CPS Energy rewards schools for conserving enough energy to power 17,000 homes

CPS Energy paid $336,845 to five local school districts, colleges and universities for using less electricity. The educational institutions participate in CPS Energy’s Demand Response (DR) program, which aims to reduce the overall demand for electricity in San Antonio and on the state grid.

Demand Response, a voluntary load curtailment program for commercial and industrial customers, was implemented 17 times this summer. A total of 210 commercial customers reduced a combined 68.2 MW of electricity in CPS Energy’s service territory, or enough power for 17,000 homes.
The program is part of CPS Energy’s Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan, which focuses on reducing 771 megawatts of electricity by the year 2020, postponing the need for a new power plant.
Demand Response rewards commercial businesses and educational institutions for implementing energy conservation measures. Participants earn money for the amount of energy they are not using, keeping costs low for all CPS Energy customers.

“Providing affordable electricity to our customers is a priority for us,” said Frank Almaraz, CPS Energy’s vice president of corporate development and planning. “Our demand response programs play a vital role in allowing us to achieve that through energy conservation efforts, which delays the expense of a new power plant.”

“As a leader in sustainable energy in the higher education area, Trinity University was looking for ways to reduce the amount of power we use on a daily basis on our 117-acre campus. When CPS Energy approached us about participating in the Automatic Demand Response program on a pilot basis, we saw it as a concrete way to reduce our energy consumption, save money, and help the environment in the process. We are proud to be part of this program,” said Gary Logan, vice president of finance and administration at Trinity University.

Here’s how Demand Response works:

  • CPS Energy account managers introduce commercial facilities to the program.
  • A CPS Energy contractor performs an energy audit, identifying areas and equipment where energy conservation could be improved.
  • CPS Energy installs metering equipment used to calculate load reduction for rebate payments. This equipment is provided at no charge to the participant.
  • When energy demand is high and with two hours’ notice, CPS Energy alerts businesses of the need for energy reduction. Managers of the facilities begin making adjustments to A/C or other systems to shed a predetermined amount of electricity. For customers on Automated Demand Response, CPS Energy can remotely implement the curtailment process at the facility–within minutes, if necessary.
  • Commercial customers are paid based on the amount of electricity they conserve. An average of 50 kilowatts (kW) of curtailable load is necessary in order to participate in the program.
  • Demand Response helps lower energy consumption statewide, minimizing the risk of rolling blackouts that can occur when energy demand exceeds supply.

Commercial and industrial customers interested in participating should contact their CPS Energy account manager or send questions to [email protected].

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