Something happened recently that we don’t normally see in Southern California during the colder, winter months: the California Independent System Operator issued a statewide Flex Alert asking consumers to immediately start conserving energy. Soon after, they issued a warning alerting the state to a possible energy shortfall and requesting voluntary load reduction programs to begin.
The warning from the Independent System Operator during the afternoon of Feb. 6, triggered Southern California Edison (SCE)’s demand response programs and enrolled customers to respond immediately. Their response made a critical contribution, helping to reduce energy usage by almost 700 megawatts, enough power to provide electricity to more than 35,000 homes.
Don Goodluck, plant manager for Dart Container Corporation in Corona, a foodservice packaging company, received a phone call, email and text to start conserving energy immediately and thought it was unusual to receive the notice during the winter.
“I verified the action via the website and called our SCE representative to ask what was happening and if she knew how long the BIP (Base Interruptible Program) event may last,” he said.
Once he got confirmation, Goodluck immediately shutdown all electrical panels that feed power to air compressors, production equipment, inessential lighting, air conditioners and blowers to help reduce their energy usage.
The company has been enrolled in SCE’s Time-of-Use Base Interruptible Program — a program designed to provide temporary load reduction to help relieve the electrical system during times of critical need — for a number of years and is currently installing more efficient lighting to reduce their electricity consumption. They’ve been happy with the results so far.
“The BIP program is helpful in that the credits we receive for participation help to offset the cost of lost production,” said Goodluck.
The Flex Alert and subsequent warning on Feb. 6 were called because of extreme cold weather in much of the United States and Canada impacting fuel supplies to power plants in Southern California, resulting in a reduction of electricity generation. As a result, SCE immediately asked all interruptible power use be suspended (mostly business customers, who have signed up for programs designed to temporarily suspend some of their electricity use).
“We want to thank our customers for helping us conserve energy during this unexpected CAISO call for our demand response programs,” said Mark Wallenrod, SCE director of program operations. “As a result of our customers’ energy-conserving measures, we were able to save close to 700 megawatts and avoid possible power disruptions.”
Tom George, Plant Manager of Amcor Rigid Plastics in Chino, received the notification and immediately began shutting down all non-critical equipment at the plant that produces various packaging products.
The company is enrolled in SCE’s Time-of-Use Base Interruptible Program and has experienced these types of events before, and is happy to do their part.
“We have been involved with the programs for several years,” he said. “Conserving energy helps everyone.”
For more information and to sign-up for SCE’s Time-of-Use Base Interruptible Program, visit: www.sce.com/tou.