With extremely cold temperatures leading to higher electricity demand from consumers, now is a perfect time to think about energy efficiency in your home and how you can help keep rates stable for all members.
Most power usage occurs when people are busy getting ready for, or ending their day. These peak times are typically from 5-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. On extreme weather days (when it’s very cold or hot) this usage is even higher than normal, requiring the use of peak power which can cost two to three times to produce than off-peak power – thereby increasing our wholesale power costs. The solution to help offset these higher power costs is to reduce energy usage during these peak periods.
Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s Peak Shaving program will be initiated during this time to reduce demand from electric water heaters, which count for approximately 18 percent of a home’s annual energy usage. During control times, the reheating cycles are delayed to non-peak times through the use of a peak shaving device (PSD). Members will not be able to tell that the PSDs are activated, since the water tanks still contain hot water.
Cooperative members are encouraged to participate in the Peak Shaving program—which is free—to help reduce peak demand throughout the year. Collaborating with other cooperatives of PowerSouth (our wholesale power provider), we have a goal to have 50,000 water heaters in the program by 2016, possibly eliminating the need to build one peaking plant, which can cost at least $200 million. Even if you are not participating in the program, you can help by reducing your energy use from 5-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.
Additionally, there are steps members can take to reduce the energy usage in their homes to help off-set the increased heating usage on their power bill Simply lowering the thermostat on electric heating systems to 68 degrees and turning off lights when not in use can help you save energy.
Visit our Green Solutions section for more efficiency tips, or call 1-800-545-5735 to learn more about the Peak Shaving Program.