Electric Co-op Pilot Program Benefits Time-of-Use Rates

Digital communication can often be sporadic and interrupted in Colorado’s rugged, mountainous high country. Gunnison-based electric co-op, GCEA, was concerned that interruptions in its digital communication with its advanced meters was affecting the accuracy of the readings.

Looking for solutions and verification of the data received from its advanced meters, GCEA ran an innovative pilot program last fall and winter. Called Peak Time Perks, the program tested GCEA’s Meter Data Management system. (The MDM system recognizes readings that are missing, flags them and runs estimations on the missing readings to fill in the correct data. The estimations are based on data industry-accepted validation processes established by the North American Energy Standards Board and the Edison Electric Institute.)

GCEA found that in actuality few communication outages prevented readings from reporting to co-op headquarters. And when outages did occur, the missing readings were estimated correctly by the MDM system.

All of this is important because co-op members who utilize the co-op’s time-of-use rate depend on accurate digital records as they control their usage to take advantage of lower rates at certain times. So, during the Peak Time Perks pilot program, GCEA also included a test of its time-of-use rate with members interested in seeing if the rate would provide them with actual savings on their electric bill.

The co-op and it participating members were pleased to see cost savings on the TOU rate compared to the standard residential rate.