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Efficiency Vermont, GMP Look To Curb Electricity Usage During 'Peak' Demand

A first-of-its-kind program set to launch this summer is aiming to conserve electricity, and cut ratepayers’ bills, by getting consumers to dial back on electricity use when demand is at its highest.

The new program from Efficiency Vermont will use 35,000 randomly selected residential customers of Green Mountain Power to test how heightened information about electricity usage will impact consumer behavior.

The participating customers, told of their involvement via postcard this week, will get notifications when GMP anticipates a “peak event” – generally hot summer days. It’s on those high-demand days that the cost for electricity is at its highest. And it’s also when “there is more strain on the power grid due to higher electricity usage,” according to Jim Merriam, director of Efficiency Vermont.

Efficiency Vermont will alert selected customers not only with the hours during which they anticipate the peak event to occur, but with “low- and no-cost guidance for reducing their energy usage” during that time.

Those same customers will then be contacted by phone or email after the peak event, and get information about how much energy savings their conservation efforts yielded, and ways they could improve next time.

“Our priority is to make sure that customers have the right information and tools to empower them to take action to reduce energy usage during the summer,” Merriam said in a written statement.

Efficiency Vermont says there could be as many as five peak-event days between mid-July and the end of the September.

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