Since air conditioners use so much energy, the PowerHours adjustment helps the power company lower peak demand.
“If it's a peak day where the system is stretched, we can save some electricity,” said PSO spokesperson Derek Lewellan. “But if it means we don't have to build a power plant or buy some extra energy, it saves everybody money.”
PSO started the PowerHours program to dial back consumption on the few days a year when power plants are at maximum output.
It's only activated between June and October, generally Monday through Thursday when energy usage is high.
Customers who sign up give PSO some control of their thermostat, and they get a few dollars off the bill.
PowerHours Program Information:
- PSO has 9,000 customers in the program.
- PSO has bumped up their thermostats 6 times so far this year.
- It's a maximum four-degree adjustment during the late afternoon.
- Customers can turn it back, but most leave it alone.
"Eighty-five percent of the customers are participating,” Lewellan stated. “Only 15 percent have said, ‘well it doesn't work for me today,’ so they opt out. The only difference is they don't get the credit. But 85 percent participate, and they save money with a bill credit and it reduces loading on our system."
The installation of "smart meters" and newer thermostats makes the new program possible, which PSO continues to promote, hoping more customers will be attracted to saving a little energy and cash in the summer.