Relieve the Grid and Reduce Energy Costs

July 27, 2015

Electricity consumers greatly benefit from reducing energy consumption on the five days of the year when they suspect peak electricity demand on the grid could occur. Electricity utility companies measure and average each customer’s energy usage in kilowatts on the five highest demand days of each year. That average, known as peak load contribution (PLC), can be reduced and managed through best practices. Usage can be reduced by dimming lighting, adjusting thermostat settings, shutting down equipment, using onsite power generators, or scheduling operations during nighttime hours.

Although customers and electricity utility companies can’t predict on which five days the highest demand will occur, peak demand typically arises in afternoon hours during summer months. In the case of polar vortex weather events, exceptionally high peak demand may be recorded in winter months.

Many electricity utilities notify local news outlets on days when peak demand is likely to occur, prompting the media to encourage consumers to reduce usage during peak demand hours. In some regions, customers can subscribe to alerts that notify them to reduce consumption during specific peak demand timeframes. Utility websites and local news websites are good resources to check for notifications, as well as grid system websites, such as the PJM webpage.

Additionally, consumers can enroll in Demand Response programs to receive payments for agreeing to voluntarily reduce consumption when notified. Demand Response programs are beneficial because customers are alerted when the five peak demand days each year are likely to occur, enabling them to potentially reduce their PLC. Plus, participants receive payments.

Electric utilities provide each customer’s PLC, or “installed capacity tag,” to electricity suppliers. Suppliers use each customer’s PLC from the prior year to calculate monthly capacity costs/obligations. Customers should be able to review their bills and identify their PLCs at a glance. The PLC may be listed as “demand charge” or “billed load KW” on some customer bills. If you have any questions regarding your PLC or energy bill, contact the APPI Energy customer service team for a courtesy evaluation at 800-520-6685.