The Environment+Energy Leader Honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that features Honorees throughout 2022. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.
Meet Lon Huber, SVP of pricing and customer solutions for Duke Energy. Lon serves as the senior vice president to the Pricing & Customer solutions team at Duke Energy. His focus is leading the strategy and delivery of product and service portfolios spanning all customer types, with a focus on revenue generation and carbon savings. “To further meet evolving customer needs, I also oversee the development and implementation of innovative rate designs and creative regulated solutions across eight of Duke Energy’s service areas.”
The scope of his day-to-day activities includes overseeing distributed energy resources work, leading demand side management initiatives, advocating for and developing clean transportation programs, and evolving customer-linked renewables.
What is your biggest energy management and/or environmental challenge, and how you are addressing it?
Lon Huber: At present, my biggest energy management/environmental challenge is ensuring we are on track to meet our Duke Energy net zero carbon emissions goal by 2050.
To address this challenge, my team is focused on implementing customer grid-edge technology programs. Newer distributed resource technologies offer customers additional ways to manage their own energy needs. These innovations are also shifting utility operations from the centralized model of traditional power plants that pushes energy across the grid in one direction to a dynamic system of smaller, decentralized generation units.
Grid-edge systems and programs will be a key pillar to meeting clean energy and lower-carbon commitments and offer new ways for Duke Energy to grow its business. And grid edge technologies can lead to higher customer satisfaction by providing more options and control over their energy use through creative products, services, and pricing.
What was a successful project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share? Do you have any tips that would help colleagues at other companies who are contemplating similar projects?
LH: A recent successful project was the implementation of new rooftop solar rate design in South Carolina. This next generation compensation arrangement for rooftop solar used a variety of new rate design mechanisms like critical peak pricing, time-of-use rates, minimum bills and time-of-use netting for exports.
Close coordination with all internal teams while providing full context of the goals and background of the new program ensured the success of the program – as well as close alignment with external stakeholders.
The entire billing team helped make it a success! Also, Morgan Beveridge helped develop the solar calculator for this project that enables customers to understand new rates, while Brad Harris helped create the new rate design.
What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years? What challenges will the industry face and what technologies or organizational changes will overcome them?
LH: Trends I believe we’ll see in the market in the coming years include:
- The use of distributed resources will grow and become more mainstream and more affordable to customers.
- Renewable energy generation will increase significantly and help offload the capacity on the main grid, while replacing the capacity previously supported by fossil fuels.
- Energy storage and EVs will provide grid both challenges and opportunities for the grid.
- More self-healing grid technology will be developed and utilized.
As far as challenges, it’s important that we get the economics of our programs right to ensure parity for both participants and non-participants – for example, some customers won’t be able to utilize solar, so we have to make this fair to them. To support this challenge, we’ll need a more granular rate design and to work collaboratively to put programmatic standards in place.
Another challenge we’ll see is interoperability – making sure that devices are easily able to interconnect and be managed by the utility while still maintaining cybersecurity standards. This challenge will need to be met with more deliberate cross-industry cooperation and alignment.
Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you and your work.
LH: My two most recent reads have been New to Big, by David Kiddler, and Subscribed, by Tien Tzuo. I’ve recommended these books to my own team to showcase my own way of thinking and how one should think from an entrepreneur perspective to grow.
Outside of work and reading, I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and reading, and I consider myself a car enthusiast – especially the fast ones! Extracurriculars help me refocus and find more purpose and creativity in my work life.
Editor’s note: nominations are now open for this year’s E+E Honorees. Nominate a colleague — or yourself — for the 2022 E+E Honoree list today.