Savings add up for Delmarva and Delaware Electric peak power plans

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Delaware Electric Cooperativeannounced that its Beat the Peak program has saved members $27 million. The program recently celebrated its 10thanniversary.

The cooperative serves customers in Kent and Sussex County. The territory has seen rapid growth as new homes are built in the two property tax- friendly counties.

The voluntary program has a home energy indicator that uses a yellow light to let customers know when the cooperative is nearing a peak period, with the light moving to red when entering the period that has the system buying more expensive electricity. Alerts are also available.

Delaware Electric is part of Old Dominion utility cooperative that operates generating plants, including the recently opened Wildcat Point site about 25 miles west of the Delaware line in Rising Sun, MD. The natural gas-fired plant aims to keep electric costs down for member cooperatives by reducing the need for higher-priced power on the wholesale market.

Delmarva Power reports its customers have saved $12 million through its Peak Savings Days program.

The program, whichgot underway in 2013, can include a system that cycles down air-conditioning during peak periods through a smart thermostat or a device on the heat pump or other unit.

Customers can also opt for notifications of peak energy days and times.

Delaware Electric offers users of the NEST smartthermostat abill credit during the summer in return for the ability to send a signal to the HVAC system that controls the temperature by a few degrees.

Despite recent boutsof hot weather, utilities and cooperatives have seen relatively fewpeak days, as base power supplies remain ample as business and residential customers take steps to conserve energy through new windows, smart thermostats, low-power lighting and other measures.

Solar power is also entering the picture in Delaware, which is under a mandate to get a quarter of its electricity from alternate sources in coming years.

The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility also offers loans, energy assessments and other services. The utility recently approved low-interest-rate loans for energy efficiency work at the Hercules Plaza building in downtown and a loan for a solar array at a Delaware poultry farm.

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