Louisville, KY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 25, 2009 – Six months into Louisville Gas & Electric Company’s (LG&E) pilot program that uses smart meters, smart or demand response appliances, and a tiered-pricing program, results reveal participants are choosing money saving options.
The program tests the use of “smart” appliances to help offset energy costs when higher prices are implemented during peak usage times, generally from 3-8 p.m.
Pilot participants were a select group of GE employees living in the LG&E Louisville market. They were provided with a suite of GE smart appliances – or demand response appliances – to replace their standard appliances. In most cases, this included a refrigerator, range, microwave, dish washer and laundry pair. In addition, LG&E installed a programmable HVAC thermostat in the participants’ homes, as well as a smart utility meter.
The smart appliances receive a signal from the utility company’s smart meter which alerts the appliances, and the participants, when peak electrical usage and rates are in effect. In the pilot program, the signal word “eco” comes up on the display screen. The appliances are programmed to avoid energy usage during that time or to operate on a lower wattage; however, participants can choose to override the program.
“This pilot program gives us the opportunity to incorporate our customers’ feedback on how to manage the very critical issue of peak energy demand and supply,” said Chris Hermann, senior vice president, Energy Delivery at LG&E. “We believe we are learning a lot from this pilot about how to accomplish our objectives. This will result in managing our energy better and reducing the need to construct more power generation facilities – which is better for us, our customers and the environment.”
Some of the examples of savings are that the refrigerator delays the defrost cycle from occurring during peak hours and goes into energy saving mode, microwave ovens power down slightly by reducing wattage used when operated during peak hours, and the ”smart” dishwasher and laundry can delay starting the cycle to off peak times.
Notably interaction with the dishwasher and laundry appliances has been noted as the most challenging by the participants.