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Generac Grid Services Gives Back with GESTEM

May 19th was not a typical Friday, nor a typical workday, for a team of volunteers from the Generac Grid Services Denver office. Instead of hitting the office filled with meetings and Zoom calls, we headed to the Denver Auraria campus, which houses three colleges: University of Colorado Denver, Metro State and Community College of Denver.

After six months of planning, the Society of Women Engineers Rocky Mountain Section was ready to kick off its 20th annual GESTEM event (Girls Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) with 1,065 7th-grade girls in attendance. And yes, 1,000+ 7th-grade girls in one place is as fun and crazy as it sounds! Seriously, the atmosphere was electrifying!

Workshops & Water-Wheels

Our Generac Grid Services team joined over 380 volunteers delivering more than 37 hands-on workshops to introduce middle school girls to STEM. The workshop was focused on future opportunities in the space and aimed to expose the participants to the world of STEM-related industries and careers. Genera Grid Services hosted a hands-on workshop where the girls designed and tested a water-wheel electric generator, then held a competition to determine the most efficient wheel design to produce the most energy. And yes, the winning design took us all by surprise!

Paying it Forward

There is a special place in my heart for GESTEM as a women engineer. After doing numerous outreach events, I was appalled to hear that some young women didn’t know about engineering as a career until they entered college. I realized how lucky I was to have a father who was an engineer who believed I could do anything I set my mind to. He never pushed engineering on me; I just knew what he did and what engineers did. I was good in math and science, and voila! (Ok, not that easy. In fact, engineering school is pretty tough, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!).

Now, I’m on a mission to “pay it forward” and educate as many young girls as possible about engineering and careers in STEM. I started volunteering for GESTEM in 2011 as a workshop presenter and have been on the planning committee since 2015.

To sum it up, “in a world where the Kardashians are role models, it is even more crucial to expose young women to STEM and show them that smart girls are the hottest girls.” — Jules Gonzales-Hatfield, Generac Grid Services’ Senior Human Resources Manager

Special thanks to the Generac Grid Services’ GESTEM team: Sarah Dove, Garrett Hedberg, Austin Sharman, Melissa Franciscolo, Miguel Luna, Sarah Strube, Leah Driscoll, Jules Gonzales-Hatfield and Bryce Patterson, along with our virtual support team KJ Kezar and Mark Mosher.


Marisa Ceppi

Director of Partnerships

Automated Charging: Do We Have to Settle the EVSE vs. Telematics Debate?

The Generac Grid Services’ blog has taken a deep dive into our three-pronged approach to electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions in recent months. Recognizing a need to understand charging behavior, we showcased the value of Charging Insights programs. Next, we met the industry where many are by exploring the value of behavioral charging programs. Our last stop in this series is the automation of smart charging, and much like Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (odd reference for mid-summer, I know), we’re learning that the fate of these programs’ design is not yet sealed.

By Generac Grid Services’ definition, automated smart charging consists of controlling and optimizing EV charging to achieve peak load management and other grid objectives – automatically – via dispatch from a distributed energy resource (DER) orchestration platform like Concerto™.


In this blog, I’ll explore the two flavors of automated smart charging programs: those enabled by smart EV chargers (or EV supply equipment, EVSE) and those leveraging direct-to-vehicle telematics control. To cut to the chase, I’ll explore why Generac Grid Services sees a promising future for both program types.

Smart Charging Leveraging Level II EVSE

Generac Grid Services witnessed early adoption of automated smart charging programs for residential and other light-duty vehicle customers leveraging a smart EV charger and for good reason.

  • Slow charging from Level I EVSE may encourage customers to purchase a smart charger regardless of grid service offerings; rebate programs through utility marketplaces and other local programs reduce this system upgrade cost.
  • Additionally, some utilities may leverage those marketplaces to facilitate the purchase of devices pre-approved or pre-enrolled in rewards programs, simplifying the customer journey.
  • Participants can leverage their charger for simple demand response (or V1G) grid services applications regardless of their vehicle manufacturer.
  • Charging control occurs at a specified location; thus, no remote dispatch can occur if the vehicle is not plugged in at the “home” (or otherwise enrolled) EV charger. This control specificity boosts participants’ ability to manage their program involvement.

Telematics Offers a Direct Way

Alongside smart EVSE control, today’s proliferation of control via EV telematics communications cannot go unnoticed. Keeping a customer-first mindset, there are good reasons why these programs make sense:

  • Participants feel less friction by leveraging their EV’s smart app rather than an additional application or system to engage in a grid services program.
  • While some EV drivers may need to pay a subscription fee to unlock the telematics offerings with their compatible vehicles, rewards from grid services programs can help to reduce these costs.
  • Participation is not contingent on an approved Level II smart charger; thus, customers benefit from program participation while relying on the charger that best fits their needs.
  • Participation might occur across a given territory, letting customers participate in events when charging locally, but away from home.
  • Data available from telematics provides a holistic picture of the driving + charging experience. Where data-sharing agreements allow, participants and their utility can gain a strong understanding of charging habits relative to daily driving needs, potentially supporting broader rate and program portfolio design.

Which way will the industry go?…

…Or, put better, does the industry have to decide? I presume a preference could ultimately emerge as automated charging programs move past the pilot stage and engage more than adventurous early adopters. Still, I suspect we won’t know for a while. This understanding is precisely why Generac Grid Services is positioning itself to support energy companies and their partners looking to offer these programs in both ways.

Right now, individuals who are most likely to engage are those seeking out the functionality in their EV charger’s mobile application or opening an email push from their vehicle manufacturer. These early adopters will be the influencers that, pending a positive experience, will recruit their neighbors to join the program as EV adoption grows. Regardless of the automated smart charging program type, let’s ensure that today’s participants have the best experience possible. After all, in keeping with customer choice, having both EVSE and telematics program options available will maximize customer satisfaction and available capacity.


 Jessie Peters

Senior Manager, Marketing


Resiliency in the Eye of the Hurricane

June 1st marks the start of hurricane season, with NOAA forecasting between 12 and 17 named storms this year. From Texas around the Gulf, through Florida, and up toward Maine, coastal communities are preparing for major storms and the damage they may bring through November.

Unfortunately, residents outside those communities likely won’t get off scot-free either; the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) anticipates that two-thirds of the country is at risk of rolling blackouts over this summer season. Backup power will be essential for residents to remain resilient in the face of severe storms and other extreme weather over the coming months – and Generac Grid Services is on standby to support.

Energy Alliance Program

Generac’s Energy Alliance Program (EAP) is a partnership opportunity made available to munis, co-ops and IOUs that enables them to access premium product pricing and customer support, and that creates the opportunity to provide value-added services to end customers. Three flavors of the program allow utility partners to offer their customers an enhanced experience in the procurement and ownership of backup power and other distributed energy resource products.

Marketing Partners – gain access to educational materials to teach their members or customers about the resiliency and energy management benefits of Generac products
Equipment Partners – receive preferred pricing by purchasing equipment directly from Generac and gain access to the company’s network of almost 10,000 dealers
Lifecycle Partners – leverage all the abovementioned benefits while adding in installation and ongoing maintenance services to increase the value of the products for customers

Generac Grid Services then works with these partners to identify and operationalize monetization opportunities for backup power devices to provide support to the grid and reduce the total cost of ownership for purchasers. Devices always serve their primary purpose of resiliency first but have the opportunity to earn revenue for use outside of outage hours.

Grid Resiliency as a Service

With a growing Smart Grid Ready install base, utilities of all sizes can take advantage of the capacity often sitting idle within their territories and help their members and customers unlock monetization solutions. By engaging customers to agree to provide capacity when the grid is experiencing strain, energy companies will be able to create an additional defensive layer between normal operations and rolling blackouts. Generac Grid Services will work with grid operators to identify program parameters that will maintain participant satisfaction while providing real reliability value to the broader customer base.

The need to maintain customer satisfaction, however, remains paramount. Thus, utilities must identify the pros and cons of calling on distinct resource types in each situation. For example, grid operators should avoid drawing down backup sources like stored battery energy before a storm or another severe weather event. However, batteries make great daily dispatch options to reduce system peaks absent severe weather. On the flip side, standby generation engines’ noise can be somewhat disruptive. Therefore, rather than calling on generators for daily dispatch, these devices should be leveraged as emergency capacity sources.

It’s Not Too Late

Though hurricane season is officially in full swing, it’s not too late to bring resiliency solutions to your territory with Generac. The Energy Alliance Program sign-up is simple and free of charge, so you can start reaping the rewards for your members and customers immediately.

Additionally, unlike in previous seasons, Generac Grid Services has backup power products stocked and ready to ship to the communities that need them most. Purchase trends of Generac products tend to spike following an extreme weather event. Pairing Energy Alliance Program benefits with short time-to-installation will help customers proactively ensure that their households keep access to the electricity they need most during an outage.

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

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


Defining DERMS Once & For All

Originally posted on Zpryme

Just a few years ago, the distributed energy resource (DER) corner of the internet was rife with references to what a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) is and is not. Organizations like Smart Electric Power Alliance set out to define DERMS with initiatives that remain ongoing. Today, requests for information and conversations with our industry peers indicate that while confusion around defining DERMS still exists, the market is beginning to coalesce around a common understanding.

Based on market insights, Generac Grid Services will be using the following definition of DERMS:

Software used to manage the reliability of the distribution grid as new loads come online (i.e., EV charging, electric heat/water, battery storage) in conjunction with higher levels of connected solar, wind and storage also installed at the grid edge (front-of- or behind-the-meter) to better manage voltage and power flows of the delivery system. It can also reduce the impact of traditional fossil fuel baseload and peaking generation being taken offline.

The Grid Services team has carefully crafted this definition based on system elements that we feel vendors and our utility customers will all agree make up a DERMS.

Components of a DERMS – an Inexhaustive List

Breaking down a DERMS is not a simple exercise as it requires consideration for all potential use cases of the platform. Further, the DERMS is just one system in an interconnected enterprise of utility systems responsible for keeping the grid efficient and stable. At face value, four defining features of a DERMS include:

  • Provides operational insight and control of distribution connected behind-the-meter and front-of-meter assets in managing the grid, extending the distribution management system.
  • Has a distinct role from the ADMS, despite likely (but not mandatory) integration to the (A)DMS system, with use cases highly dependent on a given DER’s grid location and the parameters on the lines that supply it. Recognizes and has mechanisms to manage changing locations, for example, based on network switching actions or the mobile aspect of EVs.
  • Must support advanced distribution optimization use cases, including autonomous frequency correction, active power control against an automatic generation control (AGC) signal, real power (watts) and reactive power (VARs) control, and voltage management and optimization.
  • Primarily serves the distribution operations or power operations team and is implemented based on the requirements these groups provide. May engage and benefit demand-side management programming teams as stakeholders when not in use for reliability needs.

What a DERMS is Not

Much of the DERMS-related confusion that Generac Grid Services encounters today surrounds developing and deploying DER programs to serve peak load management use cases. These programs are primarily driven by pairing a DRMS with additional programmatic services to deliver an end-to-end solution. Non-DERMS elements of a DRMS-based device program include the following:

  • Primarily serves demand-side management organizations in regulated utilities, non-regulated utilities, and energy retailers.
  • Leverages almost exclusively demand response functionality without the abovementioned frequency, active power, reactive power, or voltage control.
  • Geared heavily toward engagement services and software to support program design, customer acquisition and enrollment, and other end customer communications.
  • Absence of integration with front-of-the meter or distribution system operator assets.

Clearing Up the Confusion

The above comparisons then beg the question of where the sources of confusion between DERMS, DRMS, or DRMS-based device programs lie. The answer may result from lingering, inconsistent industry terminology beyond just that of DERMS. Perhaps two additional definitions we use will help to solidify the positioning:

DRMS: Software that enables the reduction of load over a defined area, generally based on specific Program rules. Includes cradle-to-grave capabilities from signup, management, dispatch, measurement and verification, reward or incentive payment and unenrollment.


DRMS-based Program: DRMS software that includes the design of the program and may also include the marketing, sale, logistics and installation of hardware that is admissible into the Program, usually at a deep discount, free, or provided with installation services.

Generac Grid Services is confident that leveraging these definitions will help to clear up the confusion in the great DERMS vs. DRMS debate. We welcome collaborative discussions with our peer vendors in the industry to help us put forth a standard definition for our utility partners. And, based on these definitions we ask our utility colleagues, “of the available tools available in the market, which one best fits your current and future needs?”


Eric Young
VP, Industry Solutions, Generac Grid Services

On the Plane Again – March 2023

Preface — March 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!

This month was very short due to taking a break and dealing with a personal loss. Regardless, the time spent in the field was full of great discussions, as always. Here’s a look at what my team and I often found ourselves discussing during the month of March.

TechAdvantage: Good Times in the Music City

For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of attending NRECA’s TechAdvantage Expo in Nashville, TN. For those that don’t know, this is the largest event catering to the electric cooperative space; it was great to see some old faces and meet many new ones.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was the desire to grow the distributed energy resource (DER) install base. Many groups were keen to understand how they could provide access to Generac products to their members. More importantly, they wanted to recruit Generac units to be dispatchable as grid resources. Fortunately, between Generac’s PowerINSIGHTS and Energy Alliance Program, we can meet both of those needs. Sharing this understanding with booth visitors has led the team to keep busy with TechAdvantage follow-up calls and meetings.

The co-op space is growing its interest in having a platform that can solve for more than just capacity and load needs. This meant that another major topic for discussion was our Concerto™ control and optimization platform. Our team experienced many more requests for demonstrations of our virtual power plant (VPP) and distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) software relative to the 2022 show.

Finally, the third star of the booth was our integrated meter automated transfer switch (ATS) which combines the meter socket and automated transfer switch and can even include an intelligent load management solution. Typically, these products are separate units. However, combining them makes life easier for dealers to install our generation products and supports customers in efficiently sizing the generator to their home load.

A Time to Relax & A Time to Mourn

After Nashville, I had a chance to relax as my kids were on spring break. It was great to stay home and catch up, as life on the road is exhausting. The weather wasn’t great, but we made the most of it.

Soon after, I was met with a bit of tragedy. I learned of the passing of my father. This was hard as it had been some 11 years since we last spoke; pride and stubbornness can often get in the way. However, I recall his dedication to his work and his being a master storyteller. I will miss our talks about Alabama football and his ability to create very colorful metaphors.

Closing the Month with Monetization

Following my return to the office, I spent ample time meeting with groups to discuss the ability to monetize assets. I see more and more groups looking to promote Generac’s — and other vendors’ — products and then monetize those assets in wholesale markets and/or utility programs. This monetization is typically through a third-party ownership (TPO) model whereby a company owns the assets and leases them back to a residential or commercial customer.

Interested prospects include groups seeking to participate in the Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources (ADER) pilot in ERCOT. I have the honor of serving on the Task Force guiding the pilot, and we had our quarterly meeting this past month. The effort has made significant progress, but much is left to do.

Our role is simple in all the above opportunities – provide the hardware and software.

As I look ahead, April will be jam-packed with travel. Between hosting a DERMS Workshop in Austin and client trips on the east coast and Midwest, my calendar has very few days at home. Nevertheless, I look forward to the discussions as I work with groups to address today’s problems and future planning challenges. As always, until next month, see you around the terminal!

The Value of Monitoring When, Where and How Much EVs Charge


Generac Grid Services provides end-to-end electric vehicle (EV) load management solutions that aim to meet utilities and other energy companies wherever they are in their territory’s electrification journey. Industry discussions have identified three major programming categories: Charging Insights & Monitoring, Behavioral and Rate-aware Programs, and Automated Smart Charging via direct load control. This blog is the first in a three-part series that discusses the value that each of these programming categories brings to utilities. The first step is to know where, when and how much EVs are charging.

Fueling the EV Transition, Reliably

Electric demand from EVs is set to accelerate, driven by public policy funding for public charging through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program and fueled by electric vehicle tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act. For utilities, however, the rapid proliferation of EVs can cause blind spots in managing daily operations of the grid and planning for future grid needs. This challenge results because utilities typically do not require customers with electric vehicles and a Level II charger to undergo an interconnection review process.

One way to overcome this lack of visibility is to have customers opt-in to share their charging data directly with their utility. Collecting charging data from a connected car device that plugs into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port or directly through the vehicle’s telematics can provide invaluable insights. Fundamentally, these data allow utilities to better understand when, where, and how much customers charge EVs. Charging insights underpin analyses that enable utilities to make more educated operational decisions and inform equipment replacement cycles, catching potential issues before they lead to more significant problems.

Enhanced Program Design

Understanding when customers typically charge is the first step to helping a utility design the appropriate programmatic response. For example, if data monitoring reveals that charging activity is coincident with local or system peaks, time of use (TOU) rates or off-bill incentives to encourage off-peak charging may be two of the more effective corrective actions. From a program design perspective, data from the monitoring program can help define the proper times to set as “on peak” times to pay an incentive or set a rate.

Improved Situational Awareness

Understanding where customers are charging and how much they are charging increases awareness for system operators and planners. Unforeseen or unexpected load pockets may be explained with an EV charge monitoring program. If a system operator knows where EV load is concentrated, it may be possible to recommend alternative solutions to problems such as equipment failure due to thermal overloads with managed charging programs instead of traditional infrastructure upgrades. However, situational awareness of where the flexible EV load is and how much is available is a prerequisite to considering alternative approaches to infrastructure upgrades.

Increased Uptime & Reliability

From a forward-looking system planning perspective, combining EV load data with AMI data can help inform utility predictive equipment health programs, ultimately leading to increased uptime and reliability metrics. If EV load monitoring shows clustering of EVs in certain areas, increasing the size of transformers being replaced in that area with a larger size may be preferable. For example, changing the standard procedure to change out 25 kVA transformers with 50 kVA transformers in areas with EV concentrations will likely prevent issues before they crop up. Data monitoring today also sets the stage for a future when vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology becomes more pervasive, letting grid operators know how much flexible EV capacity there is in a given area.

Collecting data is the first step in identifying potential issues and laying the groundwork for subsequent interventions to influence charging patterns, such as developing a TOU rate or other incentive-based load management program. Vehicle monitoring and direct load control programs have similar goals in trying to prevent more minor issues before they become bigger challenges and lead to outages or other adverse outcomes.

Michael Goldman
Director, Business Development & Regulatory Affairs, Generac Grid Services

On the Plane Again – February 2023

February 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 last January. 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!

DISTRIBUTECH, How I’ve Missed You

I always look forward to DTECH. It’s like a big class reunion and catching up with longtime friends in the industry is always a plus. The week started with our kick-off happy hour event, where we had a great mix of friends, customers, and prospective customers. The team asked me to give a welcome speech, so I briefly thanked everyone for joining us amidst preparations for a busy week and talked about how we view them all like family; after all, many attendees have been around since our early days as Enbala.

During the week, the conversations focused on three areas:

  1. DERMS: What is it? Why does every vendor think they have one? Why is our platform different? The answers came down to focusing on differentiating demand response management systems (DRMS), virtual power plants (VPPs), and distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS). We talked through the use cases of each because, let’s be honest with ourselves, a DRMS cannot do what a DERMS can and neither can an advanced distribution management system (ADMS).
  2. Hardware & PowerINISIGHTS: As has been the case for the past several months, the PowerINSIGHTS tool was a hit. It supported many discussions around what Generac devices are in the ground today and how those DERs can support grid reliability. Where Generac Grid Services’ Concerto platform is not yet in the mix, we discussed how to use our Grid Services API to access Generac devices.
  3. Electric Vehicles: I will preface this with the statement that EVs were the buzz of DTECH. Between charging infrastructure and cars, it was certainly top of mind for many vendors and utilities. Our discussion centered around our new Generac Level II EV Charger for the residential space and our partnership with RER to bring telematics into the Generac Grid Services’ ecosystem. Every utility grid will uniquely experience EV load growth, and management solutions will require the ability to meet utilities at their distinct points in the managed charging journey.

A Chance to Keynote at Smart Energy Summit

It was great to be back on the stage at Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit, as it’s been roughly 12 years since I spoke at the event. My keynote focused on “the good, the bad, and the reality of program design.” During the “reality” part of the discussion, I even took a few shots at groups that aren’t “playing nice” in this space. If DER vendors are going to support maximizing customer choice in utility programs, they must play fair by providing control and optimization platforms with some level of access. Some great questions were posed, but the one that really stood out was, “What’s your favorite Western?” The answer is The Sons of Katy Elder with John Wayne.

A Trip to New Orleans

I must admit, in all the years I have been in this industry, this was my first trip to AESP’s Annual Conference. It was a good event with some familiar faces and plenty of new ones. There were plenty of questions about Generac, specifically about Generac’s vision and plan for the Grid Services business. My takeaway is that many groups within our industry still don’t know the value we can provide by coupling our hardware and software. Further, they’re unfamiliar with the various use cases Concerto™-enabled solutions offer to help stabilize the electric grid. Some would see this as a challenge, but I view it as an opportunity.

Some of the sidebar discussions I had at AESP centered around focusing our efforts on existing installations, both residential and commercial, to help in grid emergencies. There is real value there. We must provide a business model that works with the regulatory and programmatic confines. Stay tuned — more to come on this subject in future posts!

In all, it was a good month, but a quick one. Great discussions all around! March could be full of surprises as we end the first quarter. By the time this is posted, I’ll be at the TechAdvantage Expo event in Nashville. Visiting with representatives of the electric cooperative space always presents an opportunity to learn about what challenges they are facing. I plan to spend some downtime during the month as spring break draws near. Until next month, see you around the terminal!

DISTRIBUTECH 2023: All in on EV Load Management

The 2023 DISTRIBUTECH felt like a homecoming – back to San Diego, back to a regular schedule, back to large numbers of attendees – and a bourgeoning sense of opportunity among delegates and exhibitors as they revived conversations from years past.

Walking the floor, however, I was struck by one technology-related solution that seemed exceptionally pervasive this year. In fact, one of my colleagues counted more than 200 pieces of related hardware, alluding to just the tip of the solution spear.

No, it wasn’t the robotic dogs (though I did see many of those); it was all things EV load management. From charging technology to monitoring and control software, and from residential vehicles to public charging infrastructure and fleet solutions, the industry demonstrated an understanding that a large number of EVs will bring sweeping change to how (and where) this dynamic load affects the grid.

Level II EVSEs Remain a Part of the Solution

Like other exhibitors, Generac Grid Services came to the show prepared to debut our own EV solutions. Our team featured two chargers in the booth, one of which was the recently launched Generac EV charger and the other an Enel X Juicebox, one of several EVSEs in our Concerto-enabled partner ecosystem. In addition, our team had numerous conversations with attendees about the value of protecting and promoting customer choice by having the ability to connect to a wide variety of EV charging infrastructure.

Different Flavors of Managed Charging

Our conversations also reinforced that EV load management program roadmaps vary dramatically, so utilities are looking for various solutions as pilots and proof of concepts that can scale into full-size programs. Three program groups stand out:

  • Charging insights: in some areas, identifying EV owners remains challenging, with utilities incentivizing customers to opt-in to EV programs that can inform future programs, potential rate designs, and locate distribution “hot spots.”
  • Behavioral & rate aware: some utilities are already attributing strain on the grid to EV load growth and looking to operate behavioral and financial programs that encourage charging outside of peak periods. Moreover, if ample renewable generation exists, EVs can become a mechanism to absorb excess clean energy.
  • Automated smart charging: fully automated EV load management through telematics or level II charging stations remains a desire, given the technologies’ abilities to remove friction for the customer. Utilities and partners looking to design smart charging programs continue to voice the need to understand customers’ driving habits and to assure drivers they will never start (or end) their day without sufficient battery power.

Utility Customers Aren’t the Only Beneficiaries of Load Control Solutions

As utilities seek to walk the walk on electrification, fleets of light and medium-duty utility vehicles are also going electric. In a conversation with one utility, we learned of internal education and dialogues surrounding the use of connected car devices and telematics to understand staff driving routines and accompanying charging patterns for company vehicles. By undergoing their own fleet electrification, utilities may feel they will be better prepared to serve those customers looking to electrify fleets in their respective service territories.

2024 Predictions, Anyone?

The San Diego show solidified that the industry is turning its gaze to all things EV; both the impacts of this new load on distribution networks and the opportunities available to turn that load into a grid resource. At Generac Grid Services, we anticipate many more EV conversations to come will shape the solutions we bring forth in Orlando at DISTRIBUTECH 2024. And, for what it’s worth, I suspect we’ll continue to see all things distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS), augmented reality (AR), and intelligent distribution network hardware on next year’s show floor too.

On the Plane Again – January 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 role provides me with the opportunity to sit in on meetings with both current and prospective customers. In these conversations, I get a better sense of what’s really on the minds of peers in this industry and what it will take to truly modernize the grid. As a result, I’ve started this monthly blog to share summaries of what I have been hearing as I suspect there are commonalities across the industry, whether you’re a utility, vendor, consultant, or are otherwise following the grid transformation. The stories you read here are true; only names have been withheld to protect the innocent.

Team Culture Comes First

The year started quickly, with a trip to our Denver office for a team meeting to hone our focus for 2023. A quarterly meeting, I believe these team gatherings need to be less about pipeline reviews and more about how we answer to the market’s evolving needs. More importantly, the group also level sets on what tools and other support we need to be successful in our respective roles. After a couple of days of lively discussion, it became apparent that our team is excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead. However, the Grid Services take-home message remains the same: be who we are, solve grid problems, and be epic.

Value Hiding in Plain Sight

As January always turns over a new leaf, I spent time conversing with prospective clients about the year ahead. A common theme across all meetings was participants’ desire to understand what Generac can do with the assets it sells in the global market. A recent series of articles about our PowerINSIGHTS tool likely drove some of this interest. Questions routinely included:

• Can Generac share how much capacity exists at a street-by-street level?
• Are all of Generac’s assets connected and controllable?
• Can these devices be used for building programs?
• Are there limits to how these resources can be used?
• How can I gain access to anonymized install base data?

Needless to say, answers to those questions set the stage for many more follow-up meetings and discussions – more on that next month.

If You Aren’t Innovating, You’ll Be Left Behind

Later in the month, a client challenged our team with what inventive solutions we had planned for 2023. It was a fair question because if you aren’t innovating, you’ll be left behind. We focused the discussion on three areas:
• Virtual power plants (VPPs) for wholesale energy trading
Electric vehicle load as a grid resource
• C&I customer acquisition into programs

These subjects differ from the pure distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) discussions we typically have. Still, I enjoyed the change of topic as it advanced my understanding of what solutions customers are looking for. In addition, I feel both sides walked away with a clear vision of what the future holds, both for 2023 and beyond.

The closing week had me back home, preparing for a chaotic February. Generac Grid Services will kick off the month with our industry’s largest event, DISTRIBUTECH, and end with AESP’s Annual Conference. Along the way, I’ll also deliver a keynote address at the Smart Energy Summit. I’m sure there will be a meeting (or ten) thrown in for good measure.


About the Author

J.T. leads a global team of sales and commercial operations leaders who help utilities and cooperatives solve their grid problems. Over the course of his career, he has held myriad roles in the energy business across companies including ICAP, Constellation NewEnergy, GE, Noble Americas Energy Solutions and others. He’s been an energy broker, sales leader, and, most recently at Generac Grid Services, the VP of enterprise accounts.