Load Management

Lets work together to cut electricity costs Noah knew that it was important to even out the load on his ark. The electric distribution system that supplies your electricity is a lot like Noah’s arch. While we can purchase enough electricity for everyone, we have to pay a lot more for more for the electricity you use during “peak-demand” periods. Peak-demand periods occur on the hottest days due to air conditioning. During non-air conditioning months, the single hour each month with the highest energy consumption is also a peak-demand period.

The Redwood Falls Public Utilities will pay less for your electricity if we buy less during “peak-demand” periods.  Your participation in our community’s new Load Management Program will reduce peak demand and save money every month.

While your participation is voluntary, the amount we can save depends completely on the number of program participants. The Program will only work with your help.

Q. What is load management?

A. Load management is way of deferring some electricity use (load) from peak-demand periods to a time when there is less demand for electric energy. Electric water-heaters, central air-conditioners, electric heat pumps and dual-fuel furnaces are appliances whose load can be managed with very little, if any, customer inconvenience. Most customers won’t even know when this load is being managed.

Q. How will load management save money?

A. When you buy electricity from your Redwood Falls Public Utilities, you pay only for the “amount” of energy you use (kilowatt-hours) . But when we buy your electricity, we pay not only for the “amount” (kilowatt-hours) we sell you, but we are also charged for the rate-of-use called “demand”. When many residents use electricity at the same time it causes peak demand and we have to pay more for the same “amount” of electricity.

About 54% of our cost to purchase your electricity is based on the highest demand during one hour each month.  Load-management reduces energy use during these “peak-demand” hours and, therefore, reduces what we pay for your electricity. This means more money stays in Redwood Falls every month. Load management also enables us to get your electricity to your home more efficiently, also saving money.

Q. How can I help reduce electricity cost?

A. Load Management Program participants help reduce “peak demand” by permitting us to cycle their electric water-heater and/or central air-conditioner “off” and “on” when the demand for electricity is high. The resultant lower peak demand means we will pay less to purchase your electricity each month.

Q. Does my electric bill include charges for Peak Demand?

A. In directly! The peak demand charges your municipal utility pays when buying your electricity are included in the price per kilowatt-hour consumed.

Q. When does peak demand occur?

A. The demand for electricity varies every hour of the day and every day of the year.  While it is important to manage peak demand every month, load will only be managed on those days, and during those hours each month, when it could reduce our electricity costs

Q. On a day when load is managed, how many hours might it be necessary to manage our appliances?

A. Load management may function for only a few minutes or for several hours in a day. It will be rare that load would be managed for more than four hours continuously.

Q. Why cycle air conditioners?

A. Air-conditioners contribute significantly to peak demand. Central air-conditioners can be cycled “off” and “on” without causing customer inconvenience.  Most Program participants will not even notice when this is happening. Homes remain dry, cool and comfortable relative to outside. The fan continues to circulate cool, dehumidified air during the short “off” periods. This savings will help keep your electric bills low and assure continued reliable service.

Q. Will my air conditioner be “off” long?

A. Never more than 9 minutes at a time!  After your air-conditioner compressor (the cooling element of your conditioner) has been “off” 9 minutes, it will go back “on” for atleast 21 minutes. All air conditioners in the community will be managed the same way.

While this “on” and “off” cycling may continue for several hours on the hottest days, experience in many other communities has shown that people do not mind as the temperature in the home rises only slightly.

Q. Why cycle electric water-heaters?

A. Minimum inconvenience and maximum savings make electric water-heaters the ideal choice for load management. A water heater stores a large amount of hot water. For this reason, short periods without heating will cause very little, if any, inconvenience.

Controlling electric water-heaters provides maximum savings because they are high-demand appliances.

Q. Will I run out of hot water?

A. Customers with a properly sized and functioning water heater will rarely notice that their water heater is being managed. Water heaters can provide enough hot water for almost all families for five hours after power has been turned “off”. Load management “off” periods will be limited to four hours and will usually occur only a few times each month. A few Program participants may run out of hot water if their water heater is not currently producing maximum hot water due to a defective heating component. If those participants do not wish to repair their water heaters, we may have to exclude their participation in the Program in order to assure that they have an adequate hot water supply. A few customers with unusually high hot-water requirements for the size of their hot water heater may also have to withdraw from the Program.

Q. Will my monthly power bill be lower?

A. You will use about the same amount (kilowatt-hours) of electricity each month whether or not you participate in the Program . You will just use it at different times.  Accordingly, your current electric bills will ot be affected. However, as we all know, energy costs are climbing. Your participation in the Program will help keep your future electric bills as low as possible, help keep more money in our community, minimize energy waste, and enable us to serve more customers with fewer facilities. Everyone in Redwood Falls will benefit.

Q. How do I volunteer to participate?

A. Any resident with an electric water-heater that has a storage capacity of 50 gallons or larger (noted on side or top of your water heater) and/or a central air-conditioner can participate. Pick up an application form at the Redwood Falls Public Utilities Office, fill it out and return it to us. We will do the rest.

Q. What will it cost me to participate?

A. Nothing. The load-management switch will be purchased, owned and maintained by your municipal utility. We will pay a local electrician to install it on your home.

Q. If I volunteer and later change my mind, can I quit the program?

A. Yes. But we think you will be happy that you are helping to keep electricity costs low and reducing the amount of money leaving our community every month.

Q. What if I have more questions?

A. Call 507-616-7400 any weekday between 8:00 a. m. and 5:00 p. m.