The National Weather Service predicts extreme heat and humidity for all of New England Tuesday afternoon. While most of us plan ways to stay cool in the heat, many large electricity users are strategizing ways to cut electricity use, hoping to save thousands of dollars in 2013.
Howard Plante, VP of Marketing at Manchester, NH’s Freedom Energy Logistics (www.felpower.com) and Halifax-American Energy Company (www.haecpower.com)has advised the companies’ wholesale and retail customers who buy power at Real-Time Prices to plan high electricity use before 2 or after 6 pm on Tuesday, July 17.
These users are diverse and include universities, such as Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire; hospitals, such as Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island; trade associations like the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association and Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire; and many industrial plants, including Fairchild Semiconductor in Maine and NH’s Union Leader Corporation.
Plante says, “It looks like Tuesday could set the new mark for the peak demand this year and trump the previous peak set on June 21. ISO-NE is forecasting a demand of 26,610 between 2 and 6 pm.”
The peak demand hour matters to accounts buying electricity in Real-Time because electricity cost is primarily calculated on two factors: the energy charge–the number of kilowatt-hours consumed–and the capacity charge, which is calculated by the account’s actual electricity usage at the single peak hour of electricity demand on the entire New England grid in the calendar year. The new capacity tag determined at the peak hour in 2012 determines the capacity fee for the 12 months starting June 1, 2013.
Plante continues, “Any amount of electricity use reduction at the peak hour will help to reduce Real-Time accounts’ capacity fee next year.”
Real-Time electricity customers have more control over their electricity bills than customers with standard billing. And because they are charged the actual cost of electricity at time of use, they can receive unexpected perks like charges of $0 for electricity use. FEL and HAEC customers experienced that when ISO-NE overscheduled electricity inventory for two hours and demand dropped sharply on consecutive days this summer. Last year, FEL and HAEC’s Real-Time customers saw a total of 47 hours of free electricity.
“Real-Time Pricing isn’t a panacea, though,” warns Plante, “You need to keep an eye on the markets and what’s coming up. We work with our Real-Time customers, teaching ways to anticipate trends. We also keep them informed of what we’re seeing, like giving them the heads-up on this week’s expected peak demand hours.”