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Groton Electric curbs load, saves some customers nearly $100 annually through demand response


From the February 13, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 13, 2013

An experimental demand-response program at the Groton Electric Light Department in Massachusetts saved nearly $100 per year for participating customers.

With no industrial customers and low commercial load, Groton Electric had been looking for a project to make a dent in its peak demand since 2007, the utility said. Groton Electric serves about 4,500 customers in Groton, Mass. The majority of customers are residential, while about 400 are commercial. 

With fixed rates, customers have no reason to change their use patterns, but aligning retail electricity prices with wholesale market costs can give customers an incentive to use power when its price is lowest, the utility said in a report filed with APPA. Thus, in 2008, Groton Electric embarked on a study of residential demand response triggered by wholesale electric prices.

Groton partnered with Sequentric Energy Systems LLC in 2010 to test the cycling of residential cooling systems at different price points and load conditions. The system supplied by Sequentric provides a two-way meter reading and time-of-use rates. Groton Electric found Sequentric’s product at the annual APPA conference in 2010. The utility’s evaluation of the system lasted through the summer of 2011.

The system operated "flawlessly" during the pilot project, which involved 10 homes, Groton Electric’s manager, Kevin Kelly, told NC Tech News in 2011.  An additional 21 homes were added to the pilot in 2011. The project was completed in 2012 with an estimated savings of nearly $100 per year for customers who participated.

Groton Electric’s research was supported by a $9,500 grant from APPA’s DEED (Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments) program. Details of the research are published in the final report for the project, which is posted in the DEED Project Database.

A more detailed news story about the project appears in the Winter issue of the DEED Digest. The DEED Project Database and DEED Digest newsletter are both available to all DEED-member APPA utilities.

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