Demand Response Programs Saved Crucial Electricity During Heat Wave


As electricity producers struggled to supply power during last week’s heat wave along the U.S. East Coast, so-called “demand response” programs — which enable power companies to remotely reduce power usage in participating businesses and homes — were vital in avoiding blackouts, utility officials said.

The Wall Street Journal reports that as electricity usage in New York state set a record on Friday, demand response programs produced energy savings equivalent to the output of two large power plants, just as the state was running dangerously low on power.

Demand response programs enable utilities to dim lights, turn down air conditioners, and delay freezer-defrost cycles in the freezer cases of stores. Participating businesses and individuals get credits on their utility bills. Numerous states have demand response programs, and federal officials say these programs are capable of cutting peak U.S. electricity demand by 72,000 megawatts, or 9.2 percent.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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