What is peak demand?
In the energy business, "load" is the amount of energy a system is using at any given time. During the year, the amount of energy needed — or the "energy demand" — fluctuates depending on weather conditions or business hours of commercial or industrial customers. When demand for electricity is at its highest, that's called a "peak" period.
Think of "peak energy demand" like a busy grocery store on the day before a holiday or a Saturday afternoon. The store is extremely busy with long lines of people checking out. Every single checkout lane is staffed because there is a high demand for groceries at that time.
But visit the same grocery store on a weekday afternoon any other time of the year. There are fewer customers in the store, and most of the time a single checkout lane is sufficient. However, the store is prepared to meet the demands of customers on those few busy days each year.
That's the way it is with generating electricity. Power plants are built to ensure an adequate supply of electricity is available to serve customers on the busiest — often the hottest or the coldest — days of the year.
Every customer shares the load on the system to some degree every single day. Demand Conservation allows customers to share the load at times during heavy demand or peak usage.
What is a Demand Conservation device?
The Demand Conservation device is a radio receiver mounted on your home and connected to your central outdoor air conditioning unit. Once installed, it is used briefly to interrupt your air conditioner's cycles on "peak" summer days to help manage energy demand. Customers participating in the program report that they feel little or no difference in their home's temperature on the days we control. In short, Demand Conservation helps keep down the costs of generating electricity on peak demand days. To thank you for your participation, customers receive a credit on their electric bills during the summer months (June, July, August and September).
Who will install my Demand Conservation device?
Our business partner, Itron, installs our devices. Itron specializes in the installation of these demand-saving devices and maintains all of the necessary licenses, permits and insurance. They have a proven track record of providing high-quality installations and superior customer service.
How do I sign up to get my Demand Conservation switch?
You can sign up online or by calling us toll-free at 800-356-5467. Renters need prior Landlord/Property Owner consent for participation.
When will I receive my first credit on my energy bill if I have the Demand Conservation device installed?
The first June, July, August or September energy bill you receive after the device is installed will include the monthly credit of up to $3 per device. Please allow several days after the installation for us to process your paperwork.
How will my Demand Conservation device work?
During periods of peak energy use in the summer months, a radio signal is sent to your device to activate it. This signal will interrupt the flow of electricity to the compressor on your air conditioner or heat pump for a few minutes each half-hour. Your fan will continue to run if your thermostat calls for cooling, circulating the cool air already inside your home and keeping you comfortable.
Does that mean my home will get hot?
You should notice little, if any, difference in your home's indoor air temperature. Our experience has been that customers see little difference in overall comfort level. Programs similar to this have been implemented by other large electric utilities since the early 1980s, and customers rarely, if ever, notice any difference in their indoor air temperature.
What should I do if I get hot?
The temperature in your home should not significantly change during a Demand Conservation event. So, if your home gets warm, first check the program website to see if we are having a cycling event by checking our Program Facts. During an event, the inside temperature should only change a few degrees. When the event is complete it may take a while for your home's internal temperature to go back to the target temperature. The recovery time really depends upon the age of your HVAC system, the size of your home, and many other factors.
If your home feels warmer than usual, then there are a couple of things you can do to check to make sure your A/C is working properly:
- If you have one, place a hand-held thermometer near an air vent and if the temperature is 10-15 degrees cooler than the temperature indicated on your home thermostat, then your A/C is definitely working.
- Check your air filter to ensure it is clean and not restricting air flow.
- If you believe it is related to the Demand Conservation device, call us at 1-866-857-2665. Typically, we can troubleshoot the problem over the telephone and either solve the problem or send one of our technicians. Of the few calls we have received, more than 90% of the problems that have been identified are related to something other than the device.
How do I know if my A/C is running properly?
When the outdoor temperature reaches 95 degrees, a correctly designed air conditioner should be able to keep the temperature at the thermostat about 72 degrees indoors. As the temperature goes above 95 degrees outdoors, the temperature at home should increase about 1.5 degrees for every degree the outdoor temperature goes above 95. When the outdoor temperature reaches 100 degrees, the air conditioner should run non-stop and maintain an indoor temperature at or below 80 degrees. If the house stays at 72 degrees indoors, when it is 100 degrees outdoors, the air conditioner is most likely oversized. Great for when it is 100 degrees, but creates high indoor humidity conditions the remainder of the year. The one exception is for households with two-stage air conditioners. A properly sized air conditioner should run constantly when it is at or above 95 degrees outdoors. [Source: Aire Serv LLC, Ask-the-expert, HVAC Tips and Tricks]
How often will my device be activated?
We will call for activation only on summer days when demand for electricity reaches a peak. Typically, this will occur for a few hours during the late afternoon and early evening for no more than 20 days all summer. We will not activate your device on weekends or holidays unless there is an extreme system emergency.
How long will it take after I sign up to install my device?
This can vary depending on the time of year and the number of customers who have signed up for the program.
Do I need to be home for installation?
In most cases, you do not need to be home for an A/C installation. Installation scheduling is not required unless barriers (dogs, locked gates, etc.) block our access to your A/C. We will leave a packet of information for you when we install the device.
How do I know if my device is activated or is working properly?
A red, amber or yellow light will show in the window on front of your device when it has been activated. This light will stay on during the few minutes that electricity is being interrupted to the compressor. When the light goes out, electricity has been restored to the compressor, and cooling will continue. This process will repeat every thirty minutes during the period the device is activated. If you see a green light on, off or momentarily flashing, it means the device is testing itself. Please don't hesitate to contact us at 1-800-356-5467 anytime you have a question about your device.
What if my heating and air conditioning service technician recommends I have my device disconnected?
While we have attempted to educate heating and air conditioning contractors about the Demand Conservation program, on occasion, they may recommend your device be removed or disconnected. Please have your service technicians call us at 1-800-356-5467 before allowing them to proceed with disconnection or removal. We have worked with the equipment manufacturers during the design of this device and program, so you can be assured your device will not damage your air conditioner or heat pump in any way and will not affect your equipment's warranty.
Exactly how does my device cut power off to my air conditioner compressor?
The device is connected to the low voltage wire that goes from your thermostat to your central air conditioner's compressor. The device turns off the compressor just as if you had manually adjusted your thermostat to turn the air conditioner off for a few minutes. It's that simple.
I'm having a new air conditioner or heat pump installed in my house. What should I do?
Please call 800-356-5467 to let us know. We will arrange to have your device installed on your new central air conditioner or heat pump.
What if I have more than one central air conditioning unit at my home or business?
You will receive up to a $3 credit per summer month for each central air conditioner or heat pump you have at your home or business.
What should I do with my Demand Conservation device if I move?
Please call us at 800-356-5467. We can arrange for a device to be installed on the unit at your new house.
What if I have an old programmable thermostat that was installed by LG&E or KU as part of the Demand Conservation Program?
The program where LG&E and KU installed thermostats is no longer active. Please see below for steps that you can take if you are having issues with the thermostat based on the type of thermostat that you have.
The Honeywell brand thermostat installed by LG&E and KU is no longer supported. If you are having issues with your thermostat, please contact the manufacturer, Honeywell, and they will assist in answering your questions. Honeywell can be reached toll-free at 800-468-1502.
For more information on this thermostat, please visit Honeywell's product website.
If you have an LG&E or KU-installed White Rodgers brand thermostat, please contact us at 800-356-5467 and select '0' to speak to an Energy Efficiency representative.
For any other LG&E or KU-installed thermostat, please contact us at 800-356-5467 and select '0' to speak to an Energy Efficiency representative.