The PNW-SGDP's new signal can help optimize the grid so we can reduce the need for expensive peak power and instead use power when it's cheaper.

Keep the Costs Down

Electricity use is not consistent throughout the day — it has peaks and valleys that correspond with changes in the cost of delivery. The more people use it, the more expensive it becomes.

During the wee hours of the morning when most people are sleeping, there is very little energy use. When people wake up and start turning on appliances — coffee makers, hair dryers, toasters — electricity use peaks. Another peak happens in the evening when people come home from work and fire up their ovens, plasma TVs and lights. There are also seasonal peaks. In the Pacific Northwest, we typically peak during cold, dark winter months when people crank up the heat and need more lighting. But with more air conditioners running in the summer months, additional summer peaks on hot days are now happening as well. These peaks cause the price of electricity to rise. Energy suppliers can reach the capacity of their normal generation output and have to turn on expensive "peaking" generators. Secondly, transmission lines can become congested, causing a scramble to route energy to where it is most heavily used. It's as simple as supply and demand. During peak usage times, whether seasonal or diurnal, electricity costs more. We may not see these costs directly, but they are factored into the average rates we all pay.

The PNW-SGDP's new signal can help optimize the grid so we can reduce the need for expensive peak power and instead use power when it's cheaper. That will help keep costs lower and reduce the average electric rates that are charged.