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5 Helpful Tips to Best Prepare For a Demand Response Event

demand-response-tipsThe summer is now in full swing! If you live up near our headquarters in Buffalo, NY, it means we finally get to change our snow tires and joyfully send the snow scraper back to the trunk where it belongs. For everybody else, kicking back and enjoying the sunshine is pretty rewarding, too.

For Energy Curtailment Specialists Inc., the summer also represents the time of year when the potential for strain on the electric grid is a constant concern. Brownouts, blackouts and voltage fluctuations can cost manufacturers thousands of dollars in damages and/or production time. Fortunately, if your company participates in our program, you receive advanced notice for these concerns and your company actually has a great opportunity to make money!

Before participating in a demand response (DR) emergency event, double-check important equipment and resources. This is the best way to ensure a DR event goes smoothly and lucratively for everybody involved. But don’t worry – you won’t have to go at it alone!

ECS is available toll-free at 877-711-5453 or by email at customer(at)ecsgrid(dot)com, and we have you covered with five valuable tips for participating in a demand response event.

Remember Your Reduction Amount

This is fairly straightforward, and your reduction amount should be established long before an event occurs. A customer’s reduction represents the ultimate factor in determining a customer’s capacity payment for every DR season. It’s a good idea to save information about your reduction amount and action plan where it can be easily accessed on an event day. This way you’ll never have to guess how much energy you need to reduce.

Know Your Reduction Strategy

Knowing how your company is going to achieve curtailment is as important as knowing the amount to be reduced. ECS helps you assemble a reduction action plan during the enrollment process. In many cases it can be as simple as flipping on a generator or adjusting a building management system at the right time to reduce. Periodically rehearsing your strategy with staff or our energy experts is a wise decision and May/June are ideal months to do so.

Know Your Equipment

Executing a reduction strategy requires reducing the right pieces of equipment. By understanding the electric draw of each machine, it’s much easier to implement a reduction strategy that maximizes energy reduction while minimizing impact on daily operations. Gadgets like variable frequency drives, for example, are great for reducing large quantities of electric draw with little loss in productivity. The devices that generate a lot of heat (e.g. a blast furnace at a plastics manufacturer) or cooling (e.g. a chiller at a cold storage facility) use the most energy, and are often the first machinery to consider for industrial facilities. HVAC systems, elevators, water pumps and lighting are considered for other businesses like hotels and large residential buildings.

Educate the Necessary Staff

In addition to a manager that’s well aware of a reduction action plan, it’s important to spread this information to staff members involved with participating in a demand response event. In the instance that a supervisor is unavailable before or during an event, having knowledgeable co-workers available who understand how and when to reduce energy is vital and makes the event process much smoother. Considering how many employees decide to use vacation time in the summer, a company should best prepare the right people to perform throughout the season.

Monitor Your Smart Meter

Every facility involved in a demand response program has a smart meter installed to their facility to track electricity use. ECS has technicians who come out to manually inspect many meters throughout the year, but malfunctions do occur on occasion. Especially if your facilities have undergone electrical work in the past year, it’s recommended to either double-check the meter manually or reach out to ECS for additional attention before a DR event takes place. That way ECS can diligently solve any metering issues beforehand, ensuring your performance is cataloged and you’re compensated appropriately for your electric reduction. Read more about smart meters here.

If you’re already involved in our demand response program, thank you for your participation and we hope these tips can assist in making your efforts easier this summer and the years ahead. If you have any questions or concerns to share, or if your facility is interested in taking part in our demand response services, do not hesitate to contact our Buffalo headquarters at 877-711-5453 or visit ecsgrid.com for more information.

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