What is Load Management?
Load management at Richland Electric Cooperative (R.E.C.) means turning off electrical loads during periods of high-energy usage or as they're more commonly called, "peak hours." This can be done automatically by the load management radio receivers connected to electric water heaters, electric heat loads and central air conditioners/heat pumps. Or, members can do it voluntarily when a "peak alert" message is broadcast on area radio stations.
Why is load management important?
R.E.C., along with many other co-ops, purchases electric power from Dairyland Power Cooperative (D.P.C.), headquartered in La Crosse, WI. Anytime you turn on a light, motor or electrical appliance, you expect to have enough power for the device to operate. For many years, this wasn't a problem as D.P.C. had enough power for your needs. Even in the event that D.P.C. had a power plant go "off-line" for a problem or for scheduled maintenance, they could easily purchase reasonably priced energy from another utility. However, in recent years, the demand for electricity has risen considerably and no new power plants or transmission lines have been built to handle the additional load. This increased demand is nationwide and if Dairyland Power has a problem and needs to purchase energy to meet its needs, the costs to do so have risen substantially in recent years. R.E.C. purchases power from D.P.C. based on the co-op's contribution to the D.P.C. peak load. In other words, the more electricity used by R.E.C. members during "peak alerts," the more R.E.C. pays for that power. The load management program helps the co-op lower its demand and thus, reduce its cost of purchasing energy during "peak alerts". These savings benefit all members by keeping electric rates as stable as possible.
How can you help?
Thereare many ways you cna participate in the load management program and help the co-op reduce its electrical demand during periods of high usage. As mentioned above, if you have an electric water heater, it should be connected to a load management radio receiver. This allows the co-op to automatically turn off electric power to the water heater whenever needed. Members with electric heat who join the Dual Fuel Program can also have a reciver installed to shut off electric heat during peak hours. A third option is to have a load mangement receiver connected to your central air conditioner / heat pump systme so it can be cycled off and on every 15 minutes during the summer "peak hours."
When you hear "Peak Alert" message broadcast by area radio stations, you can also help by voluntarily conserving energy wherever possible. By simply turning off unneeded or unused lights and appliances you can help the co-op lower its demand. Scheduling the use of dishwasher, dryers and motors away from "peak hours" when you hear of 'Peak Alert' message is also very beneficial in helping the co-op lower its costs and purchased power.
If you would like to know the current load control status you can click on the links below.