What is Peak Demand?
When temperatures are extremely hot, increased demand for electricity can cause Firelands' power supplier, Buckeye Power, to reach a new peak in demand for power. Peak electric loads mean increased costs for all consumers. Electricity costs more during the summer, due to the peak demand for electricity in hot weather. This is reflected in Firelands' summer rate schedule (June through September), which is higher than the rate for the rest of the year.
A PeakBuster is a load management device that allows Buckeye Power to remotely control and reduce the electric demand during peak demand periods. Members who participate in Firelands' PeakBuster program are eligible for special incentives and rebates offered by the co-op. PeakBuster control devices are installed for water heaters, central air conditioners, heat pumps, and geothermal systems to help reduce costly demand during peak times — 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on very hot summer afternoons.
When demand for electricity is likely to reach record levels, we ask memembers to help lower demand by reducing use of electricity and avoid using major appliances during 'peak' demand times and RAISE your cooling thermostat four degrees.
Peak alert bulletins are posted on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages; and also via text and email alerts to members. Peak Alert messages are broadcast on local radio stations ONLY during the most extreme weather conditions. Click here to learn more about levels of electricity demand and ways to reduce peak.
Thank you for helping us manage peak demand!
Buckeye Power is a member of the PJM Interconnection, which coordinates the movement of electricity through all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The PJM region has an area of 168,500 square miles, a population of about 51 million and a peak demand of 144,644 megawatts.
Because of the large geographic area served by the PJM Interconnection utility group, there is a greater potential for summertime demand peaks to occur involving Buckeye Power and Firelands. Even though very hot weather may not be present in Ohio, Firelands members may be affected by load management efforts to reduce high demand elsewhere in the PJM Interconnection utility group to keep power costs as low as possible for all consumers in the group.
Peak demand is very costly and continues to be a growing concern for all electric utilities. New generation facilities are needed, but what will they cost? Global climate change issues and greenhouse gas laws require special treatment and scrutiny for any new power plants. This means the cost of constructing future new generation facilities will be extremely expensive, and whatever the cost, consumers will pay the bill.
Cooperative electric loads have grown to the point that the excess generation capacity built decades ago has been used up. Buckeye Power's current generation mix includes base load coal-fired generation, natural gas-fired peaking units, hydroelectric generation, livestock waste digesters producing bio-gas for generation, and a wind turbine farm. This generation portfolio helps ensure that Ohio co-op members will have sufficient power supply beyond 2020.
Like those co-op members in the 1970s who paid for generation capacity they “grew into” over several decades, we take advantage of opportunities today to ensure our power supply for tomorrow and for the next generation. "The power we generate at our own plants is less expensive than power we may have to buy from the energy markets," said Firelands General Manager April Bordas. "If we can keep our energy demand lower, we don't have to buy the 'high-priced stuff' from outside markets, and we all save money."
Ohio's electric cooperatives offer load management programs to encourage their members to help reduce high demand during very hot, humid summer weather and at other times when high demand occurs. In addition, Buckeye Power continues to investigate various renewable energy options to add to its generation portfolio.