Energy control (sometimes referred to as direct load control) is a program in which our customers can choose to participate to take advantage of lower rates. It’s a true partnership between our customers and our company because it:
- Allows customers to buy electricity for 30 percent to 50 percent less than the price of our standard (uncontrolled) service rate.
- Helps us reduce and better manage the load on our lines—and avoid unplanned and high-priced energy purchases.
Below are typical questions that we hear about energy control.
Only customers who have signed up to save money with special off-peak rates are subject to Otter Tail Power Company's automatic energy control. About 40,000 (or about one-third) of our customers participate in one of these rates.
During an energy-control event we send a radio signal to a receiver installed near the customer's off-peak electric meter. The radio signal activates a switch, which turns off the connected equipment. When demand conditions improve, a second radio signal returns the equipment to normal operation.
Energy control most often is required:
- When a large number of our customers use a lot of electrical devices at the same time, creating periods of high demand for electricity. These periods historically have occurred during extreme weather conditions. Just think of those frigid winter days when your heating system runs often—or those hot and humid summer afternoons when your air-conditioning system is working overtime!
- During testing or emergency periods. For example, while our crews are restoring power after a storm.
- When we need to buy energy to supplement or replace the power that our own generation resources produce. If energy on the wholesale market is selling at higher prices, we control to reduce demand and to control costs—which helps to keep our service affordable.