This summer, MAPC is piloting a notification program that can help municipalities save big on their electricity accounts by reducing capacity charges. Capacity charges can constitute as much as 20-30% of municipal electricity costs, and the quantity of capacity municipalities are charged for is determined during just a single hour each summer. As a result, anticipating and then reducing consumption (known as “load shedding”) during this short window offers an opportunity for significant financial gain. This summer is particularly important for most MAPC communities because they are in the NEMA load zone, and their price of capacity is set to roughly double. Depending on a municipality’s energy supply contract, reducing peak usage may result in an immediate decrease on monthly bills or may help in negotiating lower fixed rates in the future.
Figure 1. Graph of a load Shed event at Town Hall, showing reduced demand when the grid demand is peaking (simulation)
MAPC’s notification program sends an email each morning that contains organized forecast data from the grid operator, ISO-New England, and assesses the risk that the annual peak hour could occur that day (and at what time). It also provides an outlook for the next week to give municipalities time to plan ahead. When the peak is likely to occur, municipalities can implement load shedding measures, such as raising the A/C set-point or turning it off, shutting down non-critical electrical appliances, and minimizing light usage.
Figure 2. Example of MAPC’s daily notification email.
The peak hour typically occurs on one of the hottest days of the year, usually in late July or early August. The highest peak demand for this summer was Monday July 20th, and many communities successfully implemented load sheds that day. Due to forecasted high temperatures, it is highly likely that this Thursday will become the new peak for the summer. As a result, communities will be planning to load shed again. MAPC’s daily updates have put communities on alert and will help them predict the timing of the peak as we move closer.
To subscribe to the updates, email email@example.com. To learn about Capacity Charges and load shedding, including what other communities are doing, tune into MAPC’s update webinar tomorrow July 28th from 1-2pm (Register here). You can also get background information by watching the June 15th webinar on MAPC’s YouTube page here.