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Load Management


Load management is a program used to control the power to residential water heaters, central air conditioners and off-peak electric heat.

To help reduce electric demand and control costs to our members, controlling is done when market prices are extremely high (economic control) or when peak electric demands are at their highest (capacity / demand control).  As the demand for electricity increases, the ability to control loads is becoming more valuable to our members.  By controlling electric loads during peak times, we are able to avoid purchasing power on the open market, which is considerably more expensive during demand periods.

Notification of Load Control:
Would you like to be notified by e-mail or test message when your electric heat will be controlled? Click here to sign up for notifications.

2017 air conditioning control times so far:  
None so far as of 6/7/17

Why do we need load management?
When we reduce energy use during peak demand times, we forestall the need to build new, expensive electricity generation facilities and transmission equipment to meet your electrical needs. Load management also provides for more efficient use of the facilities we have, which helps keep rates affordable.

How is electricity controlled?
Controlling is done with a Comverge (approx. 6” x 8”) or Entek (approx. 2” x 4”) radio receiver with indicator lights.

• Green lights indicate power to the receiver.
• Yellow lights indicate control of A/C and electric resistant heat, such as baseboard and heat pumps.
• Red lights indicate control of water heaters and storage heat such as Steffes thermal storage heaters and Marathon® 105-gallon water heaters.

If your radio receiver is a Scientific Atlanta or a General Electric model please call (800) 421-0283, ext. 595, to schedule an update to a digital receiver at no cost.

What are the hours my equipment is controlled?
Full load control typically takes place when demand for electricity is peaking in the midwest. Economic control takes place when the market price is too high to pass onto the membership. See the chart below for anticipated control of air conditioners and electric heat loads that are not currently being controlled 14 hrs/day. If you are not sure how your control is set up, call 800-421-0283 ext. 595 and we can provide that information based on your off peak loads.

Will I run out of hot water?
Under normal conditions, you should not run out of hot water. If you do, please call Polk-Burnett, 800-421-0283, ext. 595. We can help diagnose if you are having a problem with the water heater or if the problem is related to the control time.

How often and how long will my heat be off?
Members with electric resistance heat (baseboard or heat pumps) and no storage or fossil fuel backup heat, can expect to be without heat for up to four hours during a control period.
Members with an automatic backup heating system can expect to be off for up to six hours during a control time.

What can I expect when my air conditioner is being controlled?
Air conditioners participating in load control with be cycled every 15 minutes throughout the control time.  Meaning the air conditioner will be cycled 15 minutes on - 15 minutes off - 15 minutes on - 15 minutes off each hour for the length of the control period.

What if there are no lights in the radio receiver?
This is typical during the overnight hours or if the breaker that powers your load management device is turned off. Otherwise, there is always a green light displayed in the radio receiver window indicating everything is working properly. If at any time power to the radio receiver is interrupted, power to the water heater is delayed seven and one-half minutes after power is restored to the receiver.

How many times has my interruptible heat been controlled during the last couple of heating seasons?
Interruptible heat 2A/2B/2W are electric heat loads that have an automatic backup heat source and are controlled up to 6 hours.  Interruptible heat 4B are loads of electric resistance heat with no automatic back up heat source and are controlled up to 4 hours.
2016 2017 season. - So far 2A/2B,2C - 5 times for a total of 24.5 hours, 4B - 4 times for a total of 12 hours.
2015-2016 season - Interruptible heat 2A,2B,2C were controlled 4 times for a total of 20.5 hours and interruptible heat 4B was controlled 4 times for a total of 12 hours.
2014-2015 season - Interruptible heat 2A,2B,2C were controlled 9 times for a total of 37.5 hours and Interruptible heat 4B was controlled 8 times for a total of 21 hours.  

How many times has my air conditioner been cycled over the summer?
2016 - Air conditioners on load control were cycled on 14 different dates for a total of 56 hours - 6 of those days, full load control, cycling between 1 pm and 5 pm.  the other 8 days, economic control, cycling after 6 pm.
2015 - Air conditioners on load control were cycled on 10 different dates for a total of ~39.5 hours - 7 of those days, full load control, cycling between 1 pm and 5 pm.  The other 3 days, economic control, cycling after 6 pm.

Summer economic control will occur the months of  May to October when needed.  Estimated number of economic control times for summer 2017:

Control Class Planned  # of Control Events Estimated Control Window
Small Water Heaters 10 7 pm - 11 pm
Large Water Heaters 10 6 pm -  midnight
Dairy Water Heaters 2  6 pm - 11 pm
Central Air Conditioners 20 6 pm - 10:30 pm

Full load control events will occur during the months of June, July, and August.  Targeted number of full load events will be minimum 1 per month, maximum of 4 per month, with a maximum of 9 full load control days for the season.  Full load control times will be from 2 pm to 6 pm.  (this is a change from last year's times)

Commercial and Industrial accounts please contact Polk Burnett for control times.

If you have any questions regarding control times or frequency of controls or to sign up for load control notifications please contact Polk Burnett 800-421-0283 ext. 595 for further details.

Click below to see if you are currently being controlled:

For more information, call member services ext. 595 or via e-mail.


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