What is “Peak Demand” or “Peak Energy Times”?
The time frame where the population is using electricity at the same time is what we refer to as “Peak Demand” or “Peak Energy Times.” Kilowatt hours that are used during these times are the most expensive versus kilowatt hours that are used during “off peak” times.
Our members play a big part in determining how much electricity we purchase from our Generation and Transmission Cooperative, NIPCO, in order to keep the lights on in our community. Daily peak times are different depending on the season. In the summertime, peak demand usually occurs in the afternoon and early evening. Whereas in the wintertime, peak demand occurs during the morning hours.
Why is it important to reduce peak demand?
The high demand times, when everyone is using electricity at the same time, is what determines the cost of HCREC’s electricity and our electric rate for members. If we can lower the demand during peak times, we can maintain affordable electricity rates and keep costs down for our membership.
We can help lower the demand by spreading electric usage throughout the day or by using electricity when it costs the least amount of money. We do this through load management, or what we call “Switch Makes Cents.” Switch Makes Cents allows our members to use electricity more wisely and it helps us provide you with the most reliable power at the most affordable rate.
Our co-op purchases kilowatt-hours from our G&T (NIPCO) based on the average demand for our members. Peak demand refers to the time of day when the demand for electricity is the highest. If there isn’t enough electric generation produced to keep up with demand, more generation facilities may need to be built which means a higher price per kilowatt and more cost to you, our member. By helping to control peak demand, you can help keep power costs lower and conserve energy.
How do I know if HCREC is currently experiencing Peak Demand?
When you visit our website at www.hcrec.coop, there is a “Peak Alert” monitor on our home page. If Harrison County REC’s service territory is approaching peak demand, the needle on the monitor will be in the red zone. During this time, we ask that our members begin doing their part to conserve energy to protect the system and the overall energy grid. This could include adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees, waiting to start that load of laundry, unplugging any electrical appliances that you aren’t currently using, and more. If HCREC’s energy demand is normal, the needle will be in the green zone on the monitor.
What is “Switch Makes Cents” Load Management?
Switch Makes Cents helps members to prevent purchasing power during “Peak Times” or when the power is the most expensive. Load Management is one of the easiest ways for members to become active in their cooperative, save some money on their monthly bills, and become partners in the effort to control electricity rates. The Switch Makes Cents Load Management Program helps stabilize future power costs to the cooperative and reduces power plant emissions for a cleaner environment. This works through our power provider shifting the energy used by electric heating systems, electric water heaters, and other electric appliances to off-peak hours.
By signing up for the Switch Makes Cents load management program, you get direct savings of 5.425 cents per kilowatt-hour, as well as help the cooperative save on our wholesale bill which, in turn, helps reduce everyone’s power bill. Air conditioners, water heaters, electric heating applications (duel fuel and storage heat), and other equipment qualify for the Switch Makes Cents load management program. HCREC will install a Load Management switch in your home, on your farm, or in your commercial business. This switch allows the connected unit to be interrupted by our power provider, NIPCO, for brief intervals of operation during times of peak energy usage.