Utility Industry Visionary Joel Gilbert Receives Founder's Award From PLMA

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ATLANTA, Oct. 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) honored its founder, Joel Gilbert, Chief Software Architect and Cofounder of APOGEE Interactive by presenting him with its Founder's Award. Receiving recognition and praise for his contributions in harnessing the power of demand response for energy utilities and their consumers, Gilbert accepted the award at PLMA's 14th Annual Fall Conference being held in Atlanta this week.

"With 30 years in the utility area, I can honestly say I've never met anyone with the knowledge and foresight that marks Joel Gilbert's career," said Elliott Boardman, executive director of PLMA from 1999 to 2012. "In 1999, Joel had enough courage in his conviction that demand response would grow into the major utility asset it is today that he assumed the financial and professional risks of organizing and sponsoring the first national conference on demand response," Boardman explained. "The success of this event led to the formation of the Peak Load Management Alliance, an organization that continues to help shape the integration of energy efficiency and demand response throughout the industry today."

Current PLMA Chair Paul Tyno of REGEN Energy added, "Visionaries like Joel don't come along too often, and when they do, you want to listen carefully. It is our pleasure to present our Founder's Award to Joel in appreciation of his vision and service to the demand response industry."

Gilbert's recognition of the congestion in regional electric utility markets in the late 90s and his belief in the role demand response should play in alleviating costly peak loads led him to host the initial conference that became the basis for forming PLMA. It also led him to develop the first Web-based energy demand response trading company, The Demand Exchange, LLC in 1999. The online trading and settlement platform matched customers' demand response potential with utility capacity needs in near-real time. It successfully traded over 300,000MWhs in its first year of operation, with customers and utilities sharing the cost savings equally. The Electric Power Research Institute recognized this work and hired Gilbert to author three books on demand response trading.

Around that same time, as deregulation efforts swept the nation, Gilbert sensed a need to help the industry to fully understand what this new marketplace could look like. As a result, he was the first to bring simulations and gaming to the industry with The Deregulation Simulation Game and The Trading Game. Using these interactive games, he conducted workshops across the country to train and prepare hundreds of utility executives to successfully navigate increasingly competitive energy markets.

During his career, Gilbert has been retained by over 200 leading gas and electric utilities and over 100 industrial and commercial firms across the United States for consulting on energy efficiency, cogeneration, marketing strategy and energy master planning. His clients have also included the industry's largest trade associations: the Edison Electric Institute, the Electric Power Institute, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the American Public Power Association.

He cofounded APOGEE Interactive Inc. in 1993 to bring online energy education to utilities and their customers and to raise the caliber and consistency of energy audits and energy analysis being provided to utility consumers. APOGEE is now celebrating its 20th year of providing the most accurate online energy analysis and customer engagement applications to more than 650 utilities nationwide.

This fall Gilbert completed his 8th book, naming it tongue-in-cheek, "It's the Thermostat, Stupid," reminding us that "Everyone has a thermostat in their home, but no one really knows what it's doing. . . until now," Gilbert said. "What's different today is we can accurately and wirelessly monitor any existing thermostat's performance." Using this data, along with current utility pricing and weather information, Gilbert's developed algorithms and engaging presentation formats that show precisely what the home's heating and cooling system is doing. This complements any smart grid data by "dollarizing the degrees," telling customers exactly how much their HVAC system is costing them to operate. "The meter is a great scorecard, but is lacking as a customer engagement tool. Now customers can make educated decisions knowing what it costs them to maintain their thermostat settings. Everybody has one, and now they will know what to do with it," Gilbert said.

APOGEE Interactive, Inc. (www.apogee.net) is the leading provider of online energy analysis and customer engagement applications to 650 electric and gas utilities across the U.S., reaching more than 56 million customers. Founded in 1993, Apogee pioneered electronic applications designed to increase a utility's customer engagement and consumer energy efficiency. Today its predictive software consistently earns high marks for accuracy and ease of use. Clients include investor-owned, municipal and cooperative energy companies including Con Edison (ED), American Electric Power (AEP), Entergy (ETR), Southern Company (SO), NSTAR (NST), Salt River Project, Jackson EMC and Flint Energies.

The Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) was founded in 1999 as the national voice of demand response practitioners. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to the principles of demand side management, load shaping, and the integration of energy efficiency and demand response. Its membership represents a diverse collection of utilities, curtailment service providers, service and technology companies, industry consultants, and consumers. PLMA strives to be an advocate of critical energy management initiatives – providing a community of expertise within a rapidly changing energy landscape. Details at www.peaklma.org.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Karen Morris, 678-684-6801

Source:Apogee Interactive, Inc.