Berlin Generated Power In Heat Wave

BERLIN – In an effort to control costs amid recent hot temperatures, the town’s electric department generated eight straight days this month.

Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence told the town council this week that the electric department generated July 15-22 as temperatures soared.

“If we have to go to the market to buy power in those peak periods, we’re paying a premium,” Town Administrator Laura Allen said.

To keep costs down this summer, as it has in the past the town has promoted its Tweak Our Peak program and also generates on days expected to be extremely hot.

“When we generate, we pick up a piece of the town’s electric load,” Allen said. “If we generate in peak periods, it’s less expensive.”

The number of days the town generates vary each year, but if Berlin generates — or contributes to the overall electric supply — on the grid’s designated peak days the town will receive savings in the coming year. In years past, the town has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars through generating.

“The goal is to hit the coincident five peaks,” Allen said.

Lawrence said two of those peaks occurred in the past week, on July 19 and July 21.

As the town generates in an effort to hit the prescribed peaks, it also promotes the “Tweak Our Peak” voluntary energy conservation program. The program is designed to encourage electric customers to use less electricity during peak times, or times when demand is high. That typically occurs when it’s extremely hot or extremely cold. By cutting back on the amount of capacity and energy used during those peak periods, the town can reduce its wholesale power costs. Reductions in wholesale power costs are passed through to customers in the power cost adjustment.

In addition to reducing wholesale power costs, peak shaving can also benefit the town because it puts less of a demand on the town’s electric utility when it is generating.

“Part of why we ask people to dial back their electric consumption is that that’s less load we have to manage,” Allen said. “When we generate, we’re carrying a portion of the town’s electric load.”

In the summer, peaks tend to occur between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m. The town will alert customers of an upcoming peak through social media and CodeRED. To help reduce demand, residents are asked to turn off unnecessary lights, postpone using major appliances and turn up thermostats. To sign up for CodeRED, the town’s alert system, go to

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.