, and that doesn’t fly. So now they have a fixed cost component that captures a charge based on the maximum amount you use. Now your bill is made up of G, or consumption plus this demand side.

Now interestingly enough, if you think about what your electricity bill has done over the last 10 years, you’re going to say, yeah it’s gone up. And it has gone up. But if you take a look into the components of it, the largest part of your bill is consumption. Your consumption is basically the cost of generating electricity which in the old days meant converting fossil fuels into power — e.g. coal, gas — and now you have it interspersed with renewables and solar and nukes, etc. But by and large, what sets the price of electricity is that marginal use that generates that last megawatt hour needed to balance the system. Electricity is still hard and expensive to store. What utilities and grids do is they produce as much electricity as is consumed and that balanced across the grid.

So the marginal fuel that generally sets the clearing price on a grid is natural gas, and if you have have any sense of anything about markets, you’ll know that the shale revolution has drastically changed natural gas prices and even oil prices. In fact, in the last 10 years — particularly in the last 5 years — we’ve had very stable and low priced natural gas and oil. That’s been good in many ways and has resulted in historically low electricity prices. So in the last 10 years our commodity prices — the commodity cost of electricity or the G as previously discussed — have dropped 23%, which is good, and it’s stable, but the demand side, or the fixed price side has gone up 47%. That means your bill — despite the commodity price going down — has gone up 10% a year.

Arne Hessenbruch: So, you’re basically paying a sharp premium for demanding out of the ordinary consumption.


Gary Morsches: Well, yes and no. What happened was, with the increase and sustained growth in overall volumes, they could subsidize all this infrastructure buildup through that higher volume. With that volume increase gone, it has to stand on its own — there’s no subsidization anymore. Now that infrastructure buildout has to be funded on its own.

So consequently utilities are sitting there stuck, saying I’ve got to collect revenues, I’m not getting the volume I once had. I can’t raise the price of my volume because now I’m won’t be competitive with my neighbors — why would I pay 14 cents a kWh in Massachusetts to build a plant when I could go pay 8 down in Georgia? So regulators have to be very careful with the commodity price. It can’t get too out of whack with other prices across the country.

Utilities are sitting there stuck, saying I’ve got to collect revenues, I’m not getting the volume I once had.

The slack is made up on the demand side, which typically makes up 25–40% of your bill. It can be as low as 10% or as high as 60% depending on the utility and the rate structure. There are a zillion different ways utilities structure this stuff. If you look at your bill, it’s very convoluted, lots of lines. But one way or another, they’re adding charges to cover their fixed costs in order to secure enough infrastructure to meet your biggest needs.

Arne Hessenbruch: So, any measure that reduces that premium is a good way to reduce your bill?

Demand charges are increasing by about 6% a year, per FERC’s 2018 annual report.

Gary Morsches: I couldn’t say it any better myself. You know, in the old days it wasn’t as important as it is today. And demand charges are increasing by about 6% a year, per FERC’s 2018 annual report. More and more utilities in the past 10 years are bringing in demand side charges onto their bills. They typically vary from 25% to 40%. I’ve even seen cases where it’s over 50% of your bill. So that energy efficiency that’s been baked into our heads since we were little kids — shut the door, close the refrigerator — that’s all is well and good, and that helps, but it’s not good enough. You’ve got to mind your maximum usage.

Now the other thing that’s interesting is that many utilities are in a world of hurt right now. S&P Global Ratings Report (2019) stated that 27% of utilities are on negative or on credit watch because of this decrease in volume. They’re in a pinch right now. They’re not too worried about it yet, but they’re going to have to do some radical things. They’ve got to start increasing revenue in some ways. They can’t get it through increased volume.

S&P Global Ratings Report (2019) stated that 27% of utilities are on negative or on credit watch because of this decrease in volume

Arne Hessenbruch: And the only intelligent way would be to change demand charges because otherwise if they increase price per kWh, they basically price themselves out of the competition. Is that correct?

Gary Morsches: Yes — and the thing is that volume continues to decline. If you keep raising prices over a smaller volume, it doesn’t help you that much. So it’s all going to be on that demand side of the equation. You can’t put your head in the sand.

Part II, III, and IV coming soon.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye ...

Electric vehicles (EV’s) from Tesla, VW, Volvo, Mercedes, Ford, and GM will begin to dominate new vehicle sales in the US by 2025. In parallel, trucking fleets and municipal transportation systems are undergoing a battery driven digital transformation.

Our online purchases are already transferred from distribution centers directly to our homes. The electrification/digitization of the entire supply chain, from personalized/bespoke design to same day fulfillment, is rapidly becoming a reality.

At the same time, the movement of goods and services is de-carbonizing. By 2050, EV transportation fleets, from local delivery to long-distance hauling, will drive a 38% increase in electricity consumption over the current baseline. Peak demand generated by EV charging will have a significant impact on electric utility planning, grid operations, reliability assessments, and electricity markets(National Renewable Energy Laboratory.)

Electric utilities are experiencing a sea change in their operating requirements. The current status of stagnant power demand is shifting to a compound annual growth rates of 1.6%, leading to a sustained absolute growth rate of 80 terawatt-hours per year. This will force a massive upgrade in the grid’s supply-side infrastructure development.

What About the Grid?

To survive in this rapidly evolving environment, the grid must be capable of dynamically/flexibly supporting the highly variable loads required to meet the needs of the decarbonized supply chain. As currently constructed, the grid might not be capable of delivering the power necessary to support the simultaneous charging of multiple EVs, especially as DC Fast Charging stations proliferate.

The current thinking from utilities is to offer Time of Use (TOU) financial incentives to EV owners to change their power utilization behaviors, charging at times when the grid might be less “challenged,” as in plugging-in overnight.

These short-term utility industry solutions, focused on residential EV charging, will not address the rapidly expanding need to service commercial EV trucking and municipal transportation’s critical scheduling requirements. Peak power capability is therefore a primary factor limiting commercial EV adoption.

In response, DemandQ, the leader in cloud based intelligent demand optimization, has developed a new family of services that dynamically and continuously smooth the load induced by commercial rapid charging stations in concert with all the other cycling/variable loads operating in the workplace, like HVAC systems.

Unlike every other solution in the marketplace, DemandQ, having been designed from its inception as a cloud-based solution, delivers its services at grid scale, enabling the aggregation of multiple loads across an entire utility operating area.

The seamless integration of DemandQ’s services, enabled through an open API that is compliant with the Open Charge-point Alliance’s OCPP standard, and our long-standing support of the Tridium Niagara framework, will help usher in the coming EV transportation transformation.    

Goodbye to the Internal Combustion Engine. We all wish it a happy retirement.

Time Isn’t Always on Your Side

There are 86,400 seconds in every single day.

That means 86,400 opportunities to not lose money by “throwing in the towel” when it comes to effectively managing the random events that drive peak demand charges.

If you believe there is no way to personally monitor and manage the "noise" generated by all the cycling mechanical systems that circulate around you, and cause this "financial leakage" every moment of the day - you are right.

From the beginning of our enterprise, the DemandQ team has creatively applied mathematical theorems that cut through the costly “noise” generated invisibly by all the powered devices we rely on. We have fully embraced the Digital Transformation of the appliances and other devices that you normally take for granted. They may be "out of sight and out of mind," yet hard at work cooling and heating our offices and homes, pumping the water that we drink, and charging the batteries that move us from point to point and keep us connected.

We have built a software driven service that slices the time that each of these devices uses power into manageable units.

DemandQ's Intelligent Demand Optimization service takes full advantage of each of those 86,400 seconds, to make the work done by each connected device as efficient and effective as possible.

We have driven down operating costs and improved insight into what is going wrong under the covers, all without a ripple of impact on the core mission or your expectations of what these machines should do.

Take 30 of those 86,400 seconds to call us and learn how it can be done.

It will be time well worth the investment.

Why Is My Mascara Melting?

To all the cosmetics companies out there, I’m sure your products are stable across a broad range of temperature conditions. That said, cosmetics retailers might be overlooking a major sales factor: store temperature and airflow.

Cosmetics departments are among the most profitable areas in “big box” retail stores and mall locations across the US, typically delivering the highest transaction value per square foot.. They are also the most brightly lit and highly trafficked retail zones. Beyond having a selection of great products, the critical element contributing to the success of these departments is creating and maintaining a highly favorable customer experience.

Simply put, the mascara can’t melt.

DemandQ is focused on delivering quantifiable cost reductions on energy bills. But our first commandment is “thou shalt not ruin the customer experience.” At the cosmetics counter, that means that the volumetric supply of air is sufficient to clear the air of fragrance and keep customers cool – regardless of the bright lights and crowded counter space.

DemandQ has accumulated over 30,000 months of retail store experience demonstrating our effectiveness in reducing the cost of energy while maintaining a “cool” and customer-friendly environment. We deliver a 10% reduction in the overall cost of energy while staying within a degree Fahrenheit of your building’s target temperature.

In a DemandQ location, your merchandise and customers coexist at just the right temperature, assuring a great buying experience.

In short, DemandQ helps you save on energy, plus the mascara won’t melt.

eCurv is now DemandQ

We’re pleased to announce the launch of DemandQ, our new brand identity, with a new look, new name, and broader goals for the future of enterprise-wide automated operations. DemandQ is moving eCurv’s inventive technology forward with new leadership and a fresh vision for the digital transformation of energy management.

New Leadership

DemandQ’s CEO, Gary Morsches, brings 35 years of experience in the energy industry to the company’s already proven, cutting-edge energy optimization software, strengthening DemandQ’s robust technical team with his expertise in market deregulation, risk management, supply, asset optimization and technology.

New Brand Name and Design

With the launch of our new brand, DemandQ visually communicates the values and priorites our company has held from the start: dedication to providing solutions that are reliable and can be trusted on a large scale, commitment to innovation, expertise in developing technology for optimizing energy management and other business processes, and a drive to unlock value for the enterprise.

Fresh Vision for Future Development

While DemandQ remains committed to providing energy cost savings through intelligent demand optimization, the company’s new vision extends much farther. Our broader focus on digital transformation for energy management encompasses a wide set of goals. Through providing software-based intelligent demand optimization, we’re working to lower energy costs, but also invisibly optimize energy management without any disruption of operations, unlock higher operational margins, maximize sustainability, and ensure that distribution of electricity in every site is efficient, reliable, and secure.

All Customers Are From Missouri

Show me is the perfect starting-point before making any technology acquisition.

To prove the value of our Intelligent Demand Optimization software service for property owners, DemandQ offers a free pilot program. 

How it works 

  1. DemandQ is designed to work with a wide range of “open” building automation systems. A quick call will confirm compatibility. 
  2. Almost every building is unique. That same first call will allow us to gather key information about your property that will help us both qualify the opportunity.
  3. Our software is cloud based, so we need to communicate with your pilot site. We utilize the secure M2M (machine to machine) industrial version of the mobile cell network to connect to your building management system. We install a router/modem (at no cost to you) for the duration of the test. 
  4. We conduct a minimum 30-day pilot to prove the value of our solution, alternating periods when our service is enabled with periods when your site operates in business-as-usual mode.
  5. We publish a report that compares DemandQ enabled to “normal” operating standards.
  6. You are blown-away and sign-up. 

Your task punch-list prior to pilot conduct will include

  • Acquire electric Utility interval meter data (up to two prior years)
  • Verify HVAC assets (type/make/model)
  • Check the cell signal strength at the site (3 bars near the site controller?)
  • Update points list (provided by DemandQ) on the HVAC controller at the pilot site (or enable temporary administrative access credentials for DemandQ and we’ll do the work).

Meet Intelligent Demand Optimization

This article was first published by Energy CIO Insights. eCurv has since rebranded to DemandQ

DemandQ CEO Gary Morsches

Consider this: Electricity costs are on an upward trajectory, evolving into one of the key drivers of operational expense for commercial enterprises. In order to control these costs, companies must acquire the real-time data that will enable the digital transformation of energy management. Without that data, enterprises will be unable to effectively prioritize the operational changes required to maintain profitability in the face of rising expenses.


Enter DemandQ

DemandQ’s patented intelligent demand optimization technology dynamically reduces the incidence and severity of the peak demand events that lead to high energy utilization costs. In markets where demand charges are levied, a single peak demand event can drive over 40 percent of the total monthly electric bill. DemandQ’s intelligent demand optimization technology integrates seamlessly with each customers’ energy management system, continuously evaluating the status, needs, and capacity of all the connected devices at a site. DemandQ then formulates and delivers an optimal strategy for the operation of these systems by intelligently queueing up access to power and shifting a small pe rcentage of the “work” done by as little as a few seconds to reduce incidences of costly demand peaks to ensure that energy-consuming devices do not utilize power simultaneously.

The result: the automatic and dynamic optimization of electricity utilization by the appliances that are the root cause of high energy expenses. DemandQ’s technology minimizes peak demand and consumption charges without any negative impact on the controlled services.
“By micro-time shifting the daily operations of appliances like HVAC units, DemandQ reduces energy costs by on average 10 percent every month, without requiring any human intervention,” says Gary Morsches, CEO of DemandQ.

DemandQ technology accelerates the financial return on energy program investments. Its cloud-based services can be rapidly deployed across hundreds of sites within a few weeks with zero hardware installation required. This also contributes to sustainability targets and run more efficient operations.

By micro-time shifting when an appliance runs, DemandQ reduces demand and consumption costs by an average of 10 percent, without human intervention or disruption of operations.

Prior to deployment, DemandQ conducts a detailed analysis of each clients’ building operations and evaluates the status of the control systems installed across their entire real estate “footprint”. Frequently, a pilot project at a target site will be conducted to demonstrate the efficiency and economic value of DemandQ’s services.

Collaboration with DemandQ has proven to be a turning point for a major big box retail firm. By transforming how and when energy is utilized, this customer has significantly decreased its carbon footprint, reduced their energy expenditure by 10 percent, and driven over $1 million to the bottom line.

Peak demand charges have been increasing and will continue to be a key factor in rising energy costs. However, by deploying digital transformation platforms, like DemandQ’s Intelligent Demand Optimization system, business entities can usher in an era of efficient energy usage. DemandQ has emerged as the gateway to this era.