About 150 members are already taking part in Beat the Peak, a
free and voluntary effort to help control energy costs for all
cooperative members. You may remember the introduction article in
March and if you were encouraged to sign up at annual meeting in
April. If not, you can still get involved. 'We're approaching peak
cooling season, so together, our participating Beat the Peak
members can make a real difference,' says Adrel Langley, Manager of
Community Relations at Santee Electric Cooperative.
Through Beat the Peak, co-op members receive alerts asking them to reduce their energy use during critical periods when wholesale electricity prices spike, known in the utility industry as 'peak demand.' In the summertime, when air-conditioning use rises, that's in the afternoon.
On the website EnergySmartSC.org, members can sign up to receive Beat the Peak alerts by text message, email or phone call.
During a Beat the Peak period, which typically lasts a few hours, participating members will be encouraged to reduce use of power-intensive activities. These are a few of the actions members can take during cooling season:
- Adjust thermostats higher by 3 degrees during summer afternoons and evenings
- Delay activities that require hot water, such as washing clothes, taking showers, or washing dishes
- Postpone using heavy appliances, like clothes dryers and ovens.
'We are not asking our members to totally stop using certain appliances,' Langley notes. 'We want to get them to shift their use to different hours of the day to help hold down everyone's costs.'
How to cool costs as temperatures rise
Even if you don't sign up for Beat the Peak, you can still help hold down your co-op's wholesale power costs by reducing electricity use during the summer peak demand-generally, from 3 to 7 p.m.
To Beat the Peak:
- Raise thermostat 3 degrees
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Delay clothes drying
- Postpone hot showers
- Delay use of dishwasher
- Skip the oven, cooktop; grill outside
- Turn off unused