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

Load Control Audits

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If you’re not familiar with electric charges, 1 kW (kill-o-watt) equals 1,000 Watts, a kW is at a given moment in time. A kWh (kill-o-watt hour), however, is over time. Our last billing peak occurred on January 16 at 19:00 hours. At that time, North Itasca Electric’s demand load was 6,693 kW, (energy needed at a specific time to provide its members with electricity). With demand charge in January being $20.02 per kW, North Itasca Electric was charged $133,993.86 just to have the energy available for your uses. There are also kWh charges for the energy consumed over time. This is the energy you use at your homes.

Placing this into perspective, with 1 kW equaling 1,000 Watts (the amount of energy needing to illuminate ten 100-Watt light bulbs), 1 kW of electricity has to be available to meet the need. This available energy on demand is the demand load.

Demand charges for January 2020 were $20.02 per kW just to have those 10 light bulbs illuminated. This demand charge changes throughout the year, varying from $13.83 per kW in spring and fall up to $26.21 per kW during the summer months.

Below is an example of a Dual Fuel meter being controlled during a load control peak.

Dual Fuel

A control period was called on February 4 from 4:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Looking at the graph, you can see the load control equipment was successful in turning the heating equipment off, avoiding the peaking period. With the consistent 1.25 kW demand being consumed prior to the control period, $25.02 was saved in February by being able to control the heating equipment.

For another example of those on the ETS Storage Space Heating program, control periods begin around 6:00 a.m. and end around 10:00 p.m. for recharging. The graph below shows the heating equipment is being controlled properly when the energy prices are high and with a demand of 6 kW during the same billing peak period (1900 hours), $120.12 was saved in demand charges in February.

With our newer digital meters, we can now see all this information right from our offices without visiting each home. The savings doesn’t only apply to our sub meters, we can get the same information on the general service meters as well.

You ask - this may save money for the cooperative, but how does it help the members? We still need a back-up heat source, or enough storage heat to last all day long.

Demand

This may be true, but consider the amount of load control being done on the Dual Fuel program, very little propane has been needed. For the past few years, those on the Dual Fuel program have only been controlled around 50 hours all season, and with the increase in renewable energy, our storage programs act as storage batteries. The wind still blows at night even when we sleep and is able to turn wind turbine blades. The ETS (Electric Thermal Storage) program stores this nighttime renewable energy in both water heaters and Storage Space Heating equipment while we sleep. Because the demand for energy is much lower during the night, the price for energy is much lower as well, saving you money. ETS water or Space Heating equipment doesn’t only provide low cost energy, but stores it for use during the high cost daytime demands.