Core Energy User Roles

We have been assisting large energy users in Australia’s National Electricity Market to operate a form of demand response since as early as 2002.   Our clients using deSide all have some form of spot exposure – or a reason to change their net consumption in relation to the real-time electricity price.

Generally speaking, we have seen that there are three core roles filled by staff of our client organisations – as summed up in the table below:


Production Operator IMAGE This “Production Operator” role might have a different name in different organisations – but, from the perspective of demand response in response to electricity spot market pricing, has some uniform characteristics.

This person

  • is responsible for pushing the button to curtail load (or start up embedded, back-up generation, in response to spot market pricing systems);
  • will work in some form of roster with a team of similar “Production Operators” onsite, so
  • has a focus that extends for their shift, but not often much beyond this
  • will operate from some form of control room, and interact with a process control system (complete with screens and alerts etc) for all of the other process data that is required to keep track of the process they operate to produce your particular product.
The “Shift Supervisor” will be responsible for managing the Production Operators.

  • You might sit in the control room, or off to the side.
  • You’re not the “hands on” operator, but have direct responsibility for ensuring that all goes well during your shift – including your cost of consumption of electricity (and hence the physical demand response).
  • Because of your role, you take more of a strategic view that might run out a day or more into the future (i.e. beyond just your shift).
You might be known as the “Energy Manager” or some other title like that.

  • You’ve probably be heavily involved in deciding to take your facility down this path, which includes spot-exposed demand response but will probably also include financial hedging for “balance of plant” load – possibly with progressive purchasing.
  • Hence you have a keen interest in seeing the benefits be delivered – but with more focus on longer-term (e.g. over a quarter, or a year) than over any particular day.
  • Hence you’re more inclined to analyse what’s been happening over a longer-term period.
  • You will have an interest in each day, as you are keenly aware of the volatility inherent in the NEM – but your interest is more from the perspective of ensuring that the production team are well equipped to deal with the challenges.
  • Hence you will have been involved in the decision to implement deSide as a tool to help manage these risks.


Obviously there are differences between one client and the next (and, no doubt, you have your own specific permutations).  However we suspect you will also see these three types of generic roles within your organisation.

We’re always keen to hear more from you about how we can help – please give us a call on +61 (0)7 3368 4064.