Jeff Hymas talks about Rocky Mountain Power’s Cool keeper program.
Unlike water and natural gas that can be stored, electricity must be used at almost the same time it is produced. Consequently, Rocky Mountain Power has to have generation in place sufficient to meet our customers’ combined electric needs at any point in time.
So, in order to keep prices lower and match electricity supply with demand, it’s necessary for Rocky Mountain Power to work together with customers to manage energy use – particularly peak energy use.
There are a lot of ways to do this – and when Rocky Mountain Power talks to customers about limiting their electricity use during peak-use hours, that’s one way the company works to manage demand.
But another way is to actually enlist customers to volunteer to let Rocky Mountain Power help them manage their electricity use. That’s where the Cool Keeper program enters the picture – and it’s a very important part of managing electricity demand during the hot summer months in Utah.
What is Cool Keeper and how does it work?
When a customer enrolls in Cool Keeper, Rocky Mountain Power connects a device next to their exterior central air conditioning unit. On a few selected weekdays during the summer, Rocky Mountain Power can automatically coordinate participating air conditioners to help manage the demand for electricity.
It’s the equivalent of getting an entire neighborhood together to reduce demand at the same time – only it happens automatically. Here’s how it works:
The Cool Keeper device receives a signal from Rocky Mountain Power to turn a participant’s air conditioning compressor off for a few minutes each half-hour during selected weekday summer afternoons. Many people don’t even notice a difference in the temperature of their home. But when you combine those few minutes with the few minutes of other Cool Keeper participants, it really makes a difference in the demand for power.
How can a person participate in Cool Keeper?
Signing up for Cool Keeper is easy – customers can do it over the phone or online.
When a customer decides to participate, Rocky Mountain Power comes to the customer’s house and connects the device to the outdoor electric AC unit. As an incentive to participate, customers can currently receive a $25 bonus just for signing up – and all Cool Keeper participants receive an annual credit on their power bill to say “thanks” for helping to manage demand.
It’s really that easy – and participating in the program does so much to help the entire community.
How much of a change will customers notice when they sign up for Cool Keeper?
Many customers don’t notice a change at all. Typically, there can be a change of between one and three degrees, but the AC fan unit continues to run during the times the compressor is shut down – and it only occurs for a few minutes every half hour.
Also, the program only runs on weekdays through the summer – not on weekends or holidays. And if a customer ever needs a day when they don’t want to participate, participants can call and opt out for a certain day. The program is intended to be as easy to live with as it is to sign up for.
How can people learn more?
All of our wattsmart programs and tips are detailed on our website: www.wattsmart.com.
Plus, you can find all the information you need on Cool Keeper – and even sign up to participate – at wattsmart.com as well.