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Driving Meaningful EV Charging Behavior

Generac Grid Services takes a three-pronged approach to electric vehicle (EV) program design. Our goal is to serve our customers at their unique points in their respective transportation electrification journeys and evolve the solution as their needs – and their end customers’ needs – change. The last blog in this three-part mini-series discussed the value of monitoring new load from EVs and how utilities can benefit from understanding when, where and how much EV charging takes place. This blog will explore how to turn the batteries into a grid resource through behavioral programs and synthetic TOU rates.

The underpinning logic of behavioral load management is using financial incentives, social norming or providing information to encourage beneficial charging habits. Behavioral programs differ from active load control or automated smart charging programs where a DRMS, DERMS or equivalent remotely halts charging directly through the vehicle or a charging station.

Carrots Rather than Sticks

Financial incentives are a strategic tool in manual demand management programs, and several flavors are available to encourage EV drivers to practice grid-friendly charging behavior.

  • Ongoing Bill Credits: A flat rate, cadenced incentive for not charging during on-peak periods; these often come as a monthly reduction on a customer’s bill. For example, if a utility sets a peak period from 5-9 PM, participants may receive a monthly bill discount for avoiding vehicle charges between those hours.
  • Synthetic TOU: A closely related incentive structure is a variable incentive that pays customers a $/kWh rate for charging during off-peak periods. An example is a scenario where the utility pays a customer $0.10/kWh for every kWh they charge during a designated charging window.
  • Off-bill Incentives: Paying an off-bill incentive (such as a PayPal disbursement or gift card) is a flexible method for encouraging customers to charge their EV when it is most beneficial for the grid. The flexibility of an off-bill incentive allows the utility to adjust the parameters of managed charging programs as they gain more information about how EV charging affects the distribution grid.

Learning from the Home Energy Report

Beyond financial incentives, social norming is a well-known strategy frequently employed in energy efficiency programs to encourage customers to act more like their most efficient neighbors. This strategy can be paired with financial incentives but has a couple of distinct components:

  • Customer Education: Charging guidance that shows customers how much money they have saved in fuel and maintenance costs compared relative to if they were operating an internal combustion engine vehicle helps reinforce good behavior, as does showing customers how much they have saved/gained by charging during off-peak hours compared to on-peak hours.
  • Neighbor Comparisons: A social norming strategy might also involve a neighbor comparison, whereby an individual’s charging behavior is compared to a neighbor sample set to align users on charging best practices.


Another benefit of behavioral load management programs is that they are more inclusive than automated programs. Behavioral load management does not require control through direct-to-vehicle telematics or a smart charger. This makes the programs more inclusive, as not all drivers have smart chargers and not all vehicles have onboard telematics. Sometimes those EVs that do have telematics technical capabilities require the customer to pay a monthly subscription fee, thus reducing the population of drivers qualified for automatic smart charging.

Keeping Rates Flexible

Behavioral programs and synthetic rates are distinct from true TOU, which can be prescriptive and broadly sweeping. As utilities look to develop longer-term EV strategies, synthetic programs can provide the planning tools, data and flexibility to build programs that engage drivers while providing meaningful capacity or storage during periods of high renewable generation.

Generac Grid Services is proud to partner with utilities to design programs that drive long-lasting behavior change in support of the grid. From customer acquisition through our Smart EV Rewards portal through measurement, verification and incentives disbursement, we work to get our customers and their customers the information they need to make educated, meaningful EV charging decisions. Moreover, we view EVs as just one distributed energy resource in our customers’ toolbox to optimize power flows on the distribution grid, thus supporting EV programs alone or alongside the engagement of other asset types.

 Jessie Peters

Senior Manager, Marketing


Finding Purpose: Coaching for Concerto

I recently finished reading “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Simon explains the golden circle in which you picture a bullseye with the inner circle being your ‘why.’ The middle ring is your ‘how,’ and the outer ring is your ‘what.’ You must start from within your ‘why’ and be able to communicate what you believe. It inspires people to act. My favorite quote (there were quite a few) was when he stated, “people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.” Of course, this is more related to business, but it also applies to our personal lives. When we are motivated by our purpose, success happens.

I thought I had found my why when I became a software engineer. My daily work at Enbala, now Generac Grid Services, consisted of leveraging Elixir and other software development tools to advance a platform capable of keeping the grid stable for communities around the globe. My love for creating something out of code fueled me each day until, one day, it didn’t. I felt lost. My hard work wanting to become a successful software engineer went to waste. Then, my coworkers called to attention something I did not recognize as valuable: I love helping people.

The Role of Scrum Master

After numerous conversations with my colleagues, I became Generac Grid Services’ Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, I am responsible for clearing obstacles the engineering team may face and establishing an environment where they can be effective. I have implemented many software development ceremonies to help increase both the morale and efficiency of our Concerto™ development teams. One is called Sprint Retrospective. This meeting allows a safe space for team members to discuss how the previous sprint went for them. It is a chance to call out what has worked well and to ensure we continue enhancing that process. Conversely, Retrospective is also an opportunity to voice any concerns that may jeopardize our overall goal to deliver quality Concerto releases on time.

Additionally, we’ve implemented an Engineering Iteration Demo. Our engineering team uses this time to demonstrate the Concerto features they have built during a given iteration. The Iteration is an opportunity for internal stakeholders, such as our Customer Success Team and Product Team, to ask follow-up questions to help us put our best foot forward in serving the needs and wants of our customers.

A Career in Software Development Coaching

This career is not only for me but also for my purpose. My job is to coach and guide people to reach their full potential, thus helping us deliver a quality platform to our current and prospective customers. There are still plenty of things for

me to learn regarding guiding our engineering team to deliver timely and scalable distributed energy resource platform features. Still, I am inspired to do more research to become a better coach, facilitator, coworker, and friend.

I found this career by mistake, but everything that has happened in my life has its purpose. Finding your purpose is a challenging task. Sometimes you don’t necessarily look for it; it just magically appears before you. I recommend grabbing the opportunity once you see it.

Patrick Isaac
Scrum Master, Generac Grid Services

On the Plane Again – April 2023


As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This blog continues the series I kicked off at the start of 2023. In it, I intend to anonymously share what’s on the minds of peers in this industry actively working to modernize the grid. So, whether you’re a utility representative, industry vendor, or other grid enthusiast – reach out if any of this speaks to you!

Keeping April Weird

I started the month by attending Zpyme’s Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin. The conference’s 10th Anniversary theme was “Keep Earth Weird,” a play on Austin’s longtime use of “Keep Austin Weird.” As a part of the conference, I had a chance to partner with my friend, Santosh Veda of Dominion Energy. We hosted a workshop entitled “So, You Think You Want a DERMS?” It was an excellent session to help discuss what distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) are and are not. There seems to be a great deal of confusion around this topic created by vendors chomping at the bit to state they have a DERMS, regardless of their technology’s use cases today. We worked to set the record straight while discussing the challenges and needs for implementation.

I got to hear some great discussions, especially in the area of EVs, capacity needs, and resiliency. These all seem to be a common theme and interwoven: more EVs lead to the need for more capacity to maintain a resilient grid.


With any sales organization, I feel having a regular operating rhythm with your key accounts is essential. We call these Quarterly Business Reviews, or QBRs, and I had a chance to join one mid-way through the month. The QBR is a chance to share our new activities and learn about a given customer’s needs: what keeps them awake at night and what opportunities may be on the horizon. With any big meeting such as this, it’s important to plan ahead and debrief afterward.

On this particular QBR, we spent time discussing security, integrations and overall project status. We walked away knowing what Generac Grid Services needs to get done and in what new areas we can provide value.

Speaking at the State Capitol

Toward the month’s end, a friend in the utility space invited me to speak at the Texas State Capitol. I addressed the Texas Senate’s Committee on Business and Commerce on a bill that would open opportunities to use grid-edge resources for emergency purposes. If grid operators’ mission is to keep the lights on for everyone, then we must give them access to the resources already in place to do so. It was my first time getting involved in the legislative process. I rather enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again someday.

Closing the Month with Monetization… Again

Like last month, I spent time on the road visiting our industrial generator (>250 kW) dealers to discuss the monetization of Generac assets. What does “monetization” mean? Simply put, it’s a way the end customer can make money from granting access to their asset for use in utility programs or wholesale markets; in some cases, an asset owner can do both, which provides a chance to stack values and increase return on investment. To enable monetization, you need hardware, connectivity and a platform to optimize the available opportunities.

May will be a fantastic month! I have a chance to visit with friends at the PLMA Spring Conference. I also have trips planned for the Northeast, where I will introduce a customer from down under to some of our customers here in the U.S. It’s a chance to share lessons and ideas. So, until next month, I will see you around the terminal!

Jonathan ‘J.T.’ Thompson
SVP, Sales, Generac Grid Services