What do you know about load control?

What do you know about load control?

For many of us, thinking about our electricity only goes about as deep as expecting the light to come on when we flip the switch. There is really a lot that goes into it though, and there are hundreds of dedicated professionals working to ensure that the lights do indeed come on and that electricity remains a great value.

One method used to ensure reliable and affordable electricity is load control. Referred to by a handful of names such as off-peak program, load management, and demand side management, load control refers to a utility’s ability to intentionally reduce the amount of electricity being used by consumers for a brief period of time. This is important because when demand for energy exceeds a utility’s available supply, the utility must resort to purchasing additional energy on the market. Energy market costs tend to vary widely and have the potential to be very expensive. It is in situations like these that utilities, such as Minnkota Power Cooperative, the power supplier for Cass County Electric, use load control to reduce energy demand and keep member costs stable.

CCEC members participate in load control on a voluntary basis. Members may opt-in various electric loads in their homes or businesses, such as general heating or water heating, for load control. Minnkota Power will then have the ability to remotely shut off power to the designated load during times of high energy demand. In exchange, the member receives a discounted electric rate for that load, known as the off-peak rate.
In addition to receiving the off-peak rate, members may qualify for one-time rebates for installing new equipment and enrolling it in load control. Details and a full list of rebates are available at kwh.com/off-peak.

Load control may be used for a variety of reasons, but the most common include extreme temperatures, such as below-zero winter days, and power plant outages. During extreme temperatures, demand for energy will be high as members heat or cool their homes. During power plant outages, energy supply may be limited as workers perform maintenance or repairs on equipment at the power plant. Regardless of the reason, load control is just one example of how cooperatives like Minnkota Power and Cass County Electric work to maintain affordable and reliable electricity for their members.

Minnkota Power is currently estimating 190 hours of load control for this winter.