There are many no-brainer ways for homeowners to be smart about their energy use, such as turning or keeping lights off when not in use and choosing efficient ENERGY STAR® appliances and electronics. But there are beneficial energy habits of which most people are less aware. A lot of them concern the time of day during which energy is used.
Peak demand periods are stretches of time during which electricity demand is at its highest (and therefore most expensive). Think of it as electricity rush hour. These peak periods usually occur around 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM during the summer. These are the hours during which a large number of people run their air conditioners, watch TV and perform after-work tasks such as preparing dinner and washing dishes.
Your electric cooperative’s grid is the connected network that delivers electricity from suppliers to end-use consumers. And when all that electricity is demanded from the grid, all at the same time, it puts strain on that system, making it work harder to keep up with demand. The infrastructure currently in place was designed to cope with these peaks, but growing demand in many areas continues to push the system to its limits ever more frequently.
One solution to meet growing demand is to upgrade the system, which could include building new power plant facilities and/or transmission lines. Few people jump for joy at the idea of constructing an additional power plant in their area. Fortunately, there’s a smarter, simpler solution.
Cooperative members like you can make a big impact on reducing the electricity demand (aka load) during peak periods by making a few simple adjustments to how and when you use energy in your home. This is what’s known as voluntary load reduction. Little things like doing the dishes and laundry outside of peak demand periods go a long way to reducing stress on the grid. And many cooperatives provide the opportunity to participate in demand response programs. Your participation in these free, innovative programs can help reduce peak load without you or your family sacrificing a single degree of comfort. Contact your cooperative to find out if a voluntary demand response program is available in your neighborhood.
You have the power to take control. Taking an active role in reducing your electricity use during peak periods is a sustainable solution that makes a positive difference for you and your entire community, as well as the environment at large. And since wholesale electricity is more expensive during peak periods, reducing your usage at these times can help control the cost of energy. When you’re part of the load management solution, you’re part of a great thing.
Remember to get in touch with your cooperative to see if there are demand response programs available in your area. You can also visit EnergizeEfficiently.coop for much more about using energy wisely.