Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Help JCPB Take A Load Off

The Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) is preparing to launch a new program designed to help our utility/community reduce our local demand for electricity during peak usage times. Coined Take A Load Off (TALO), the program utilizes remotely controlled disconnect switches installed on customers' appliances known for their high demand for electricity. TALO will make its debut on JCPB customers' water heaters. Tank water heaters have been chosen for their unique ability to act as energy storage devices; they are able to provide the comfort and convenience of hot water at one time after having used electricity to heat the water at an earlier time.

TALO water heater switches will afford JCPB the ability to send out a command to participant's water heaters which will postpone the reheating of water during peak usage times. For example, let's assume that the majority of JCPB customers use hot water shortly after waking each morning. After sitting idly through the night, their water heater tanks are full of hot water which is readily awaiting the many showers and baths so many of us use to begin our days. Once that water is used, the water heaters refill and begin to heat the influx of cooler water as its heating elements switch on. However, as this water is heating the majority of us will be eating breakfast, getting ready for work/school, and heading out the door. Consequently, most of us will not have a need for hot water again for several more hours. It is during times like this when JCPB hopes to activate TALO water heater switches to postpone the reheating of water for a short time to help reduce electricity demand.

During winter months when our morning routines include the rewarming of our homes, demand for electricity is often very high creating great demand for electricity across the entire Tennessee Valley. These times of highest demand are known as peak demand events. A peak demand event may require Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to bring additional electricity generating plants online or purchase electricity from a third party. These solutions are both costly and inefficient and could easily be avoided by simply shifting some of the associated usage to another time of day.

While the amount of electricity saved by turning off just one water heater's elements is relatively small, thousands of TALO participants would afford JCPB the ability to realize significant reductions in demand during peak usage times. With enough customer participation TALO will help reduce JCPB's wholesale electricity costs, thus reducing our customers' electricity costs. However, the best thing about TALO is that JCPB is offering this opportunity free of charge. In fact, not only will we pay for the equipment and installation of the TALO direct load control switches, but we will even pay a $50 cash incentive to any of our qualifying customers who agree to sign up. All you need to qualify is to be the owner of your property with an electric water heater that has no less than a 40 gallon capacity.

So what's the catch? There isn't one! To get additional information, or to sign up to be a part of our Take A Load Off program, please call JCPB's Marketing and Energy Services department at (423) 952-5142.

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