Weather patterns from late May through early September increase the chance of peak demand.
It’s that prime time of year for Pioneer to be controlling electrical load due to peaks in demand on the cooperative’s electric system. Those extremely hot days with nights that do not cool off create conditions that require the co-op to control the use of water heaters and air-conditioning systems.
The maximum or “peak” amount of electricity used determines Pioneer’s future costs of power. So, when the peak goes up, so does the cost. By reducing the demand for electricity created by electric water heaters and central air-conditioning systems of our members, the cooperative reduces its costs for power.
While summer peaks are our biggest concern, this can change over time. Buckeye Power, Pioneer’s power supplier, is a member of the PJM Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), so hot days in Ohio do not always correspond with the need to use load control.
Costs are allocated in two ways: The first is based on five days during the summer when the entire PJM system load is highest, and the second is determined during the one hour of the year when the transmission utilities serving
Buckeye’s members experience their peak demand. This simply means it may be cool and mild in Ohio, but if the East Coast is experiencing high temperatures and humidity, it may be necessary to control load in Ohio.
“Many of our members don’t even notice when we control their systems,” says Pioneer Marketing and Energy Use Specialist Ted Riethman.
Since the water in an electric water heater stays warm for several hours without power, most members will never notice the temporary shutdown.
The radio-controlled switch (RCS), pictured above, is a vital part of the load management program. Whenever there’s a risk of reaching a new peak, RCSs are activated, temporarily interrupting electricity.
On the air-conditioning units, it simply cycles the compressor of your cooling unit for brief periods of time — approximately 15-minute increments in most cases. During peak demand, no more than 30 minutes out of every hour will be controlled. This does not control your thermostat or harm your cooling system. Cool air continues to circulate through your home.
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