Load management/off-peak programs help keep the demand for electricity in balance with the available supply. During times of high usage across the system, load management allows St. Croix Electric Cooperative to reduce customer demand for electricity. Reducing demand results in a system-wide reduction of 70 megawatts (MW) in the summer and 160 MW in the winter, according to Dairyland Power Cooperative, SCEC's wholesale power supplier. One megawatt is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts and can power - on average - 800 homes.
Load control is a voluntary program available to both homes and businesses. Participating members allow the Cooperative to manage the supply of electricity to specific pieces of equipment (e.g. water heaters and air conditioners) during times of peak electric use. Allowing the Co-op the flexibility to manage demand helps contribute to large-scale conservation efforts.
During times of PEAK Alert! (full load control), the Co-op asks larger and commercial customers to switch to generators for a period of time. PEAK Alert! usually only happens during times of extreme temperatures (June through August; December through February). Residential members can also aid in reducing non-essential electrical usage during these times. When a PEAK Alert! is issued, it will appear on the Cooperative website and on social media pages.
Using electric heating appliances, such as in-floor heat may also qualify participating members for lower, off-peak electric rates. To be eligible, a minimum of 7,000 watts of controlled electric load must be included. If you choose to participate, a radio-controlled device is connected to your heating system at no charge. If the demand for power reaches peak levels, a radio signal is sent to activate the controls on your equipment. The electric supply is then managed for short periods of time with little or no inconvenience to you.
The Co-op has load control/PEAK Alert! programs that fit the usage and facilities of nearly any home or business. Contact us via email for detailed information about how you can help manage demand by participating in load management.
Back to Basics ... Load Control vs. Full Load Control/PEAK Alert! (PDF, 06/2017)