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Clearing Hurdles Presented by Demand Response
Employee awareness about saving energy and money is an issue Smyth and Pizzo both expressed concerns about, but Pizzo says his staff grew more aware of the issues and now shows more interest in energy-efficiency.
Smyth’s hospital stopped participating in the demand-response program a few years ago. One of the reasons, he says, was a faulty generator that was unable to handle the load necessary to make the program a successful venture.
“During the hot summer months, the local utility often contacts big users of electricity to see if they can curtail electrical consumption,” Smyth says. “The hospital complies by shutting off any non-essential lights and equipment. We close window treatments to reduce the heat load off some locations as well.
“I had hoped that when localized brown-outs occurred, we could use our generator as a means to lower our consumption of electricity provided by the local utility. The big consideration was the condition of the equipment. Can it be stressed in this manner?
“The problems really occurred when the conditions of the one generator was determined after the fact. I probably should have had the generators checked for operational readiness, keeping in mind that the generators would be used more.”
Even though his first experience with a demand-response program did not go as planned, Smyth is willing to give the program another chance if the opportunity presents itself.
“I would consider being part of the program again, pending an investment in our infrastructure,” he says. “I would also look toward a different supplier of electricity. Politically, at times a big consideration, demand-response participation provides dividends because it demonstrates your commitment to the reduction of your energy consumption footprint. We, as an organization, are doing our part.”