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Power demand high in cold weather

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Updated Jan 2, 2018 at 12:32 PM

NEW LONDON — Firelands Electric Cooperative’s power supplier, Buckeye Power, is forecasting high power loads throughout this week. Loads across the PJM region and Ohio are expected to the very high. Load management is necessary across the Buckeye State due to the extremely low temperatures, wind chills, and power loads. Firelands Electric Co-op has been forced to implement load control of electric water heaters and resistance heating Thursday and again this morning, between the hours of 6 and 10 a.m. Load control is expected to be necessary again this evening and Wednesday morning.

Winter load management efforts typically take place only on the coldest days of the year, between the hours of 6 to 10 a.m. and possibly 6 to 10 p.m. Load management efforts may be adjusted, based on weather conditions and power loads. Please help lower demand by reducing your use of electricity wherever you can. Avoid using major appliances during high demand times and lower your heating thermostat four degrees.

The cooperative’s load management program is completely voluntary, where member-consumers agree to have a PeakBuster device installed in their home or business. PeakBuster devices on electric water heaters and HVAC systems are only implemented during extreme weather conditions — on the hottest and coldest days of the year. Participating homeowners are rewarded for being a PeakBuster member and receive monthly bill credits.

WHY IS LOAD MANAGEMENT NECESSARY?

Extreme frigid temperatures are predicted to continue for several days, so load management efforts may occur throughout the week. When peak energy alerts are announced and energy conservation is critical, updates will be posted on Firelands’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FirelandsElectric, and Twitter newsfeed, twitter.com/Firelands. Firelands also provides alerts through the cooperative’s SmartHub application, which sends notifications to your mobile device or e-mail. For more information, visit www.firelandsec.com/content/payment-options and stay connected using the cooperative’s SmartHub system.

Because of the large geographic area served by the PJM Interconnection utility group, there is potential for wintertime demand peaks to occur involving Buckeye Power and Firelands Electric. Cooperative members may be affected by load management efforts in order to reduce high demand in the PJM Interconnection utility group and keep power costs as low as possible for all consumers in the group.

Higher demand for electricity and higher peak electric loads means higher costs for all consumers. A peak of electrical demand is set when consumers of a particular electric utility use more electricity than at any other time in the past. When a new peak is set, each of the 25 distribution electric cooperatives in Ohio, including Firelands Electric, is assigned a new demand charge on their bill from Buckeye Power, Inc.

The consumer's power bill is directly affected by this demand charge. If a distribution cooperative is paying more for power, it's very likely that the cooperative will have to adjust its rates to cover increased costs at some point. Firelands Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Partner, is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 9,130 homes and businesses in rural areas of Ashland, Huron, Lorain and Richland counties.

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