JEA offers a program to encourage customers to reduce their energy consumption during peak hours

JEA customers will be encouraged to reduce their energy consumption during peak periods, including limiting the use of multiple appliances, to save money on their bills and reduce demand on the power grid.

These customers would pay less during off-peak hours and more during peak demand periods to encourage more efficient usage. JEA staff will propose a pilot program to assess opportunities for the utility and its customers at a board meeting on Tuesday. The board would be required to convene a tariff hearing, likely on February 21, allowing JEA to move forward with the pilot this spring.

“A demand rate can provide residential customers with more control over their bill by managing what devices they use and when they use them, thereby reducing their use of the network itself,” CEO Paul McElroy wrote in a note. to the members of the board of directors. “This pricing structure also closely aligns with our cost of service.”

Chief financial officer Melissa Dykes said the scheme, JEA SmartSavings, would give people more control with some “small behavioral changes”.

Peak hours are noon to 7 p.m. during the warmer months, April through October, and 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. November through March. Weekends and holidays are excluded from peak hours.

Ryan Wannemacher, director of financial planning and analysis, said it’s hard to generalize about how much a customer could save because people’s energy use is so individualized and varies widely. He said the pilot would help determine possible savings for customers.

When asked, Dykes said a bill under the Peak Demand Program might be higher for a customer depending on usage, but the tariff is designed so that JEA’s total revenue remains neutral.

Through research, Wannemacher said, JEA was able to determine that bills are often lower during periods of heavy use in the summer and higher during months like spring when customers don’t run their air conditioners as often. . He said bills would be more stable.

Participants would see two rates on their monthly bills: $3.75 per kilowatt hour for off-peak usage and $4.90 per kilowatt hour during peak hours. The basic monthly charge, the environmental charge and the fuel charge would not change.

The first phase of the pilot project would be limited to 150 customers and would focus on customer experience, concept communication and “customer acceptance,” the CEO wrote to his board. JEA employees who volunteer and other interested residential electric customers would participate in the initial phase.

The second phase would target 2,000 customers with a focus on collecting “statistically meaningful” data on customer behavior and “load changes that can ultimately be used for rate setting for full rollout to all customers. wrote McElroy. This phase would include customers “chosen to represent the population of all residential electric customers,” according to a presentation included in Tuesday’s board meeting agenda.

If approved by the board, JEA would launch the first pilot this spring and continue through the end of the calendar year with the second pilot in 2018. If the pilot is successful, JEA would roll out SmartSavings in 2019 and 2020. Wannemacher said implementation would require system upgrades and changes.

Dykes said it’s not certain at this time that the full rollout will affect all customers or those who commit to it. She said a lot would be determined by the pilot.

JEA staff have been working on a residential demand rate for the past 18 months.

“By managing how and when you use energy, and avoiding peak times, you can reduce your energy demand – which means a lower electricity bill,” according to an Agenda presentation. of the board meeting.

The current rate structure for residential customers has been in use for 100 years.

“Although a demand rate has been used for commercial and industrial customers for decades, it is a new application for residential customers and requires testing,” McElroy wrote.

Dykes said JEA has used a similar structure for years with commercial clients. She said a few utilities have tried the demand structure with residential customers with success largely dependent on communicating with customers. During the pilots, Dykes said, JEA will communicate with customers about the program and ways to better use it while asking for feedback on how people understand the program.

Dykes said reducing extremes in power consumption could reduce or delay the need to build more electrical facilities and generate more electricity, which would save money for the city-owned utility. By law, JEA and other utilities are required to have sufficient power to meet peak demand at all times.

There are peaks and troughs in power consumption and this system seeks to even out those peaks and troughs.

Sebastian Kitchen: (904) 359-4161

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