GREEN = NORMAL CONDITIONS
Your cooperative is currently experiencing normal energy demand. No special energy saving measures are necessary.
YELLOW = APPROACHING PEAK
Your cooperative is currently experiencing elevated energy demand. Special energy saving measures may be necessary in the near future.
RED = PEAK ALERT
Your cooperative is currently experiencing peak energy demand. Please save energy wherever possible.
Peak Alerts: Why They Matter to You
Just as you can get a cheaper airfare by catching a red-eye flight, using energy when fewer folks are pulling power out of the electric grid generally costs your co-op—and ultimately you—much less.
There’s a certain amount of energy we all use, regardless of whether we’re at home or away. Refrigerators, air conditioning and heating systems, and other steady appliances create base load power requirements—the minimum amount of power your co-op needs to reliably supply all of its members.
Of course, we all have energy use patterns—television shows to watch, dishes to wash, etc. Lots of consumers tend to use electricity during the same “peak” periods—in the morning to warm up the house and get kids ready for school, and in the afternoon after work when a home lights up with power-draining activities. And then there’s the interval between these two extremes.
Why Timing Matters
Why does Access Energy Cooperative carefully monitor member energy use or “load” patterns? Our price for wholesale power rises and falls depending on the type of fuel (coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, etc.) used to generate electricity, which largely depends on the time of day when power is used. For example, generating baseload power with coal costs far less than starting up a natural gas peaking plant to meet peak electricity consumption on hot, humid summer weekday afternoons or extremely frigid winter mornings.
Here’s a quick look at the types of power plants and fuels used to supply electricity at various times:
- Baseload: These are large, efficient generating stations providing enough dependable electric power at a low cost to meet the minimum level of electricity needed at any given time. They do not start or stop quickly, and instead are run around the clock. Power sources include coal, nuclear, hydro and large natural gas-fired power plants; in some regions, biomass and geothermal power stations.
- Intermediate Load: These plants handle sharp increases in demand, filling the gap between baseload plants and peaking plants. Also know as load-following plants, these facilities are larger and therefore more efficient than peaking plants. Power sources include natural gas and coal.
- Peak Load: Though expensive and small, these plants can start generating power quickly during times when electric consumption reaches its highest point. Power sources include natural gas and diesel fuel.
Help Us Keep Your Bill Affordable
Access Energy Cooperative remains committed to providing you with affordable power, and there are some costs we can control with YOUR help. As an owner of Access Energy Cooperative, you can help if you reorganize your energy-related tasks so you use less during a peak period.