Utility Update | City Facilities Recognized for Participation in Demand Response

On Thursdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) will post a graphic, map, news, or research about Utilities here in Philadelphia.

UtilityUpdate-2013-12-12-DemandResponseDashboard

We all know that using less energy means lower bills, but did you know that by using less electricity during the warmest days of the year the City of Philadelphia can earn money? On December 3, Mayor Nutter and members of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability recognized 11 city facilities for their efforts to reduce electricity demand last summer, which together earned the City of Philadelphia $413,000.

On hot summer days, intensive use of air conditioning leads to spikes in electricity demand. For example, during summer months, Philadelphia’s municipal buildings demand roughly double the electricity they do in the winter. High demand for electricity across a region increases risk for brownouts (temporary voltage dips) and blackouts (power outages). As a result, electricity transmission organizations offer financial incentives for large commercial and institutional users to adopt “demand response” measures during the hottest days. Reductions in peak electricity load allow providers to avoid tapping into more expensive and less efficient means of electrical generation while also protecting against outages.

This summer the City of Philadelphia had two chances (July 18 and September 11) to earn money because of a strained electric grid. On those two days, 19 of the City’s facilities reduced electricity demand by turning off building air conditioning, shutting off escalators and working with building occupants to reduce individual consumption. These activities took place for several hours on both days.

At last week’s event, the City recognized the following facilities:

  • Philadelphia Water Department Southwest Water Pollution Control Plant, for achieving the largest absolute drop in load of any City facility enrolled in the region’s demand response program this year.
  • PWD’s Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant, for achieving the second largest absolute drop in load of any City facility enrolled in the region’s demand program this year.
  • PWD’s Queen Lane Pumping Station, for achieving the third largest absolute drop in load of any City facility enrolled in the region’s demand response program this year.
  • City Hall, for achieving the largest absolute drop in load of any facility enrolled in the region’s demand response program this year within the General Fund or Aviation Fund .
  • Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center, for achieving the second largest absolute drop in load of any facility enrolled in the region’s demand response program this year within the General Fund or Aviation Fund, and for achieving the City’s third highest percent reduction compared to the facility’s total load.
  • Free Library of Philadelphia Central Library: For achieving the third largest absolute drop in load of any facility enrolled in the region’s demand response program this year within the General Fund or Aviation Fund.
  • Family Court: For achieving the City’s highest percent reduction compared to the facility’s total load.
  • Criminal Justice Center: For achieving the City’s second highest percent reduction compared to the facility’s total load.
  • Municipal Services Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Detention Center, for outstanding continued participation in peak load reduction. Since 2010, these facilities have steadily reduced their peak demand numbers on high demand days.
Mayor Nutter with (L-R) Mardi Ditze (MOTU), Kristin Sullivan (MOTU), Rich Reinert (Art Museum) and Adam Agalloco (MOS) at the December 3 PJM Demand Response Recognition Event. Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photograph by Mitchell Leff.

Mayor Nutter with (L-R) Mardi Ditze (MOTU), Kristin Sullivan (MOTU), Rich Reinert (Art Museum) and Adam Agalloco (MOS) at the December 3 PJM Demand Response Recognition Event. Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photograph by Mitchell Leff.

2 Responses to Utility Update | City Facilities Recognized for Participation in Demand Response

  1. Some clarification is needed. You call it earning, but are we sure it’s not actually just “saving?” Were the facilities exempt from paying for electricity on those days AND given financial incentive? If not, what you’re saying would seem to be misleading.

  2. motuphila215 says:

    Both! Facilities were given a financial incentive to save and also actually saved money on their electric bill. The $413K quoted was money that was earned (not saved) because of the City’s ability to minimize their impact on the grid on days when it was particularly strained. It is worth it to the electricity provider to actually pay us to decrease our load on those days instead of them having to start up other sources of electricity or risk a brown out / black out. Let us know if you have any other questions?

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