OPPD demand response program exceeds expectations

A program that steadies air conditioning use for residential users during peak times has seen success in Omaha Public Power District.

Through the program, a customer’s air compressor switches off for about 15 minutes at a time when electricity demand is at peak.

“I’m quite comfortable when the temperature in the house is 75 during the day,” OPPD customer Shirley Stadler said. “And I don’t notice any difference on those days when the system cycles on and off as part of the program.”

OPPD launched the program full-scale in March 2012 after testing it for two years with 100 utility employees.

OPPD initially launched the program with a participation goal of 10,000 customers per year but exceeded its goal in the first year by 1,500 customers. The utility said it expects to sign up another 10,000 customers by the end of 2013.

Through the program, management events occur a maximum of 12 days per year and never on weekends or holidays. Participants can opt out two days per year by giving the utility 24-hour notice. The utility conducted 10 management events in 2012 and had conducted 11 by the end of August 2013.

In 2012, the program reduced demand by 17.2 MW, 2.2 MW more than expected and one-third of the utility’s goal. With a total of 21,500 at the end of 2013 the program is expected to reduce peak demand by 32 MW. OPPD estimates that if 50,000 customers sign up by the end of 2016, the utility can achieve demand reduction of 75 MW.

Read more about the pilot program that led to OPPD’s air conditioning management program in the Public Power magazine article, “Customer Power,” on publicpower.org.

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