LOAD MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
The Load Management Program has been developed and implemented by WCEC to continue the trend of downward pressure on wholesale power costs by reducing peak demand. The program is completely voluntary and open to all residential members that have any or all of the following appliances: electric water heating, central air conditioning, central electric heating. The following frequently asked questions should answer most questions. If you have any further questions please call us at 979-543-6271.
What is the purpose of the program?
The purpose of the program is twofold. First, this program will allow WCEC to better serve our members. With the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) functions WCEC will be better able to acquire usage and trend information from our members which will, in turn, facilitate future planning and load restoration after outages. Secondly, this program will save WCEC and its member’s money. WCEC hopes to save half a million dollars per year ($500,000.00) which will be returned to the members in credits and power cost recovery factors. The AMR system will greatly reduce field personnel trips to read and re-read meters. The load management portion of the program will serve to reduce the wholesale cost of power to WCEC without changing the kWh usage of our members. A typical total electric home will save $200.00 per year immediately with the program credits.
What loads will be controlled?
Currently, we have the equipment to control central air conditioning, central heating, and water heating.
How can the computer turn off power loads during the peak?
During peak conditions, the load management computer will send a signal to the computer at the substation. The substation computer will then send a signal through the power lines to the load management device at the member's home. Picture the load management device at the member's home as a telephone. The computer just calls the device and tells it to open up a relay.
How does WCEC know when a peak occurs?
The load management computer at the WCEC headquarters monitors the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) peak at 15-minute intervals to determine when peak demand is occurring.
Is there any limit to the time when the load will be controlled?
We only control the appliances during peak usage days. The exact time of day is difficult to determine, due to weather conditions and changing member usage patterns. On most days the peak control time will usually fall between 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM. WCEC will not control unless it is necessary. Load will be controlled only during June, July, August, and September. Individual A/C compressors may be controlled twice an hour for 7.5 minutes at a time during those days.
Will the member be inconvenienced?
If the member's equipment is sized properly and is in good working order, they should not notice any comfort change. The control program is designed to be unnoticed by the members but will lower peak load overall. If the member feels that his or her home is uncomfortable or if they continually run out of hot water, WCEC will put them in another "group" that has shorter control times. This is a voluntary program and members can cancel their participation at any time. Our goal is to not inconvenience the member.
Will the cycling of the air conditioner/heater/water heater damage it in any way?
The cycling will not damage the equipment. The strategy is for air conditioner compressors to be shed for 7.5 minutes at a time. By doing this the pressure has sufficient time to lower, thus avoiding hard start conditions. In addition, air conditioners come from the factory equipped with a protection relay that will not allow a restart under high pressure. For both heating and air conditioning, the equipment is shed using the low voltage side of the equipment, just as if your thermostat was turning off the unit. Local Air Conditioning dealers have been consulted and will actually install the load management devices on the members' units under contract by WCEC.
Are there any operational benefits of having load management on the heating/cooling systems?
Yes. In the event of a power interruption, the devices will provide a short time delay on restart to keep any switching surges from reaching the compressor when power is restored. In the event of an ice storm, it is sometimes difficult to pick up the load on our system after an outage because all heaters and water heaters are calling for heat at the same time. Load management devices will allow us to restore power quicker because water heaters and central heating systems will come on over a 3 to 5 minute period after power is restored versus coming on immediately without load management. The bottom line is that our members will have heat back on minutes or even hours earlier if the devices are in widespread use.
How much does it cost for the member to participate in the program?
There is no cost or long-term obligation to the member. WCEC will pay for the equipment and the installation. In addition, WCEC will pay the following credits to members:
* Water Heaters - $25.00 per month per unit for June, July, August, and September.
* Central Air Conditioning - $25.00 per month per unit for June, July, August, and September
If you would like more information on WCEC's Load Management Program, please contact Mary Arredondo at 979-543-6271.