One way HCE is looking at serving you better in future is by implementing demand billing. The higher the demand on our system, the higher the costs for our cooperative. Our costs are increased by what is called “peak and coincidental peak demand” charges, which are eventually passed on to our members. Part of accounting for our cost is ensuring that we have enough capacity with our transformers and lines to meet the demand placed on the system by our members.
Let’s talk about the difference between demand and usage. Demand or kW is the maximum power used over a given time, usually within a 15-minute period. Usage or kWh is the total power used over a set period; for example, one month. Your usage may be the same as your neighbors, but your demand can be very different. Let’s look at how usage can be the same, but demand is different.
If you and your neighbor each have a five-gallon bucket that needs to be filled, your faucet could fill the bucket at a rate of one gallon per minute while your neighbor’s faucet could fill the bucket at five gallons per minute. The usage, five gallons of water, is the same, but your neighbors demand is five times more than yours. Again, our goal is to make sure our members understand what demand billing is and what it means to you, before any changes are implemented.