ROCHELLE — The City of Rochelle and Rochelle Municipal Utilities began participating in a demand response program this year through a third party company that could stand to save industrial businesses money and reduce load on the power grid during peak times in the future.
This year, a total of $383,604.57 was paid back to various city entities and Americold for participating in the program that cuts a check for reduced power use during peak hours on high power use days. Americold was the only private entity that participated, but the city hopes that more industrial customers will use the program in the future.
“I'd like to see every industrial customer who has the ability to curb their demand participate,” RMU Superintendent of Electric Operations Blake Toliver said. “On peak days when we're having peak load in the city, they'll be able to curb their demand and if they do, they'll get paid back for that.”
Americold will receive just over $26,000 for its participation in the program. The city’s electric department is going to receive almost $324,000. Rochelle City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said the program also helps RMU with costs related to trying to provide power on high peak days.
“You're reducing demand on the overall system,” Fiegenschuh said. “That reduces our cost, we're not paying transmission or capacity costs to get that power here. It's a direct savings.”
Toliver said in the past that several companies reached out to RMU about participating in a program like demand response. CPower administers the program for the city. CPower also has an energy efficiency incentive program that the city plans to participate in.
Fiegenschuh believes the program is “a great partnership” and said the state’s recent energy bill that plans a shift towards more green and efficient energy has made finding ways to reduce demand during peak times more important.
Toliver said the money participants receive is more than just a credit on their bill.
“This is cash money they're getting back,” Toliver said. “They're actually getting a check sent to them. It's not just a credit on their bill. It's a true savings."