Peak Alerts Let's You Know When to Beat the Peak
Why we issue a warning
Our community demands more energy than in the past. More air-conditioning and space heating combined with extremes in weather are driving peak demand to new highs. Even so, in New England, power plants are being retired and transmission charges are rising even faster than generation due to constraints on the existing system. Our highest costs come when our customers' energy use peaks at the same time each day. In summer this is usually between 2 pm up until 8 pm. In the winter months, peak usage usually occurs when people return home on extremely cold afternoons and evenings, between 6 pm and 10 pm. It's a simple case of supply and demand driving up power prices.
Why customers should listen and take action
All power costs are recovered in everyone's bills through the Purchase Power Adjustment (PPA) charge. When peak costs skyrocket, the PPA inevitably has to be raised, if not immediately, in the near future. Last summer, during our highest peak hour, MGED paid nearly ten times the price for electricity compared to a non-peak hour earlier that day. If anyone wonders when they can truly make a difference, this is that time.
What you need to do
On the days we issue Peak Alert warnings, cut back on any and all unnecessary activity that uses electricity between these high use hours. Dishwashing, clothes washing or anything that can be postponed until later in the evening in the summer or for another day in the winter will make a difference. Turn off decorative lighting. Consider shutting down a dehumidifier or space heater during those hours. Raise the thermostat on your air conditioner to 78 degrees if health permits. Grill outside instead of using the stovetop. So many things use electricity in the home today that you can probably find endless possibilities.
When to expect a Peak Alert
During the summer, on the hottest days during the work week and especially by the second or third day of a heat wave of over 90 degree temperatures, you can assume that we need everyone's help to cut back. We will be issuing the alert then and in other times when large generating units are not operating due to scheduled maintenance. A cold weather alert, while more rare, is still possible with a deep freeze or unexpected cold blast. Other, less obvious or non-publicized events could also cause price spikes in the Northeast so watch for the alerts at any time of high use.
Where to watch for a Peak Alert
We'll post to our website homepage first at MGED.com. We'll send a bulletin board notice to MCCAM and LakeCAM local cable access TV stations. We'll also post these alerts on Facebook (Facebook/MGEDnews).