Win an Espresso Coffee Machine as the Best Demand Forecaster for Winter 2009

1) Background to the Challenge

(a) Summer 2005-06

Back in 2005-06 (as a bit of fun) we challenged our clients, and others, to show themselves to be the best demand forecaster in the NEM for the period of summer 2005-06, with interesting results

Apart from anything else, we were surprised to see a healthy variation in the entries received from a diverse range of people (including both market participants and market observers).

(b) Summer 2008-09

In summer 2008-09, we reintroduced our pseudo-scientific challenge, and saw a very different result.

As we noted just after it happened, we saw a new record for NEM-Wide demand set in January 2009, absolutely smashing the previous record for summer peak demand.

Our entries for summer 2008-09 were clustered to a much greater degree around a level of about 32,500MW (which turned out to be below the actual peak in demand by more than 3,000MW. Indeed, the actual peak demand for summer turned out to be about 1,000MW higher than even the highest estimate we received in our competition.

Hence, our pseudo-scientific challenge could be said to have shown that the massive new peak in demand surprised everyone in the market – even the traders & forecasters who submitted their entries.

(c) Winter 2009 (A chance to redeem ourselves)

Hence, this brings us to winter 2009 – and a chance to redeem ourselves, with a challenge to forecast the peak demand to be experienced this winter.

To learn from our previous mistake, we’re suggesting the following main change to the competition:

  1. Every entrant in the competition can submit only 3 entries;
  2. We’d suggest (but it’s only a suggestion) that you take a leaf from NEMMCO’s book, and submit one entry for each of the 3 different weather scenarios that might unfold over the remainder of winter:
    1. A 90% Probability of Exceedence forecast (i.e. what the demand would be in mild weather)
    2. A 50% Probability of Exceedence forecast
    3. A 10% Probability of Exceedence forecast (in case we experience a bitterly cold snap).

2) A suitable prize for winter?

We gave away a nice BBQ this summer – or at least Thao Doan, the winner, thought it was nice!

However, we thought that a BBQ was not really a “wintery” kind of incentive. In line with the cold mornings and evenings, we thought a nice coffee machine might be a more appropriate kind of incentive for you to reveal yourself as the Best Demand Forecaster in the NEM (at least for winter 2009).

However, we know that you might be extremely fussy about what type of espresso machine you would like us to supply for you – hence we’ll agree to be led by your suggestions if you win (up to a maximum contribution of about $800).

For instance, the following two options are available on the Harvey Norman website:

Nespresso Lattissima Coffee Machine
Coffee Machine
Further information on the Harvey Norman website.
Perhaps a coffee machine for those who value style and neatness & cleanliness.
Breville Espresso Machina

Coffee Machine

Further information on the Harvey Norman website.

Perhaps a coffee machine for those who want to choose (and perhaps mix) their own beans, and personalise their cup of coffee.

Obviously we will need to find one that can be delivered to you, wherever you are located!

3) The Competition

What we’re looking for is the highest 5-minute dispatch NEM-Wide Demand Target over what remains of winter – meaning:
From 29th June 2009 (i.e. the day we close entries)
Through until 31st August 2009.

Here is where it’s shown in the new version of NEM-Watch:

(click the screenshot to view full size)
NEM-Wide demand in NEM-Watch

You have until 9AM (NEM time) Monday 29th June 2009 to submit your entries with your estimate (and your preference & delivery address, if you are confident of winning).

4) How to Enter

1) Please email us ( with your guesstimate
of what the peak NEM-Wide Dispatch Demand Target will be this winter

2) You can submit up to 3 entries (even on the one email) – perhaps
your own thoughts on a 90%, 50% and 10% Probability of Exceedence weather

3) Entries accepted until 9am (NEMtime) Monday 29th June 2009

5) The Fine Print

1) Entries accepted until 9am (NEM time) Monday 29th June 2009.

2) Only entries emailed to us to the right email address [winter “at”] will be considered.

3) Entries open to anyone with a genuine interest in the NEM (though obviously we hope that you’ll be using NEM-Watch – at least on a trial – to keep an eye on demand, and hence how close you are to winning!) EXCEPT:

4) Competition NOT open to employees, shareholders and other general hangers-on of GLOBAL-ROAM Pty Ltd; PLUS

5) We reserve the right to “lose” entries from companies we deem as competitors to us (can’t have them enjoying fabulous coffee on us, can we!)

6) We’ll accept UP TO three entries per person. You might like to copy NEMMCO’s approach and submit your guesstimates as a 90% POE, 50% POE and 10% POE cases!!

7) The Winner will be the person we judge to be the first & nearest entry to the peak 5-minute NEM-Wide Dispatch Demand Target this winter, where we define “Winter” as:
Starting on Monday 29th June 2009 (i.e. the day entries close)
Ending on Monday 31st August 2009.

8) We define NEM-Wide Demand as the 5-minute Dispatch Demand Target shown in NEM-Watch (for clarity, this is not the metered demand, as it is published by NEMMCO at the beginning of each 5-minute period).

9) The winner will be notified directly soon after the end of “Winter”, and the winner’s name will also be published on this site. At that time, we’ll organise the fun stuff – i.e. delivery.

10) Delivery of the Coffee Machine will be organised to a location within the standard delivery area of a Harvey Norman (or other) store.

11) We’re happy to supply a coffee machine to suit your own particular taste – to a maximum contribution of about Aud$800.

12) The decision of the judges (global-roam Pty Ltd) is final and no correspondence will be entered into. You could try to bribe us, but that won’t work – you could try to get in our “good books” by purchasing lots of NEM-Watch, and whilst that would make us happy, it will not get you closer to being declared the winner – though you will have a pretty good view of what the demand is, all winter!

6) Analysis of Winter

As we did for the competition during summer, we’ve prepared a “cheat sheet” – in which we’ve had a look at how winter’s demand has progressed in the past couple of years.

Very useful in letting you know where the final demand figure might land.

As winter progresses, we’ll try to keep you updated with more analysis of what happens – with updates posted at WattClarity┬«.

Please keep in mind, however, that:

  • We’re only a bunch of geeks (not high-powered consultants), hence we’re not as adept in market analysis, and “wordsmithery”, as others might be; and
  • 6 months have passed since our previous competition, but we’re still no closer to having a full-time “NEM blogger” on staff – hence you will just have to excuse our tardiness if we don’t post as frequently as you would like (we need to ensure that our #1 focus always remains on ensuring our software users are happy).

7) Further Updates

At the very least, you should sign up to be notified when we publish updates on this blog, as we’ll periodically post updates this winter about the way demand progresses – plus with respect to anything else we see of interest (as we have the time, of course).

However, you really should have a copy of NEM-Watch, yourself, through which to keep an eye on peak NEM-Wide demand this winter (and then into the future). You might like to set NEM-Watch with your own Local Alarms (in relation to your own estimate of the peak demand), in order that you know when (if?) your estimates are reached.

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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