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In recent weeks, I have introduced you to the CLASS framework, designed to help you with your demand response journey. Through a series of posts, I explained that the first step is to obtain ‘clarity’.

The next step in the CLASS framework is ‘leadership’. As with the first step, there is a series of activities I will share in the coming weeks that bring together this step in the framework. The first activity is to appoint your leader.  From experience, your head of demand response must possess four traits above all else. These are:


Demand response has many non-believers. Your head of demand response must not be one of them. The head of demand response will be up against many people that will try to demonstrate why demand response will not work.

There are many reasons people oppose demand response. A person may not be able to see how demand response supports their personal or organizational goals. A person may believe demand response may have an adverse impact on their future position within an organisation. Or, a person may simply not believe that people will be willing to change behaviour. Your head of demand response can only stay the course if they believe demand response works and is right for the organization.


Your program will take many knocks. Initial pilots will not go as planned. Expected results from demand response events may be lower than anticipated. Costs may be higher than projected. Complaints may come from the community or industry that you had not anticipated. You must absorb these set-backs, learn from them, course correct and keep moving forward.


Demand response requires us, as utility professionals, to think differently about human behaviour, operating models, system design, and so on. We need to accept we may get a lot wrong. Sticking to your guns just to prove your original view is a recipe for disaster.


Your cost per kW must be lower than other ways of generating those kW’s. If not your organisation will not look to demand response to help solve its problems. This means demand response is never ‘finished’. You must be hungry to constantly look at what the data is telling you and optimise every part of your program


There are obviously many other traits that a typical leader needs, but specifically when starting out in demand response these are the four that, when missing will result in your program being derailed when you hit road-bumps, and you will hit road-bumps.

Does your head of demand response possess these traits?

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