Skip to main content
Peak Demand

Does your utility rate change based on how much energy you use? Check this out.

Updated over a week ago

What is Peak Demand Pricing?

Peak demand refers to the highest moment of electricity demand on the grid. Utilities must ensure sufficient power during these times, which often requires costly and inefficient spiking of power plant production output. To reflect these production costs, some utilities have introduced charges based on peak demand. This means that if you consume a significant amount of power (real time) during your billing period, you need to subsidize the capacity to supply that amount of power. Most utilities capture your peak demand from a 15-minute average of usage.

An example of Peak Demand pricing

Imagine your home usually consumes around 2 kW of power on average. One weekend, you host a party which increases your usage to 8 kW due to the air conditioner, party music, an EV charging, extra lighting and everything else that comes with. Your utility provider has a "Peak Demand" threshold of 5 kW, measured in 15-minute averaged windows.

Because your usage exceeded 5 kW (for at least a single 15-minute window), your entire month's consumption will be billed at the higher peak demand rate instead of your regular rate. This can result in significantly higher electricity costs, potentially increasing your bill by hundreds of dollars for that month.

How does Emporia help?

By using Emporia's Peak Demand Management feature, you can avoid such scenarios. The system monitors your real-time usage and automatically adjusts the power consumption of connected devices to stay below the peak demand threshold. This proactive management helps you prevent costly peak demand charges and maintain lower energy bills.

Key Points

  1. Monitor Real-Time Usage: Emporia tracks your electrical consumption and helps manage device behavior.

  2. Automatic Adjustments: The Emporia platform can turn off or adjust the power usage of connected devices to stay under the threshold.

  3. Prevent High Charges: By managing your peak demand, you avoid being billed at higher rates, saving money.

Using Emporia's features ensures you stay within your rate plan's limits, even during unexpected high usage events (like a party).

What You Need

  • An Energy Monitor: Vue 3 (or Vue 2, Vue 1) with the 200A CT's tracking your main lines. Details on how to setup an energy monitor in this way.

  • Controllable Devices: Devices such as EV Chargers (on/off, charge rates adjustable), Smart Plugs (on/off), and Thermostats (temperature up/down).

Navigating the Emporia app

1.) Tap the Management icon/button at the bottom of the app.

2.) Select Peak Demand Management, second option from the top.

3.) Select which Vue energy monitor is tracking your system mains.

Connected Smart Devices

On the Peak Demand Management settings page, you'll see a list of "Connected Smart Devices" that can be automated.

  1. Enable Devices: Make sure the toggle next to each device name is enabled (showing green) if you want it to be controlled.

  2. Set Priority: Tap and hold the 4 bars icon to the left of the device name to adjust the order. The device at the top has the highest priority and will be turned on first and off last, while the device at the bottom has the lowest priority.

This setup ensures that your most important devices remain operational as long as possible, optimizing your energy use and savings.

Feature Behavior

The energy monitor continuously tracks your total electricity usage. When it detects that you're approaching or exceeding your Peak Demand threshold, it will automatically turn off connected appliances from the "Connected Smart Devices" list in the management settings. Once your usage drops back below the threshold, the system will turn the appliances back on, as long as the total usage remains within limits.

Example Scenario

Imagine your Peak Demand threshold is set at 6.0 kW.

  • Below Threshold: All connected devices operate normally.

  • Approaching Threshold: If usage hits 5.7 kW with an air conditioner running at 2.0 kW, which means usage will start to push total consumption to 7.7 kW, the system will turn off the air conditioner (or other lower priority devices) to reduce usage back down to ~3.7 kW.

  • Staying Under Threshold: The air conditioner will remain off until the system usage stays below 4.0kW, ensuring it doesn't exceed the limit when turned back on.

This process helps you manage and optimize your energy use, preventing high peak demand charges.

Customer Support and Feedback

At Emporia, we're dedicated to helping you manage your energy efficiently. If you have any questions about Peak Demand Management or need assistance about anything else, our Customer Support team is here to help. We value your feedback and aim to improve our guides based on your needs. If you find any part of this article unclear or have suggestions for improvement, please don't hesitate to reach out. Your input helps us provide the best support and information possible.

Did this answer your question?