Hancock-Wood issues peak demand alert

NORTH BALTIMORE — At 10 a.m. today Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative issued a peak demand alert for the
hours between 6 to 10 p.m., today, and again between 7 and 9 a.m. Tuesday, due to continuing sub-zero
temperatures. These times are subject to change as forecasts are updated, so members should prepare for
the time to extend slightly beyond these timeframes. According to weather reports, a frigid, dense swirl
of air, known as a polar vortex, has descended on northwest Ohio and is expected to cause the area to
reach or surpass decades-old cold temperature records.
“The alert is to urge both commercial and residential members to reduce electricity use during those
periods and coincides with the activation of automatic load control switches,” President and CEO George
Walton said. “It is important to note that there is no shortage of power. A portion of what Hancock-Wood
pays for electricity is determined by peak demand, so members’ participation in controlling electric use
helps us to keep electric rates stable.”
Load control switches on heat-pumps, geothermal units and water heaters will be activated across the
state, affecting all 10 districts in the Hancock-Wood service area located in portions of Hancock, Wood,
Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties. Heat pump units equipped with
these load control switches will be cycled off and on for brief periods of time, in rotation, so that
the peak demand is kept under control.
A typical residential member with installed controls might see his or her home temperature temporarily
lowered by approximately 4 to 5 degrees, but it will return to the desired temperature before
significant discomfort is felt, said Walton.
Members without control switches are asked to lower their thermostat temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees
during this period and to delay use of higher-demand appliances such as hair dryers, dishwashers, and
clothes washers and clothes dryers. Commercial Members are asked to lower thermostats by two-to three
degrees as well as reduce lighting to conserve electricity.
A member whose electric water heater is equipped with a control switch will see a red light activate on
the gray box located on each unit, indicating the load is being temporarily deferred. The member may
continue to draw hot water; however, the water heater will not reheat until the load-shedding period
concludes. When heat pump load control switches are activated, the pump will be cycled off for eight to
12 minutes every one-half hour. The fan will continue to operate during this period so that comfort in
the home is maintained.
Weather forecasts predict these frigid temperatures continuing until Wednesday, but if arctic
temperatures prevail beyond that, it may prompt the necessity of another alert issuance.