Consert recently drafted a white paper about their Virtual Peak Plant™ technology and how it’s been implemented for CPS Energy.
See below for an excerpt or click here for the full paper – http://www.consert.com/resources/consert-vpp-key-to-diversified-energy-portfolio/()
With more than 700,000 electric and 300,000 gas customers, CPS Energy in San Antonio, Texas is one of the largest municipal utilities in the United States. While CPS customers enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in the country, the City of San Antonio and CPS Energy, under the direction of CEO Doyle Beneby, have set aggressive goals for energy efficiency and diversification of their generation portfolio.
The objective is not only to prepare the city for continued growth (currently the 7th largest city in the country), but also position San Antonio as a leader in the new energy economy and bring more high paying, high-tech jobs to the river city. CPS Energy recognizes that to be sustainable it must balance financial viability,
commitment to the environment and social responsibility to the city.
Implementing a Virtual Peak Plant
To reduce peak load, overcome the intermittent nature of renewable sources and address conservation goals, CPS Energy engaged Consert Inc. to provide the Consert Virtual Peak PlantTM (VPP) solution to 140,000 residential and light commercial facilities (with appliances under 50 Amps) to achieve a savings of approximately 250 MW. As part of the agreement, Consert relocated its headquarters from Raleigh, NC to San Antonio.
“CPS Energy’s pursuit of diverse resources to generate electricity is what will allow us to keep our customers’ bills among the lowest of major cities in the U.S.,” states Doyle Beneby, CEO of CPS Energy. “By partnering with Consert, we’re adding a Virtual Peak Plant to our resources – helping our customers control how energy is used in their homes and reducing their bills. After all, what’s cheaper or cleaner than demand reduction as a generation resource?”
by Tony Di Giosia
As the dog days of summer find much of the country in sweltering heat, there are still ways to cool down, while keeping an eye on saving money and conserving energy.
Following are some tips that can lead you on the road to saving money and saving the planet without sacrificing comfort.
Let your air conditioner rest while you are at work: Did you know that your air conditioner represents about half of your electric bill during the summer? Turning off your A/C system when you leave the house makes the unit work twice as hard to cool your home back down. But many of us forget to turn the thermostat up when we leave the house. Why keep the air conditioner at a lower temperature in the heat of the summer when no one is home? That’s where a company like Consert steps in. Consert is currently working with utilities in Texas to install home energy management systems, which allow consumers to conserve energy and save money as they manage their energy usage online. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes in the U. S. that have air conditioning units use about 5 percent of all electricity produced in the country at a cost to homeowners of more than $11 billion. Each home with an air conditioner releases into the air an average of two tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Other ways you can beat the heat and save money when the A/C is running:
• Have regular, professional maintenance performed on your A/C system at least once a year, especially prior to summer when the unit works the hardest and you need it the most
• Change your A/C filter once a month. A good way to remember is to change it when you receive your electric bill
• Make sure your outside A/C unit has plenty of breathing space. Avoid enclosing or covering the unit and keep plants and other vegetation at least 18 inches G away
• Do a visual inspection of A/C ducts to make sure they are sealed properly and not leaking
• Contact your utility to ask about an energy audit for your home
Decrease hidden costs that are underwater: What we tend to forget is that electric water heaters are a major energy consuming device in our home. In fact, statistics show that electric water heaters can account for 14 to 25 percent of your electric bill. Some quick tips to save and conserve are:
• Reduce shower time
• Check for leaky faucets and pipes inside and outside
• Limit running water when washing the dishes or brushing your teeth
• Lower the water temperature
• Insulate your water heater tank and hot water pipes
How about turning off your electric water heater when you don’t need it? Monitor and control your water heater’s electrical use with Consert’s energy management program to set personalized profiles that reduce your electricity usage without any loss of comfort.
Dip into the pool not your wallet: Saving energy and still maintaining a comfortable swimming pool temperature can be as easy as using a smaller, higher efficiency pump and by operating it less. In a study of 120 pools by the Center for Energy Conservation at Florida Atlantic University, some pool owners saved as much as 75 percent of their original pumping bill when they implemented energy conservation measures. You can do the same by taking into account the following:
• The larger the pump, the greater your operation and maintenance costs – so you’ll want to use the smallest size pump possible for your swimming pool.
• Pool pumps often run much longer than necessary. Reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to only four or five hours.
• Make sure the intake grates are always debris-free.
What we’ve learned is that homeowners who monitor and manage their major energy consuming devices such as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and pool pumps save 15-20% on their electric bill. Consert’s energy management program provides the ability for you to take control of your energy usage based on your lifestyle and realize the potential of double-digit reduction in energy use without any loss of comfort, which ultimately will lead to greater savings on your utility bill and reduced impact on the environment.
Tony Di Giosia is the director of marketing for Consert Inc., an intelligent energy management company based in San Antonio, and an expert in customer recruitment and retention. Consert plans 140,000 installations in homes in San Antonio and is working with CPS Energy to reduce peak demand by 250 megawatts using Consert’s patented Virtual Peak PlantTM solution.
You’ve just created the next big thing in the way of conservation programs – what now?
Let’s face it. We live in a communications era that is changing by the minute. What that means for brands is that they must increasingly find more clever ways to break through the noise to not only promote their products and services but also keep their customers engaged.
For utilities that means going beyond the meter and inviting two-way communication through the use of social media. Social media is about people and the voices behind them. It’s about story-telling and the “we” not the “me.” Social media is built on content, contribution, shared interests and passions, engagement, listening and community.