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  Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative  
  "Together We Have The Power To Make  A Difference"

Air-Conditioning Load Management Pilot Program

Energy is a precious resource that we must use efficiently and conserve whenever possible.  By raising awareness about the need to use energy wisely, we can help protect our environment, conserve fossil fuels, and reduce power-supply costs.  The most effective way to achieve these goals is to minimize the demand on the system during peak-use periods.

What is “peak” demand?  Peak demand is the greatest amount of electricity that must be supplied to our members at any given time, in any one hour.  Unfortunately, no one knows exactly when the peak demand will occur.  We can, however, forecast peak-demand periods by analyzing anticipated unusually high or low temperatures, current weather conditions, member-usage patterns and known seasonal trends.


The goal of your Cooperative is to provide every member with reliable energy whenever you need it, any time of day or night.  In order to do so, we must be prepared to supply the maximum amount of electrical power necessary to meet our members’ requirements at any given time.  During the lower (normal) load periods, your Cooperative pays only pennies per kilowatt-hour for power.  However, during peak demand or energy periods, your Cooperative may have to pay up to one dollar per kilowatt-hour.


In an effort to keep power-supply costs down, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) launched and continues to encourage participation in its “Beat the Peak” program, where members are urged to conserve or limit energy usage during peak or high-demand periods.  As part of this program, we have undertook an air-conditioning load management pilot program installing 500 switches on heat pumps or central air conditioners throughout our territory as part of a statewide effort; and the resulting energy savings are being evaluated. Inside access to the home is not required for the switch to be installed and maintained. It connects directly to the central air conditioning unit outside.

These are cycled switches, which means that the compressor will only be controlled for approximately 15 minutes out of each half hour, with the fan remaining on to keep cool air flowing.  We believe the end result will be significant power-cost savings for the Cooperative, with no discomfort to those whose homes are part of the program and have the switches installed.  If the program is successful in reducing costs and make sense to implement on a system-wide basis, we’ll communicate those plans to out members, we will include comments from those who participated in the pilot, and ask for additional volunteers.  MEC residential members who have a heat pump or central air-conditioning system and are interested in participating in the program, should contact their local district office.

Your Cooperative exists to serve member-owners and provides electric power at cost.  Whatever power-supply costs are saved by the Cooperative benefit our membership.  There are few businesses that encourage you to use LESS of the product they provide; we do because our goal is to have provide affordable electricity.  Please help us help you by being aware of your energy usage, operating your major appliances outside the peak periods, and setting a goal to “Beat the Peak.”


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