What is Demand-side Management (DSM)?

DSM refers to initiatives and technologies that encourage consumers to optimise their energy use.

The benefits from DSM are potentially two-fold; first, consumers can reduce their electricity bills by adjusting the timing and amount of electricity use. Second, the energy system can benefit from the shifting of energy consumption from peak to non-peak hours (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: Illustration of Smoothing Out Peak Electricity Demand



Based on a study by Professor Frank A. Wolak, Director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development in Stanford University, every MW reduction of peak demand in Singapore translates to a system-wide savings of about $1.6 million.

"Singapore’s climate, customer mix, and familiarity with advanced communications technologies make it ideally suited to achieve significant economic and environmental benefits from active load management.” by Professor Wolak, Director of Program on Energy and Sustainable Development in Stanford University.

Check out our DSM Self-Assessment Checklist to understand how easy it is to participate in DSM! Email EMA_Enquiry@ema.gov.sg for enquiries on DSM.

Enabling Consumer Participation in DSM

EMA has put in place several DSM measures (see Figure 2 below) to empower participation by electricity consumers to optimise their energy use.

Figure 2: DSM Measures that Consumers can Participate

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Project OptiWatt

Project OptiWatt is a pilot programme to demonstrate the viability of DSM initiatives, including testing the relevant technologies and business models, as well as understanding consumer behavior.

Since the launch of Project OptiWatt in October 2016, several partners have conducted technical studies and identified potential DSM and energy efficiency solutions that complement their own consumption profiles.

More information on the studies can be found in the infographic below.

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The partners comprise Institutes of Higher Learning, government agencies, companies, electricity retailers, research institutions and the electricity grid operator: 


Success Stories from Project OptiWatt

  • ERI@N and ENGIE developed the PowerZee mobile app, piloted by 1,850 NTU students and 291 Ngee Ann Polytechnic students, to reduce energy use through interactive user engagement and gamification. The app provided the Facilities teams with aggregated feedback on students’ thermal comfort, allowing for data-driven temperature adjustments in the buildings.

“What we want is for our users to learn about energy efficiency in a fun and engaging way.” by Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, Director of Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N)

“Research shows that informed energy consumers lead to potential energy savings of between 5 to 15 percent. As such, in collaboration with NTU, we developed PowerZee based on gamification models to offer students practical ways to cut their energy consumption in a fun, interactive and social manner.” by Etienne Drouet, Director of ENGIE Lab Singapore.

  • ibis Singapore on Bencoolen participated in the Seraya Energy Make-Over Programme that identifies potential energy saving opportunities for consumers. 
“Through this programme, we were able to optimise our cost savings.” by Jade Stunden, Executive Assistant Manager of ibis Singapore on Bencoolen
  • The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has shifted about 0.3 – 0.4 MW of load by adjusting the timing of its washers and sterilisers to operate outside the system peak period without affecting its operations. This shows that peak shifting and reduction initiatives result in minimal impact on existing processes and operations.
  • Air Liquide has been partnering Diamond Energy to offer 2.2 MW of Interruptible Load in the electricity market.

“Diamond’s participation incentive provides an appealing value proposition for us as it allows our plant to benefit by being available to respond to an activation event.” By Cheong Zhen Siong, Energy Manager of Air Liquide

Another aspect of the pilot involves working with private sector companies to explore how new business models could be catalysed for DSM initiatives. A co-creation process between EMA and industry was established to enable innovative solutions to reduce the barriers of entry for DSM.

  • Under the Direct Demand Response Aggregator enhancement by EMA, consumers have more options to participate in the Demand Response programme through streamlined IT system requirements. The first application under this enhancement was by Diamond Energy who has registered 7.2 MW of capacity in the DR programme in October 2017. This is the first capacity to be registered in the DR programme and demonstrates the success of the co-creation process that was deployed.
  • Red Dot Power launched the eResponse pilot incentive scheme with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (Central and West). The participating institutions were paid an incentive to voluntarily reduce consumption during peak periods.

A preliminary trial was conducted at Temasek Polytechic (TP) prior to the pilot to explore how consumption can be reduced to respond to real-time system conditions, such as highprices or contingency events.  The trial demonstrated that the electricity load of chillers – amounting to about 13.5% of total consumption - can be curtailed for up to half an hour with minimal impact on comfort level of users within the premises (refer to Figures 3 and 4 below). 

Figure 3: Chiller Consumption and Power Curtailment Period at TP

Figure 4: Temperature Chart at TP During Curtailment

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