You’ve told us repeatedly that what you want most from your electric cooperative is reliability and affordability.
That’s why we’re continually forecasting, planning and building a system that is robust, and developing new ways to control costs. We thought you’d like to know more about how the demand control programs we’ve asked you to participate in lower our costs and save us all money.
A significant portion of our wholesale power costs is related to demand, which is the rate of flow of electricity through our system. The BEMC system peaks at the times of highest energy usage, and the rate we pay for wholesale power each month is partly based on the highest single hour of peak demand during that month. If we can lower that peak hour, we reduce our wholesale power bill for that month, have less expense to pass on to you, and avoid future rate increases.
It’s important to understand that when the rate we pay for wholesale power is calculated, each month stands on its own. It’s intuitive that if we can lower the peak demand during the hottest and coldest months, we can save money, but it applies to other months as well. We have the opportunity to reduce our bill each and every month by lowering the peak demand for that month. That’s why you receive Beat the Peak alerts year-round; they’re a signal that a system peak is approaching, and we should all reduce our usage during that time.
If everyone turned off one 60-watt light bulb during the peak hour, there’s potential for a significant impact of almost $100,000 each month.
Trimming peak demand saves us all in another significant way as well. Greater system peaks require more capacity, which leads to extensive system upgrades. If we can work together to reduce peak demand, we can avoid, or delay, expensive upgrades to our infrastructure, and our power supplier can too. Ultimately, we could avoid or delay the building of new power generating plants.
We’ll continue to develop new ways we can work together to reduce peak demand because some strategies fit some members better than others. If your lifestyle can accommodate the Time-of-Use rate option, you can significantly reduce your power bill each month, and the entire cooperative benefits. If you allow us to occasionally control your programmable thermostat through one of our programs, you may not see a drastic reduction in your bill, but you will be helping to fend off future rate increases and system upgrades.
Because we are a cooperative, there truly is power in numbers. You might think that turning off a light bulb during a peak won’t make a difference, but consider that we have more than 98,000 meter locations. If everyone turned off one 60-watt light bulb during the peak hour, there’s potential for a significant impact of almost $100,000 each month. Changing your thermostat three degrees or more during a Beat the Peak alert is ideal, but if you can’t do that, then one degree will still make a difference. The most important thing to remember is that by helping to reduce peak demand each and every month you have the potential to lower your bill, and delay capacity-related infrastructure upgrades and future rate increases. Working together benefits us all.