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Energy Management Program

At Orange County REMC we are always developing new ways to help you reduce electric costs. We offer a program to our members that would allow the REMC to install a switch that can remotely operate both your electric water heater and central air conditioner or heat pump during times when demand for electricity is at its peak. (The switch is only used to cycle water heaters and cooling eqipment, never heating equipment.) An electric peak comes most often during a stretch of very hot or cold days as demand for electricity increases. During this time of increased use, Hoosier Energy might be forced to purchase additional power on the volatile power market. Avoiding the need to purchase additional power will in turn keep your rates low. The information below will help you understand the program.

If you would like to participate, fill out this form, and you will be contacted by an Orange County REMC customer service representative to walk you through the process.

Everyone can save.
Because peak demand has a large influence on energy rates, the Energy Management program operates to prevent Orange County REMC from exceeding our system peak. Utilization of EM can also benefit Orange County REMC and Hoosier Energy, our power supplier, by reducing or delaying the need for new construction (i.e. substations, larger conductor, power plants) therefore reducing costs for our members. Operation of the Energy Management system can also help eliminate the need for rolling black outs during emergency load curtailment events.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions to help you further understand Energy Management:

What is Energy Management? 
Energy Management (EM) systems are used to reduce peak electricity demand during periods of high energy use. In today’s energy environment of skyrocketing costs, peak periods of energy use are also the times when wholesale electricity costs the most. Reducing energy use during these times will help reduce costs for REMC and our members.

Why do we control?
Demand is a measure of how much power is used at a given time. Turning off the power to an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system or water heater reduces demand. The purpose of an EM (Energy Management) program is to prevent Orange County REMC from exceeding a predetermined amount of power consumption at any given time – the system peak. Our wholesale electric rates are determined by the total amount of power we receive and by the combined affect of all member loads at the time of the system peak. Each time a new peak occurs, the demand charge on our power bill increases. Member bills are eventually affected by these demand charges because if REMC pays more for power, it is inevitable we have to increase rates to cover the cost.

How do we reduce demand?
The principle method of reducing demand a few days each month is through operation of an EM switch. FM radio signals sent from radio station WUME turn off power to water heaters and HVAC systems when a new system peak is likely. The switches are activated for a maxiumum of 15 minutes over a half hour, usually late afternoons in summer and the early mornings in winter on the hottest or coldest weekdays of the month. Tank type water heaters are capable of holding their heat for an extended period, so there is no inconvenience to the member. The circulating fan on the air conditioner or heat pump continues to operate during control periods keeping members comfortable. When fully operational, the EM program will result in considerable savings for REMC and our members.

What is the goal of the EM program? 
The program will help Orange County REMC better manage our costs, conserve energy, reduce the need to build new power plants, help the environment, and lessen the impact of rate increases. By participating, REMC members allow the installation of an EM switch to control their water heater and/or HVAC system during times when the demand for electricity is near its peak.

How does the EM switch work? 
The switch is activated by an FM radio signal sent from radio station WUME in Paoli. The switch is connected to the water heater and/or HVAC system and it is operated for up to three (3) hours on the hottest or coldest days of each month. Because water heaters act as storage devices, members should experience no loss of hot water. When HVAC system compressors are cycled for brief periods (15 to 30 minutes each hour), the blower fan continues to circulate air during that time to maintain home comfort. LED lights on the EM switch show when the switch is in use. The switches are solid state and do not make noise when in use.

What are the benefits? 
Utilization of the EM program will reduce demand charges on our wholesale power bill. In the long term, these savings will result in lower electric bills for our members. Participating members have the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to control energy costs and reduce the need for expensive new construction. There is no charge for the switch, REMC installs the switch and maintains the system at no direct cost to the member and we will remove the switch at any time a participating member becomes dissatisfied with the Energy Management program.

How do I sign up? 
Just fill out this form, and you will be contacted by an Orange County REMC customer service representative to walk you through the process.


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