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Since its inception, the Office of Electricity (OE) has been committed to modernizing the nation's electricity delivery infrastructure to assure consumers a robust, reliable electric power system that meets their increasing demand for energy. OE's mission includes assisting states and regions in developing policies that decrease demand on existing energy infrastructure. Appropriate cost-effective demand response programs can be one part of achieving that goal. OE has been at the forefront of assisting states and regions to develop guidelines for demand response programs.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is quite active on demand response, such as its March 2011 market-based demand response compensation rule for centrally organized electricity markets, as well as its series of demand response assessment reports.

In July 2011, FERC and DOE jointly submitted to Congress a required “Implementation Proposal for The National Action Plan on Demand Response.”  The Implementation Proposal was for FERC’s June 2010 National Action Plan for Demand Response. Part of the July 2011 Implementation Proposal called for a “National Forum” on demand response to be conducted by DOE and FERC. 

As noted in the July 2011 FERC-DOE Implementation Proposal, DOE provided a large boost to demand response through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $4 billion of federal funds from DOE in the Smart Grid Investment Grant and Smart Grid Demonstration programs. Aspects of the retail side of smart grid can better enable many aspects of demand response, though smart grid is not required to implement demand response programs. Many of the Recovery Act projects involved deployment of enabling technologies and customer information/feedback systems to facilitate demand response. These included both information and control technologies such as in-home displays and programmable and communicating thermostats with corresponding demand response programs. A number of consumer behavior studies were performed, using the installed equipment in order to examine factors that influence the participation of consumers in dynamic pricing programs, as well as the influence of these programs and enabling technologies on customer response.

The FERC-NARUC Collaborative on Smart Response is a forum for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and NARUC leaders to discuss forward-looking issues concerning smart grid and demand response. The collaborative particularly focuses on issues which require attention from both state and federal regulators, but also serves to inform on trends and new ideas. The collaborative meets three times each year in conjunction with major NARUC meetings. OE provides technical assistance for the collaborative. Another key activity is the ongoing support of regional demand response efforts.