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Upgrading Duquesne Light Company’s energy efficiency program tracking system


“MCR’s upgrade to the EE tracking system was delivered on time and on budget to significantly improve our staff and implementer efficiency, enhance our reporting capabilities, and modernize our web application infrastructure.”

—Dave Defide, Senior Manager of Customer Programs


Background

With the launch of a portfolio of demand-side management programs in response to the passage of Pennsylvania Act 129 of 2008, Duquesne Light Company built an energy efficiency (EE) tracking system to manage its portfolio of projects. More than a decade later, the original system continued to function as designed, but was increasingly difficult to maintain and inadequate for Duquesne’s evolving portfolio of programs. Changes in front- and back-end technologies and the pending retirement of legacy servers necessitated a system overhaul, but internal information technology (IT) resources were fully subscribed with other projects. Additionally, changes in program delivery shifted more activity from traditional downstream programs to mid- and upstream programs. This required better tracking of “bulk” measure data as it came to represent a larger and larger portion of program activity.

Solution

MCR applied our well-defined, structured approach (shown below) to EE tracking system design to understand the current system, specify a new system, then develop that new system using our utility-specific software development team. Throughout this process, the functional and technical teams worked closely together to ensure the needs and design considerations of both groups were incorporated into the project.

 

To deploy the new system without disrupting Duquesne’s statutorily required program delivery, MCR utilized a phased development and deployment approach that allowed the new system to launch on day one of a new multi-year program phase. This approach required developing an interim customer information retrieval mechanism but allowed the system to launch on time while Duquesne IT continued to work on a more sophisticated customer information application programming interface (API) service. After additional work alongside Duquesne’s IT team, a fully integrated system was deployed in a manner that was completely transparent to the end users.

Results

Duquesne Light went live with the new system on day one of Phase IV of PA’s Act 129 programs and now has a modern, cloud-hosted web application built in Angular and Microsoft SQL Server. Program implementation contractors quickly realized the benefits of additional mechanisms for bulk loading project data. Program management has also benefited from the new calculation engine and increased reporting and data export capabilities of the new system. These capabilities have increased automated compliance with calculation protocols and both the speed and accuracy of responses to internal data requests and regulatory reporting requirements.