Health Care Facilities Present Demand Response Challenges
While participation in a demand-response program can affect health care and educational facilities differently, the risks of participating for a health care facility can be greater, given the critical nature of their operations. So managers in health care have to consider a number of factors when deciding to reduce power to avoid putting patients at risk.
“You always need to consider when the operating room (OR) is in operation,” Smyth says. “There is an eight-ten second delay during the transfer of power. With critical care being provided in the OR, you don’t want the equipment experiencing a shutdown, even a very brief one.
“If the activation of the generators just occurs, that is one thing. However, to be part of a demand-response program with some choice to participate generally or for a specific event, one must keep in mind the criticality of OR operations.”
Pizzo says no issues have affected his school district’s operations since beginning the demand-response program. To reach the desired reduction levels, the head custodians are contacted prior to every event via e-mails and confirmed by phone so the district’s buildings are prepared for the event.
“This program is only one small component of our overall savings initiatives,” Pizzo says. “Our district seeks savings through efficiency, change in process, and various rebates. The real advantage of the demand-response program is both the tangible savings generated, which are paid to the district twice a year via checks and the indirect benefit of increased awareness of electric consumption on the district.”