Power Saver Rewards FAQ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Load Management?
Load Management uses a small control switch which cycles power to an appliance or motor. This switch is connected to your appliance. You voluntarily give Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative the permission to interrupt power for short periods of time in exchange for a monetary bill credit.
How does Load Management Work?
If you choose to participate, Blue Ridge technicians install a smart switch on all or one of either an air conditioner or electric water heater in good working order. By enrolling, you agree to help ease high electricity demand by allowing Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative to do the following:
- to "cycle" your air conditioner on and off from time to time, typically during the summer months when electricity demand is at its highest.
- to "cycle" off 100% of the electricity to your water heater during periods of peak demand. Any water already in the tank should remain hot. However, new water will not be heated until the cycling event is over.
How long will the Appliance be off?
Water heaters will be turned off for the entire time load management operates. Air conditioner compressors will cycle off for a short period of time during each half hour during the operation of load management; however the fan will continue to run. The cycling of power to the air conditioner compressor will allow the unit to operate normally for a portion of each half hour, allowing the home to maintain a comfortable temperature during load management.
How does the Power Saver Rewards program decrease your electric bills?
When you participate in this program, you will begin receiving money-saving credits following installation of the Smart Switch. In addition to bill credits, the program will help reduce Blue Ridge Electric’s demand for electricity, which will result in electricity prices that are lower than they would otherwise have been. Moreover, reducing peak demand for electricity delays the need to build additional expensive power plants and is good for the environment by reducing emissions.
What are Peak Hours?
Peak hours are the hours during the day when our use is the greatest. Typically during the winter months peak demand occurs between 6 - 9 AM. And during the summer months the peak hours typically occur between 3 – 8 PM. During these hours many more members are at home, actively using hot water and air conditioning.
How will I know when the switch is activated? Is it possible to bypass the switch?
The switch has an LED light display window on the front. A blinking green light shows the switch is powered up and the red light indicates the switch is operational, indicating the appliance that is participating in Power Saver Rewards program is being cycled. The switch cannot be over ridden or bypassed from your home. If the switch needs to be deactivated for maintenance/service work, please call us at 800-240-3400.
Who qualifies for Power Saver Rewards Load Management program?
Non-renting residential members served by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative in our test area. Blue Ridge will cycle air conditioners, heat pumps and water heaters. Window unit air conditioners without a duct system do not qualify for the Power Saver Rewards program.
Will I be inconvenienced?
No. The member rarely notices the switch has operated. The water heater is typically cycled off for the whole peak period. The tank's reserve of heated water should supply plenty of hot water during the time the water heater is cycled off. The air conditioner compressor will be operating some during the activated period and the circulating fan continues to operate during the entire period. The temperature in the home should not rise more than a couple of degrees (if any). The slight rise in temperature should not generate any discomfort. It will not be necessary to adjust your thermostat during the operational hours of our load management program. The switch will not affect the thermostat's settings of your appliances.
Does this program lower my monthly electric bill?
Our load management program will not reduce the direct cost of your monthly power bill. It does however, reduce the amount of kilowatts purchased during peak demand hours of usage, thus helping Blue Ridge Electric keep our rates down. You will also benefit from the power bill credits you will be awarded.
What does it cost to participate in the Power Saver Rewards program?
It costs nothing to participate; the switch is installed free of charge and satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not satisfied with the switch, the switch will be deactivated at no cost to you. Most members never notice the switch's operation.
Will I need to sign up for the Power Saver Rewards program every year?
No. Once the switch is installed at your home, you will automatically continue in the program each year unless the program is discontinued or you request to have the switch deactivated.
How do I benefit from the Power Saver Rewards Load Management program?
As a participating member, you will receive a one-time incentive bill credit of $20 for signing up, meeting our installation technician and having a switch installed. For the first air conditioner unit a $5 monthly bill credit will be issued during the summer months, June through September. There is no installation cost, no maintenance cost and no cost for deactivating the switch. You also receive a $3 monthly bill credit for secondary air conditioner units during the summer months and $2 monthly bill credit for water heaters year round. By enrolling in Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative's Power Saver Rewards program, you help reduce the need for future power generation. When you participate in load management, you also help us keep costs down by reducing the amount of power we have to purchase during our peak demand hours, which is a time when electricity is usually the most expensive.
Who will install the switch?
Trained service technicians will install management switches throughout our entire service area. Blue Ridge guarantees 100% satisfaction to our members.
How long will the installation take? Will I need to be at home?
The installation should not take longer than an hour. It is suggested that someone be at the home during installation, therefore an appointment will be made in advance prior to installation of the switches.
Who do I call if I have questions or problems?
Call Blue Ridge Electric at 800-240-3400 for assistance.
What should I do when leaving for an extended period of time?
We recommend that you set your thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer and a lower temperature in the winter since no one will be home for the extended period of time. This is not as a result of participating in the Power Saver Reward program, but actively participating in the conservation of electricity.
What if I move or sell my home?
Please inform the new owner of the switch and explain that you are participating in Blue Ridge Electric’s Power Saver Reward program. We will be glad to answer any question(s) the new owner may have about our program.
How do I sign up to participate in the Power Saver Rewards load management program?
Call 800-240-3400. You may also visit www.blueridge.coop/powersaverrewards to learn more about this new technology.