Thank you! During recent record-setting temperatures, you stepped up and helped prevent possible outages by reducing your energy use. Did you know you can get rewarded for that?
Extreme temperatures create an increased demand for electricity, especially during the evening when people typically return home from work, turn up the air conditioner, and run dishwashers and other appliances. Reducing energy use during these times alleviates stress on the grid and PGE equipment, helping the company continue to provide reliable power to customers throughout the day.
As you can see in the charts below, when we asked customers to reduce their energy consumption, they showed up and made a big difference – reducing power demand by approximately 90 megawatts on Monday, Aug. 14 and 96 megawatts on Tuesday, Aug. 15!
Just over 20 percent of PGE residential customers are enrolled in one of PGE’s energy shifting programs – Peak Time Rebates, Smart Thermostat, and Time of Day. But clearly more than that are conserving energy when the call goes out to reduce use.
As the Pacific Northwest continues to see recording-breaking summer and winter weather, we encourage you to enroll, if you haven’t already, and get rewarded for reducing energy use during times of high demand.
And, while our customers were doing their part…
At PGE we were working diligently on several fronts to address or prevent potential heat related issues and lower demand, including:
Adding extra cooling systems to help keep essential distribution equipment from overheating.
Assigning extra crews for the week to make sure we can quickly and effectively respond to any outages.
Activating Peak Time Events for our Peak Time Rebate and Smart Thermostat program participants.
Encouraging commercial and industrial customers to reduce electricity use.
How much electricity did PGE customers use during this heat wave?
PGE customers used 4,436 MW of electricity on Monday, Aug. 14 and 4,353 MW on Tuesday, Aug. 15. On Wednesday, , PGE customers set a new record for energy demand at 4,498 MW. The previous record was reported on June 28, 2021 at 4,441 MW.
Did customers experience outages during the heatwave?
High demand places extra stress on electrical equipment in our system, and that can lead to power outages. Despite the extreme temperatures, PGE’s system performed as expected. At the peak of the hot weather event (Monday -Tuesday), fewer than 5,000 customers experienced outages.
Why was there a second drop in demand on Tuesday at 5 pm?
PGE has several energy shifting programs that encourage customers to shift their energy use. On Tuesday, these programs were dispatched in two waves – one starting at 4 p.m. and the other at 5 p.m. As a result of customers taking action, including participating in these programs, we saw two waves of customer reduction.
Why is PGE encouraging customers to conserve energy during peak demand hours?
Extreme temperatures create an increased demand for electricity from customers. High temperatures also create extra stress on the grid and equipment. As a result, PGE takes every action possible to ensure systems are ready to perform during periods of peak demand – one of these is encouraging people to conserve.
Why does PGE need customers to reduce power demand – can’t you get it from other regional power providers?
PGE participates in regional energy markets, coordinating with other power providers to source energy from throughout the West to meet customer demand. We’re always planning – months, weeks, days, and even hours ahead – to forecast demand and secure power to meet those needs.
Often, when Oregon or the Portland-Salem metro areas are experiencing high heat, so is much of the West. We’re able to source energy from other parts of our region, but high heat puts strain on the entire region.
High heat also places strain on equipment – the poles and wires that carry power to customer homes, and the feeders and transformers located in neighborhoods. By reducing demand during those peak times, we’re alleviating some of that stress from the electrical infrastructure, helping it perform more reliably.
How do PGE’s energy shifting programs work? How many customers participate and when do the programs kick in?
PGE’s energy shifting programs reward customers for reducing their energy use during times of peak demand. (These include Peak Time Rebates, Smart Thermostat, and Time of Day programs). Extreme temperatures create an increased demand for electricity from customers, especially during the evening when people typically return home from work, run their dishwashers and other appliances, turn on the oven, etc. Reducing energy use during these times helps alleviate stress on the grid and our equipment, helping us continue to provide reliable power to customers throughout the day.
PGE will call a demand-response event when we anticipate higher demand for electricity – typically on very hot or very cold days when energy use is high. Customers enrolled in these programs are alerted so they can take action and participate. These actions are making a big difference, and we encourage customers not already enrolled to sign up.
Customers enrolled in Time of Day pricing save money by using less energy from 5 – 9 p.m. weekdays on a consistent basis.
More than 22% of our customers – about 180,000 residential households – are already enrolled.
Did PGE take extra measures to reduce energy consumption at its facilities?
The PGE facilities group has worked hard to create highly efficient buildings, from the building shell to the technologies that operate within it, to reduce our carbon footprint and energy consumption. We have also begun using renewable resources such as solar. We currently have two facilities that are net zero in terms of energy consumption: the Sherwood Training Center and the Portland Operations Center garage. We are nearing the end of a large project at Salem Operation Center that includes optimizing the building's exterior envelop and installing 420KW of solar to reduce our energy consumption at this site by 40-50%.
The Integrated Operation Center, our newest facility, was designed with sustainability in mind. This facility generates around 485KW of solar energy and includes battery storage technology that can be used for IOC resiliency or by Grid Operations for peak load shaving, frequency reserves, and contingency reserves.
This year, we are also analyzing and prioritizing all other sites as part of a multi-year solar/ renewable technology initiative to deploy solar and other sustainable technologies across our portfolio.