Strong SME appetite for DSR, but sector ignored by suppliers and aggregators


Small and medium sized firms (SMEs) have significant appetite to sell flexible power consumption to help balance the grid. But they are largely being ignored by energy suppliers and demand-side response (DSR) aggregators.

Surveyed for The Energyst’s 2017 Demand-Side Response report, around seven in ten (68%) of firms with up to 249 employees said they would be interested in providing DSR if it did not affect business operations1.

Of 165 survey responses to date, 107 do not provide DSR. Of those not providing DSR, the majority (70 respondents) are classified as SMEs. The vast majority of those respondents operate in the industrial and commercial (I&C) sector and 96% spend less than £1m annually on energy. Some 82% said their annual power consumption was less than 1GWh per annum, with 69% stating that their peak consumption was less than 100kW2.

Of the SMEs not providing DSR, a third of them have some form of onsite generation, mostly solar and/or diesel back-up3.

Yet two thirds (66%) of SMEs not providing DSR said they had been contacted neither by suppliers nor aggregators4. Of the remainder, 28% said they had been contacted by an aggregator regarding DSR potential, 9% by a supplier.

While cost of sales and available resources may be one reason aggregators and suppliers appear to be ignoring the bulk of the SME market – given the work required to aggregate small loads – that statistic could be significant. Lack of understanding and awareness around possible market opportunities was cited by 43% of SMEs for not engaging in DSR. The second highest cited factor was that returns are not sufficient to make the effort (35%).

Concern around disruption and impact on business performance was only cited as a key factor by 11%. Lack of trust in ceding control of kit to third parties was only cited by 2%1.

The full survey findings will be published at the DSR Event on 7 September in London. The conference is designed to give businesses and public sector organisations an understanding of how to engage in DSR, how to unlock value, and where the market is heading. It’s free for qualifying end users in the I&C and public sector. Request a ticket here.

The survey remains open until end of July. Please help us create a robust DSR snapshot. Take the 5-7 minute survey here. Participants can skip questions that are not relevant to them and all respondents will receive a free copy of the report on day of publication.

1. Not all respondents answered every question. This statistic based on 53 answers to date. 2. Based on 54 answers. 3. Based on 55 answers. 4. Based on 53 answers. 5. Based on 44 answers.

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