600 South Fourth Street, Stoughton WI (608) 873-3379 [email protected]
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Summer Electric Demand
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2022
Overall customer demand for electricity is highest in the summer, largely due to increased air conditioner usage. This increased summer demand raises the cost of wholesale power, as well as puts pressure on the distribution system to ensure that enough power is being provided during peak times when people use it the most. As the community’s locally owned utility, we work with our wholesale power supplier WPPI Energy to continue meeting the electric needs of the homes and businesses we serve.

Energy Costs are Rising…

In addition to normal seasonal fluctuations in electricity prices, the cost of energy is trending to be much higher than what we have seen in prior years. This trend is due to increasing natural gas prices and the early retirement of coal and other fossil-fuel burning power plants. If the current trend of higher energy costs continues across the electric system, your bill this summer may be much higher than in previous years.

Wisconsin also has a need for additional regional electric transmission lines that connect the state to its neighbors, allowing additional lower-cost power to be imported into the state to provide reliable supply at more economical prices during peak hours.

For more information on how you can save energy and money, click here.

Sufficient Power Resources

Stoughton Utilities, along with WPPI Energy, is part of the regional grid operated by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Through our wholesale purchased power agreement, Stoughton Utilities has sufficient power resources to meet our customers' needs. However, MISO recently announced the potential for a shortfall in its total regional electric generating capacity, which could lead to “emergency events” during summer peak hours. Given the size of the shortfall – which is 1% – the increased risk is slight.

An emergency event could result in utilities like Stoughton Utilities asking customers to voluntarily conserve energy during peak times in order to lessen the strain on the power grid.

Emergency Preparation

It is important to be aware that MISO capacity emergencies may happen from time to time, but rarely do they signal a grid crisis.

If events did lead to an emergency, the utility would work with WPPI and MISO to quickly address it. Electric utilities and partnering organizations maintain robust emergency plans on which they conduct drills regularly, and we are confident in the procedures in place for this purpose. These detailed plans include many steps to add support for the grid before something like a “controlled outage” would occur.

Resident Preparation

You can save energy and money simply by being mindful of your energy usage this summer, especially during the peak times. Adjusting your thermostat just one degree warmer can save you 3-5% on energy costs.

Minimizing your electricity use on hot days during peak weekday hours of 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. can reduce the strain on the regional power grid. Reducing your air conditioning use, postponing doing laundry, and cooking dinner outside on the grill are ways to reduce use. If you have an electric vehicle, charging overnight instead of during daytime hours is also a good choice.

Click here for more energy saving tips!

Residents are encouraged to always have supplies ready in case emergency situations arise. Severe weather in our area could lead to tornadoes, blizzards, and heat emergencies. Recommended items include things like flashlights, extra water, nonperishable food, and a first aid kit.

Click here for our Storm & Outage center for more preparation and outage safety tips.