Shenandoah Valley Electric Coop Asks Highland Supervisors To Support Electricity Conservation In The County

Monterey, VA – Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative President and CEO Myron Rummel is asking for assistance from Highland County co-op members. That was the message to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday evening. Mr. Rummel would like electric customers to allow SVEC to install a device on their hot water heater to reduce power consumption in the county during the hours of peak electric use each day. Mr. Rummel explains the program.

“Wholesale power is 75% of our total budget,” says Rummel. “One of the things that we can do is run what we call our low management program. That is a program whereby we install switches on member-owned water heaters. We turn those off during periods of peak consumption; we save about 120 to 130,000.00 dollars every month on that wholesale power bill. So it adds up very, very quickly to real money.”

Currently about 8,000 co-op customers have hot water heater switches. The peak hours for power consumption typically occur from 4 to 8 PM each day. For most home water heaters, turning off the power for four hours will cause the water temperature to drop less than 10 degrees. So customers will still have hot water during that period of time, it just may not be quite as hot. Few customers find this to be an inconvenience. John Coffey, Vice-President of Engineering and Operations, describes the benefits of the program to customers.

“It’s important to realize that it’s a free service,” says Coffey. “There’s no cost to the consumer and we will actually give the consumer a water heater blanket which helps the energy storage device store that heat a little better. So we will leave that with the consumer; we will inspect the water heater when it arrives as well.”

Mr. Rummel comments on the response by Highland County customers to this program so far.

“We had a campaign here where we sent out to the members over here; didn’t get a very good response,” he says. “What we’re hoping is that by coming in and talking to you folks about it that you can help us spread the word and certainly help us generate some interest in doing that.”

Mr. Rummel describes the response time of the co-op’s service staff, if a customer requests this water heater switch.

“From the time you notify us I would say inside of a week somebody would be here ; inspect the water heater and put the switch on, and be in and out in no more than an hour or hour and a half,” says Rummel.

Supervisor Rexrode comments on the savings produced by this program.

“So basically the eight thousand customers you got, that’s probably saving the coop over a million dollars a year, and that’s passed right on to the customers,” says Rexrode. “And I think a lot of people don’t understand that, a coop works different; there’s a dividend there and the more you save, the more dividends you can receive.”

Questions about this and other programs at Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative will be answered by the co-op’s customer service office and their phone number can be found on each monthly bill.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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