It’s Hot! Use Less of the Expensive, High Carbon Producing, Dirty Electricity...It's Doable Wellesley
It’s that time of year again! Time for beach outings, barbecue gatherings, and boat excursions as well as a critical time to be aware of our electricity use and its impact on our electric rates and the environment.
During the hottest days of the summer months, as we crank up our ACs, our system-wide use of electricity reaches the highest, ‘peak’ levels for the year. To meet the extreme electric demand, the grid operator—ISO-New England—turns to “peaker plants,” the power generators of last resort. These power plants are generally the dirtiest and most expensive, running on gas and oil and selling their power at extremely high rates. Peaker plants are only necessary for the highest demand hours, about 2 – 7% of the year in full. In the graph below, you can see how the grid ramps up power from oil and gas peaker plants as electric demand grows.
As demand grows, price skyrockets. At last summer’s price peak on June 30, wholesale electric prices per MWh were over ten times the average for the year. Peak hours have such a big impact on our electricity costs, that thirty percent of our electric bill is directly related to the amount of electricity Wellesley uses for just one hour during the entire year. That one hour is called the peak demand hour.
Peak electricity is expensive and dirty—but you can help. Sustainable Wellesley and the
Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (WMLP) encourage you to join the campaign to “shave the peak” this summer. The WMLP can usually predict when peak events will occur a day in advance, so you can plan to reduce demand during the hours of highest electric use.
Sign up for Shave the Peak alerts and receive notifications through email (send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject and body blank), or follow them on Twitter, @MLPWellesley, to know when an electric demand peak is anticipated. Then it’s as easy as turning up your AC thermostat a few degrees or delaying usage of electrical appliances such as car chargers, dehumidifiers, pool filters, or clothes dryers until after the peak. This minimal commitment offers you an opportunity to practice mindfulness not only for yourself but the environment too.
Help us meet our goal of reducing peak demand below our historic level! You can also track our campaign to reduce our peak on the WMLP website: Shave-the-Peak. After each peak event you can see how we did compared to our goal. Get your friends and family to join our campaign, and watch our peak shrink as your savings grow and Earth benefits.