Understanding Electricity Demand
Here are a few definitions to explain electricity demand and its connection to peaksaver:
Electricity System: includes the generation, transmission, distribution and consumption of electricity.
There are two types of electricity demand:
- Baseload Demand : results from continuous uses of electricity from such things in the home as refrigerators, freezers that are on continuously throughout the day.
- Peak Demand: During hot summer weekdays, thousands of central air conditioners (CACs) are all running at the same time, the demand for electricity is at its highest and is referred to as 'peak demand'. Typically, peak demand in Ontario occurs on weekdays between 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Supply can be increased but it is expensive and can increase costs and impact the environment. By signing up for peaksaver, you are helping to reduce the amount of electricity your home's CAC uses.
Demand Response: is a way to manage the demand from customers in response to the strain on Ontario’s electricity supply system. By adjusting air conditioners across the province, peaksaver helps shift the demand.
Once you are enrolled in peaksaver and the device (either thermostat or switch) is installed at your home, it can be remotely activated by your participating electric utility to slightly reduce your CACís electricity demand automatically. This wonít sacrifice your control or the comfort of your home. Activations would only occur:
- on those occasional steamy summer days when the electricity system can be stretched to its limit and electricity consumption is at its highest. When activated, your CAC will continue to cool your home, however, in half-hour timeframes your CAC will be adjusted on and off. For the first fifteen minutes it will continue to produce cool air and for the second fifteen minutes, the fan continues to run to circulate the cool air in your home.
- on weekdays (Monday through Friday) from May 1 to September 30.
- for a maximum of ten activations during the summer and only for a total of four hours during any one activation. In 2008, peaksaver was activated only five times.
- your systemís fan will continue to operate so that there is only a 1° or 2° change in temperature of your home
- You can always opt out in advance of a specified date by contacting your participating electric utility.
- The devices and installation are free and your participating electric utility is there to help you should you have any questions.
Most participants note that they do not even feel a change in the temperature of their home.
Looking for more ways to reduce your electricity demand?
During times of peak demand, here are simple steps you can take to reduce electricity demand:
- Wait until after 8 p.m. in the evening to run large appliances such as washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers.
- Run your electrically heated above-ground pool pump for just 12 hours per day (between the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.) instead of around the clock.
- Turn off all of the unnecessary lights around your home.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs – they use 75% less electricity and last 10 times longer.
- In the summer, set your central air conditioner to 25° C when you are home and to 28° C when you are away for the day.
- Use ceiling fans to help circulate the cool air and make you feel cooler when you are in a room. In the summer the blades should rotate to move the air down to help produce a cooling breeze. In the winter, air should be moved upwards towards the ceiling to disperse the warm air that tends to accumulate there and distribute more evenly in the room.
- If you have an old secondary refrigerator that you rarely use, arrange to have it picked up for free.
- When properly set, your programmable thermostat can help reduce your heating and cooling cost by up to 10%.
- Use an outdoor clothesline to dry items instead of your dryer. It will save you money and make your clothes smell great.
For more ways to save electricity and money, please check out our TIPS.