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Transitioning to Summer Load Management

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Whether your community’s load management programs use switches, generators, or both, if you haven’t already prepared for the summer heat, it’s time. Details may differ for each community, but the goal is the same: Reduce your wholesale power costs by decreasing the demand on your electric system when demand for electricity is highest.

Residential Load Management

Participating in a residential load management program involves having a remotely controlled switch attached to customers’ appliances that have the most impact on peak demand.

“Now is a good time to inform those customers who aren’t participating in load management about how your program works and the value of it—especially with the extreme heat North Carolina summers can bring,” says ElectriCities Field Operations Manager, Jason Thigpen.

NCEMPA Members can use our Load Management Switch Program bill insert to educate customers. These and other bill inserts are free for ElectriCities members.

Customers already participating in residential load management need a different message. Transitioning from winter to summer means:

  1. Different appliances are affected. Water heaters are typically controlled year-round, but air conditioners replace heat strips in the summer months.
  2. Load management time of day changes. In winter, peak demand is usually 6-8 a.m. Summer peak periods are longer and typically in the afternoon—about 2-7 p.m., with most occurring 3-6 p.m.

Utility, Commercial, and Industrial Load Management

Much of non-residential load management involves generators on both sides of the meter. Whether your program involves generators the city or town owns or the customer owns, take time now to get them ready for summer.

Jack Yox, Lead Generator Specialist at ElectriCities, advises:

  1. Walk around the generator to check for leaks, puddles, or other issues that need attention.
  2. Top off the radiator coolant.
  3. Inspect fan belts for condition and proper tension.
  4. Inspect fluid hoses for leaks and possible defects.
  5. Ensure battery chargers are working properly and batteries are fully charged.
  6. Ensure enclosure louvers operate correctly.
  7. Top off storage fuel tanks to prevent condensation.
  8. Treat fuel with anti-gel/antimicrobial additives.
  9. Polish stored fuels to extract contaminants, including microbials, particulates, and water, that can cause significant engine problems.

No matter the season, Yox recommends these ongoing practices to ensure generators are in top shape and ready when you need them—whether for load management or emergency operation:

  1. Change oil regularly and replace fuel, oil, and air filters.
  2. Perform periodic switchgear maintenance.
  3. Regularly lubricate breakers.
  4. Calibrate DOC equipment annually and ensure it works.
  5. Complete monthly above-ground fuel tank inspections in accordance with the SP001 AST Inspection Standard.

“Almost every member in North Carolina participates in load management in some form, which collectively saves members millions of dollars each year,” says Jason. “Taking steps now to prepare to manage the summer demand peaks ensures your utility and your customers don’t miss out on those savings.”

Sharing information about load management is another way to show your customers that their hometown public power utility is working to help them reduce energy use and save money.
For more information about load management or transitioning to summer load management, contact Jason Thigpen.