An innovative effort to help large energy users better manage their energy use and gain efficiencies at times of peak electricity demand is receiving high praise.
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency for sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship, has selected the On Demand Savings program as the winner of its 2018 Inspiring Efficiency Award for Innovation.
The On Demand Savings program, launched in 2015 by Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) and Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program, identifies low or no cost strategies for business and other large customers, such as schools, to control their energy use during times of high electric demand when the system is being used the most by all customers. More than 30 customers have participated in the program and received incentives for shedding electric use during the high demand, or on-peak, summertime period.
Through the program, customers gain a greater understanding of how on-peak demand charges impact their utility costs. Large customers that use a significant amount of electricity within short periods of time pay a demand charge, in addition to their basic charges for electric service. To have qualified for the program, a facility must have monthly electric demands of 20 kilowatts or greater and an existing energy management system.
Demand savings programs like this one serve to benefit all customers by reducing long-term costs. If we’re able to lower peak demand – when everyone is using the system at maximum capacity – we can avoid the cost of building additional generation and infrastructure to meet that peak demand.
How On Demand Savings Works
Energy experts from Focus on Energy and MGE work with each organization and its unique facility and energy needs to identify the best strategies to shed electric load for maximum cost savings. Seeing their energy usage monthly, daily, hourly and in 15-minute intervals through an online “dashboard” gives customers the ability to better control their energy use during on-peak times.
“This partnership with Focus on Energy and program participants is one way that MGE works with customers and shares information to improve energy efficiency,” explained Don Peterson, MGE Assistant Vice President – Strategic Products and Services. “Increasing engagement with customers around energy efficiency and conservation is a key objective in MGE’s Energy 2030 framework for a more sustainable future.”
On Demand Savings started as an 18-month pilot program from June 2015 to September 2016. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved a request to extend the program through 2018. More information about the program is available at mge.com/ODS.
About Madison Gas and Electric
MGE generates and distributes electricity to 149,000 customers in Dane County, Wis., and purchases and distributes natural gas to 154,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE’s parent company is MGE Energy, Inc. The company’s roots in the Madison are date back more than 150 years.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, conserve natural resources and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit www.focusonenergy.com.
Steve Schultz, Corporate Communications Manager
Focus on Energy Contact:
Casey Langan, Senior PR & Media Relations Specialist