Lower usage at key times can save you money
These days, we all rely on electricity to power our daily lives. But did you know that when you use power can have just as much impact on North Alabama Electric Cooperative’s system as how much you use?
That’s because greater demand for electricity at once puts more strain on our electric grid. As our reliance on electric technology continues to grow, so does the demand we put on our system.
Fortunately, making an effort to use less electricity when demand is at its highest can help your cooperative maintain reliable service and even save you money. Read on to learn more.
What is demand?
The demand on an electric system refers to how much energy is consumed during a given period of time. The more homes and businesses powered by NAEC at the same time, the higher demand is at that moment.
You can picture this in terms of a standard 100-watt lightbulb. Turning on one light for 10 hours or 10 lights for one hour results in the same overall consumption of 1,000 watts. But the demand will be higher when 10 lights are on at once because that energy is being consumed over a much shorter period of time.
What is peak?
Peak demand is the time when electric usage is at its highest across the grid. During the winter months, peak demand is typically in the morning while everyone heats up their homes after a cold night. In the summer, peak demand shifts to the afternoon as members cool off their homes after baking in the sun all day.
Why does demand matter?
While our system is not always at that peak level of demand, we must always have the infrastructure and energy supply in place to handle the busiest times of year. This ensures we are able to provide reliable service year-round without rolling blackouts or outages whenever demand spikes.
That preparation also has an impact on the money we invest in equipment like poles, lines, transformers and substations, as well as the prices we pay to purchase power.
What can I do?
By working together to lower demand we can keep power costs stable for everyone. Lowering NAEC’s peak demand reduces the electricity needed from our wholesale power provider, leading to savings in the form of capital credits and lower rates.
The best way to do your part is by avoiding energy-intensive tasks such as showering or washing clothes or dishes during periods of peak demand. Heating and cooling costs are also major drivers of demand. Using a programmable thermostat to manage the temperature or simply raising the thermostat a couple of degrees when it’s hot and lowering it when it’s cold can make a big difference while saving you money.
Even these small changes to our everyday habits can have a major impact on the system. Together, we can help our cooperative deliver safe and reliable power at an affordable price for everyone.