Friday, April 24, 2009

Demand-response switches could save you money

The temperature today in Cincinnati rose above 80 degrees for the first time in a good while. While our springtime has been on the cooler side so far, folks will be trying out their air conditioners very soon.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted how some companies are poised to benefit from devices that manage peak energy demand such as those made by "Comverge". The devices reduce or shut off power during periods of high usage, mostly during hot summer days. Locally, Duke Energy has been making a power-saving device available for some time. The "Power Manager" program adds a switch to a home's air conditioning unit so that it may cycle off at certain intervals. Just signing up for the program will fetch you between $25-35.

While cycling off your AC during the hottest of days may seem like an unpleasant thought, Duke offers a couple of different installation methods which might ease the process. The program that offers that highest savings on your bill cycles your AC off for longer periods. Duke's information suggests this may cause the temperature to rise 3 to 4 degrees during this period. However, if your home is relatively well insulated and sealed, then it would be reasonable to expect that the change in temperature you'd experience would be reduced. For those concerned with these longer outages, the optional installation minimizes the outage duration. That option, of course, does reduce the savings you will receive as a program participant.

If you are looking to save a few bucks these days - and who isn't? - I certainly recommend checking out this program to see what it might do for you. At the same time, review my previous article on maintaining your AC along with these summer preparation tips from "frugaldad" that could also help keep more money in your pocket.

1 comment:

Neil said...

As a person who does energy research and with connections the the generation and transmission business, I cannot proclaim loudly enough how beneficial these "peak reduction" programs are. Duke Energy (Cincinnati Metro) has one.
1. The energy companies win because they don't have to build and run horribly inefficient plants to meet a peak that might only last a few hours.
2. Consumers win because the companies usually throw a small spiff to them. A little-known fact is that these programs are VERY rarely used.
3. The earth wins because the dirtiest energy you can use is peak energy.