Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Demand Response FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - Demand Response

Below is additional information about Demand Response (DR) which may help you determine if DR is right for you.


​Utilities use demand response programs to encourage customers to change their electricity usage (typically reducing use or shifting use to other times of the day) in response to price incentives at certain times.  

​Demand response programs exist for residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural customers. Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, and Idaho Power all offer programs. Some utilities offer incentives for reducing demand. Others only offer differential pricing, called “Time of Use” rates. Please contact your utility service provider to understand their eligibility requirements to participate.

​​The three investor-owned utilities in Oregon -- Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, and Idaho Power -- all offer programs that range between differential pricing programs to actual incentives for reducing peak demand.   

​Enrolling in demand response programs is rather straightforward. Contact  PGE, Pacific Power and Idaho Power for more information about their demand response programs by customer type.

​Generally, participating in a demand response program means customers will receive some financial benefit by reducing or shifting electricity consumption during certain hours. For pricing programs, electricity prices are much cheaper during non-peak hours, while peak-hours are more expensive. This corresponds to the more expensive hours for the utilities to produce or purchase electricity to meet demand. For other demand response programs and pilots, there can be a combination of incentives and notifications to participate in upcoming demand response events. Each program has other important details such as the maximum length of an event, the number of events that can be called in a given time period, and eligibility requirements. The specific terms and conditions of demand response programs vary, which customers should understand before enrolling. 

​Many demand response programs involve incentive payments for customers who participate. These can come in many forms, such as bill credits, rate reductions, or cash payments. Each program’s incentive structure is different, and you should examine the incentive and penalty terms carefully prior to registering.

​All demand response programs allow participants to discontinue their participation. Check with your utility service provider for details.

​Demand response programs and pilots are designed to help alleviate the need for peak power. Peak power is much more expensive then the power delivered at other times of the day. Peak periods can also be challenging for the grid to reliably deliver power. Finally, peak power generally comes from less efficient, fossil fueled power plants. Consider demand response program participation as a way of lowering power costs, boosting the reliability of the grid, and fighting climate change.