Berkeley Lab report provides a step-by-step process to promote successful utility pilots

September 9, 2020

Since at least the late 1970s, electric utilities and their regulators have recognized the value of experimentation to motivate innovation. The industry has a long history of using pilots to help inform future decision making about electric utility rates, customer technology adoption and integration, and even changes to the utility’s regulatory or business model. Although utility pilots have become almost ubiquitous proving grounds for new rates, technologies, and alterations to the traditional utility regulatory and business model, some regulators are beginning to raise questions about what constitutes a “good” pilot.

Much has been written about utility pilots over the years; however, what is missing from the literature is the identification of a comprehensive process for not only designing and evaluating a pilot, but also implementing, successful utility pilots that provide actionable outcomes upon which more informed decisions can be made. 

A new report from Berkeley Lab provides a step-by-step process that regulators, policymakers, and utilities can follow to help ensure a pilot is successful, even if whatever is being tested fails to produce the intended or expected result(s). The process highlighted in the report is based on the experience of the authors who have worked with regulators and utilities over the past 10 years designing, implementing, and evaluating pilots. A link to the report is available at:

The authors will host a webinar highlighting the process identified in the report on September 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM Pacific / 2:00 PM Eastern. Register for the webinar here:

For questions on the report, feel free to contact Peter Cappers (315-637-0513, [email protected]) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

We appreciate the funding support of the U.S. Department of Energy Transmission Planning and Technical Assistance Office for making this work possible.