Enhanced technology allows for automated adjustments before severe weather events occur
JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. – As technology for smart thermostats continues to improve, Jackson County REMC is studying ways to maximize these devices’ efficiency and cost saving opportunities for its member-consumers. The REMC recently completed an 18-month pilot program – in collaboration with Hoosier Energy and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association – (NRECA), involving 200 of its members.
The pilot program identified several opportunities to reduce energy consumption, particularly during peak demand periods, which results in lower costs. Participants were instructed to program their thermostats accounting for seasonal weather changes. Jackson County REMC leveraged the system utilizing its fiber to the home smart grid network to automate energy consumption for demand response and other electric load shifting programs, essentially preparing and adjusting for extreme weather events before they occur.
“Mitigating peak demand and associated charges is key to maintaining low electricity rates for our member-consumers,” said Mark McKinney, CEO of Jackson County REMC. “We’re also a trusted energy advisor, constantly exploring ways to collaborate with our members.”
The pilot program resulted in an average per-home demand reduction of 0.94 kW during summer events and 1.9 kW during winter events.
Although the thermostats are connected to a larger system, which allows distribution co-ops like Jackson County REMC to adjust settings during an event, the co-ops do not have ultimate control. Member-consumers have complete override capability and can take over their settings at any time.
Hoosier Energy, a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative, provides electric power and services to 18 not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative owners throughout central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois, including Jackson County REMC. The 18 cooperative members serve more than 760,000 consumers.
“We’re seeing a shift from traditional ways of controlling energy demand,” said Blake Kleaving, Manager, Energy Management Solutions at Hoosier Energy. “From the basic on/off switch on an air conditioner or a water heater, to this smart thermostat. Smart, connected devices give member-consumers more options to monitor and control electricity consumption.”
Hoosier Energy and Jackson County REMC have plans to expand the smart thermostat offering. Jackson County REMC will offer additional thermostats to members who subscribe to their broadband Internet service and hopes to continue to offer the thermostat at no charge. Hoosier Energy is examining how it can expand the pilot into additional member cooperatives to allow members who already have or want thermostats from other vendors to participate.
About Jackson County REMC
Jackson County REMC is a rural member-owned essential services cooperative. We serve approximately 20,000 members in 10 counties. Our headquarters is in Brownstown, Indiana. Located in beautiful southern Indiana, our system encompasses good farming areas as well as scenic rolling hills. We are a nonprofit cooperative. This means that no stock is owned, and no dividends are declared. However, Capital Credits are created when revenue exceeds expenses. Capital Credits are returned to the membership based on Board approval.
About Hoosier Energy
Founded in 1949, Hoosier Energy is a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) with headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana. The G&T provides electric power and services to 18 member distribution cooperatives in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. We are a community-focused organization that works to efficiently deliver affordable, reliable and safe energy. Collectively, our 18 members serve more than 760,000 consumers. Hoosier Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information, visit www.hoosierenergy.com.