PSO Testing New Device To Take Load Off Oklahoma Grid

Tuesday, June 7th 2011, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Public Service of Oklahoma is gearing up for one its busiest times of the year. The hot weather brings an increase in energy usage, but a new program is designed to help keep it under control.

The familiar air conditioning unit is being paired with a new device from PSO. Its goal is to help conserve energy.

When the summer sun peaks, the temperatures raise, your air conditioning unit kicks on and your home cools down. That means the energy grid gets a workout in the summertime.

Homeowners in a new program get a small device attached to their a/A/C unit that controls the compressor.

When the energy usage is at its highest PSO cycles the compressor off. Air will still circulate through your home, it just won't be cold.

It's not activated every day, only when the electrical grid that connects to your house is getting overworked. Mary Jackson is coordinator for PSO's Cool Rewards program.

"There's nothing homeowners have to do, there's nothing I have to do it automatically cycles it and after the conservation mode is over it shuts and goes back to its normal operation," Jackson said.

Right now this is just a pilot program and only 2900 customers across the state have signed up. But PSO says if it's well received and the homeowners like it they'll make it available to all its customers.

Kim Rolston has signed up for the program. She's getting her DCU installed later this week.

"I've got a six and a seven year old and we're always talking about conservation and ways that we can improve the environment. We just play around in the backyard, and I thought this would be something tangible that I could show my kids," Rolston said.

PSO wants to be clear; the unit does not control your thermostat. It cycles the compressor off to ease the stress on the energy grid.

"We're just hoping to limit the energy usage on that particular part of the day, your comfort level in your home should only change one to two degrees at the most," Jackson said.

Customers who have signed up for the trial run will get a $25 check at the end of the summer. PSO says it's still taking interested customers, but because it's only a trial program, you may not be able to get a unit.