How to Be Prepared for a Demand Response Event

Dec 8, 2015 11:30:00 AM by NuEnergen

article_icon.jpgWinter is here, and that means that most of us will have our furnaces and heating systems running almost non-stop. Whether you're relying on a forced air heater for your entire business or electric radiators for space heating, the warmth of you and your employees will come at a cost. We're not just talking about the numbers on your monthly energy bill, either; the entire electric grid is impacted.

Consider for a moment just how many individuals and businesses throughout your locale will be reliant upon any form of electric heating this winter. If everyone is using power at the same time, the risk for brownouts and blackouts increases, leaving you in the dark and in the cold. 
Thankfully, utility providers have come up with ways to combat the problems associated with peak demand before they wreak havoc on the whole grid. Through demand response programs, customers like yourself get paid by reducing their energy usage during peak hours. 
There's more to this than simply switching off the power, though. In order to save money while keeping your organization efficient and comfortable, you need to follow a few simple tips:
Set Energy Reduction Goals
If you hope to be successful with your role in demand response, you need to have a solid idea of how much energy consumption you'll need to reduce. A good demand response program representative will work with you to predetermine this amount upon enrollment. This will ensure that you are able to monitor how well you are staying on track with your usage and whether or not you're meeting your goals.
Create a Plan for Energy Reduction
You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? The only way to meet your energy reduction goals is to establish an action plan for doing so before a demand response event occurs. You'll need to think about when and where you'll make adjustments. For example, you might plan to shut down power to an entire factory wing while moving employees to a different line during a specified period of time. Perhaps you'll heat up the building to a higher-than-normal temperature during off-hours and utilize natural sunlight to help maintain temperatures and minimize lighting expenses. Knowing what steps to take will ensure that you're ready when an event occurs.
Select Which Machines Will Be Adjusted
Certain machines can and should be turned off during a demand response event. As you consider the machinery throughout your building, you'll realize that major energy consumers can be found at every turn -- elevators, compressors, and chillers are among the primary culprits and can easily be addressed to decrease electricity usage. Next come HVAC and lighting systems. Be sure to prioritize which machines should be adjusted based upon your operational needs.
Determine Who Will Be Involved
Any action plan needs to have a decision maker who will be responsible for ensuring that the plan is executed and followed as intended. It's wise to select one key person to act as the point of contact for your demand response plan, but choose several backups in case he or she is not available.
Track It
Don't make the mistake of simply assuming that your plan is effective. You'll find that most demand response programs will offer a metering program that will enable you to monitor your electricity reduction in real-time. This will help you to hit your target and will provide you with a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that your participation has made a difference. 
Want to know more about demand response and how to be prepared for an event? The professionals at NuEnergen can lead the way.