Load Management

Load Management

Enabling a Smarter, More Sustainable Grid

Load Management encompasses each of Dairyland's four pieces of Sustainability: Financial, Environmental, Social and Technology. Through evolving technology, consumer-members are able to make a difference to help keep power costs stable for Dairyland and their local electric cooperative by using less electricity at the times when it is in high demand (and, therefore, most expensive).

Helping Your Wallet

The Load Management program helps balance the demand for electricity with the availability of generation, and the ability to economically purchase electricity. Dairyland and its member cooperatives save money by reducing the need to purchase expensive power during periods of high electricity demand. These savings are passed on to members through special incentives and stable rates.

Helping The Planet

As system-wide energy consumption grows (typically 1% to 2% annually), Dairyland pursues ways to accommodate growth by leveraging sustainable systems and technologies, such as the Load Management system.

Load management puts energy conservation to work through active management of residential, agricultural, and commercial and industrial loads. This can improve grid sustainability by better aligning electricity needs to the availability of intermittent renewable resources, such as wind and solar. Additionally, system-wide peak demands are reduced, which reduces the overall need for generation infrastructure.

Temperature extremes can create an enormous amount of demand on the energy system, resulting from increased air conditioner use in the summer and heating in the winter. Dairyland estimates activating the Load Management system can reduce demand for electricity by approximately 80 megawatts (MW) in the summer and 140 MW in the winter - the equivalent size of a small power plant. Consumer-members can provide additional help on hot, summer days by voluntarily shifting any flexible use of electric appliances and electronics to earlier or later in the day (before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m.) to reduce peak energy use. 

How It Works

Through the Load Management program, loads are turned off, cycled or otherwise modulated during periods of high electricity prices, peak demand or constrained energy supply. Peak hours typically occur between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. during the summer, and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the winter. The Load Management program is designed to accommodate many load types. Examples based on their category of service: 

  • Residential: water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps, electric heating systems, electric vehicles; 
  • Agricultural: irrigation pumps, grain drying systems, water heaters; 
  • Commercial & Industrial: Varies, but loads are usually managed with standby generation or self-directed load reductions. 

Control durations are time-limited and full automation is utilized whenever possible to ensure a balance of comfort and convenience for participating members. Coordinated strategies that leverage the energy storage capacity of hot water systems, or the availability of backup heat systems, allow most residential members to experience a seamless shift. 

Dairyland’s member cooperatives offer the Load Management program to their members. Incentives may be offered to residential and business consumer-members who participate in the program. Contact your local electric cooperative to learn about how you can participate.