North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are using technology to bring members together to manage peak demands for electricity. These efforts reduce not only home energy use and costs, but also wholesale power costs, providing benefits to the entire cooperative membership.
- Internet-Connected ecobee Thermostats. Many cooperatives are offering discounts on internet-connected ecobee thermostats. These thermostats can receive signals to adjust temperatures slightly to save energy without compromising comfort.
- Bring Your Own Thermostat. The Bring Your Own Thermostat program offered by several cooperatives allows members with an internet-connected (smart) ecobee or Nest thermostat to give the co-op the ability to adjust their thermostat in return for compensation. These minor adjustments don’t compromise comfort, and the member can always override the adjustment. Adjustments are minor and only issued during times of high traffic on the grid.
- Water Heater Controls. Residential hot water use often occurs at times of peak demand, like during early morning hours. Electric cooperatives are exploring the use of digital devices that shift energy-intensive water heating to off-peak times with no impact to the member. The insulated tank retains hot water, and if the water drops below a particular set point, the heating elements activate to ensure comfort.
- Customer-Owned Generation. Members with existing back-up generation, like farms, industrial facilities and grocery stores, can also help manage demand during times of high traffic. These members can work with their participating cooperative to integrate their backup generation systems with the grid. This allows the co-op to use the member’s generation as a resource during times of peak demand, and the member receives a monthly credit based on the load served by their generators.
Contact your electric cooperative for information about specific programs they offer.