P3 in Action: Maryland’s Energy Suppliers and the MEA Drive Down Energy Consumption
Lower than average temperatures this winter have placed strains on the energy grid as a result of increased energy consumption. Arctic temperatures cause consumers to use more energy causing a strain to both the electricity grid and an individual’s finances. During this winter’s storms, PJM Interconnection, operator of Maryland’s electricity grid, utilized National Public Radio, Facebook and media outlets to encourage consumers to safely reduce energy usage during peak hours to prevent blackouts and keep prices lower than they would have been otherwise.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration and the Maryland Energy Administration are working with PJM Interconnection and Maryland’s energy suppliers to reduce stress on the grid and drive down consumption. In 2008, the O’Malley-Brown Administration passed the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, requiring the five major Maryland utilities to implement programs to reduce electricity consumption by 15 percent per capita by 2015. Through EmPOWER Maryland, utilities offer programs to help encourage peak demand reductions and energy efficiency. More than 23,000 Marylanders participated in peak demand reduction programs during Q4 2013. The EmPOWER Maryland peak demand programs, combined with peak demand savings from energy efficiency programs, led to increased demand reduction of 399 MW through the end of 2013. The substantial uptick in peak demand reduction seen during Q4 2013 was the result of favorable results from Pepco’s dynamic pricing program, which provides financial incentives for customers to reduce their consumption when demand on the grid is the highest. The other utilities also are rolling out dynamic pricing programs, which will lead to further energy efficiency and demand reductions when they are most needed.
For more information about financial assistance with home heating and energy bills, visit the Department of Human Resources website.
Demand Savings include reductions in demand from the utilities’ demand response and energy efficiency programs.