Participating in the program is pretty easy. A representative of the co-op will set up a time to come to your home and install a small, box-shaped device to your air conditioner, water heater, or even your pool pump. Then, when the region’s demand for electricity spikes, we send a signal to the switch, which, in turn, lowers the appliance’s use. Window-mounted air conditioning units do not qualify for the switch or credit.
Why does Steuben County REMC have this program?
PowerShift is one important way to keep costs lower for all members of the co-op. If we can simply shift our electricity use to a different time of day, we lessen the need to build additional and expensive power plants. If we experience a high-demand event, our costs increase substantially. It is basic supply and demand.
But, if we team up as co-op members to shift when we use electricity, we can keep the grid strong and manage the cost of power. So, we’d like every member to sign up for PowerShift because it helps make electricity more reliable and affordable for everyone for years to come.
How does the PowerShift program work?
After you enroll in the program, a switch is added to your air conditioner, electric water heater or pool pump, based on program availability and your preferences.
For air conditioners, the device allows us to briefly cycle on and off the outside condenser unit, while the fan inside your house remains running to help maintain comfort inside. The cycling event only occurs on days of very high demand for electricity, when electricity use and costs spike. However, we do not control units on weekends or holidays.
What’s in it for me? Why should I sign up for PowerShift?
For your help in controlling costs, cooperatives offer a variety of program incentives. For each installed switch on an A/C unit or pool pump, you will receive a $15 bill credit added to your June, July and August bills for a total savings of $45 annually. Water heater sales are significantly discounted at time of purchase to account for electricity savings.
How frequently does the switch get activated?
We require one test event each summer, so we can evaluate how well the switches are working, but typically, we average between one to three times per year.
Will I experience discomfort during the time when the switch is activated?
For the A/C program, when an event occurs, the cycling will usually last four to five hours. During this time, your home’s temperature may rise 2 to 4 degrees.
For the electric water heater program, your water heater continually stores hot water for your use, and most people do not feel the effects during an event. If you should deplete your hot water supply, it would be replenished after the event has ended.
Will the equipment cause damage to my A/C, electric water heater or pool pump?
No, this equipment and technology has been used for decades and does not damage equipment. The switch uses a low-voltage wire to connect devices and will not impact the operation or maintenance of your unit. You should, however, inform your maintenance technician that you are participating in the program, so the switch is not accidentally disconnected.
How does the PowerShift program impact the reliability of my electricity?
When an area doesn’t experience a brown-out or a black-out for quite a while, it is easy to take electricity for granted. But sometimes, in a high-demand situation, demand can surpass supply. And, of course, that’s when costs rise, too. That’s when we need you most!
If I have a switch put on my A/C, is there anything I need to do with my thermostat as a result of this program?
No, you don’t need to lift a finger. But if you hire a contractor to service your air conditioner, please let that person know you are in the PowerShift program, so the switch is not accidentally disconnected.
Who should I call if I have a question or if I am ready to get started?
Call your local energy advisor, Josh Durbin at Steuben County REMC, at 260-665-3563. He has helped hundreds of members like you join the PowerShift program.
Am I really making a difference?
Absolutely! The more people who sign up for the PowerShift program, the greater the impact. Members who have already signed up for PowerShift are our heroes, because you are helping us keep wholesale power costs down. Any time we can respond to a high-demand situation in a planned and economical way, we keep electricity affordable and reliable for us all.
Do I need to sign up again if I enrolled in previous years?
No, once you have signed up you are automatically enrolled in future years,
unless you opted out.