Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 24 NO. 3  -  March 2020

CEO Report


I recently saw a question on Facebook, "What is a billing demand?" We have been posting on North Itasca Electric’s FB account when we expect a billing demand. Every month North Itasca Electric is billed on our peak system demand. This value represents the total amount of energy being consumed over a 15-minute period with all the Off-Peak loads shut off. This is the best opportunity for all of us to come together to save money.

How do we save money? I'll use the same example I used on Facebook. Let's talk about an electric clothes dryer. Dryers use roughly 7 kW of "demand" when they are running. If you were to run your clothes dryer during the billing peak the math would look something like this… 7kW x $20/kW of demand = $140 Now at the same time, if you ran your load of laundry before or after that same billing peak, we wouldn’t be charged demand on our GRE power bill. Imagine if 100 members chose to dry clothes not in the billing peak… $140 x 100 = $14,000 of potential savings by changing our habits during a peak event.

Currently we use Off-Peak load control devices to control things in your home like electric heat. We have established programs for those controls. The Off-Peak program is very hands off for all of us; GRE runs that control for all of us. Posting peak demand times on Facebook was an attempt to have you, the Member-Owner, take an active role in your home to help all of us save money. A dryer is only one example; changing the thermostat a degree or two, not using the electric range/oven during the peak event, or not running the dish washer. These are all ways to save during a billing peak.

So why does North Itasca Electric get charged for a billing peak? GRE is much like North Itasca, we must build our system for 15 minutes of the month/year. We need to have big enough wire, the correct transformers and necessary equipment to handle the peak demand. GRE is tasked with the same responsibility and more. GRE must have all the right-sized equipment, also they have the responsibility of providing power plus a reserve. All these demands cost money, if we can come together and reduce that demand, we won't have to build additional resources or upsize equipment.

Another way to think about demand is filling a blue kids' pool during the summer. Method one: we are going to use a garden hose and turn the faucet on, so you have about a pencil stream of water coming out. It will take quite a while to fill the pool. Method two: we’re going to crank the faucet wide open, throw a brick on top of the hose to keep it from flipping out, drenching us. Method two will fill the pool much faster, in the end you used the same amount of water, though. There was much more demand used for method two. I encourage you to either call us in the office or do a little Internet search to see the difference between demand and consumption in respect to your power bill.

By your side, and Miigweech