Corporate Systems Engineering announced that it has received what is believed to be the largest order ever placed for electrical power load control switches. The 180,000-piece order comes from Southern California Edison, the largest subsidiary of Edison International and one of the largest electric utilities in the country, providing power to 13 million people in 11 counties in central, coastal and southern California.
With temperatures in California topping 110 degrees during the recent heat wave, utility companies have experienced record peak demands. Overall power requirements continue to rise, driven by continued new construction and increasing needs for power from both businesses and homes. One important tool that Southern California Edison uses to mitigate this strain on the power supply is its Demand Response programs. Load control switches are one element of Edison’s Demand Response programs, and the company is confident that its Summer Discount Plan helps it manage peak demand. The program is simple: in exchange for a monthly credit during the summer, customers allow Edison to install a switch on their air conditioner. When demand peaks, air conditioners are shut off at intervals customers select, providing additional capacity to the grid. The keys are the switches’ reliability and Edison’s ability to manage the significant load that the switches shed. Corporate Systems Engineering plays a significant role in the switches’ integration with Edison’s energy management system. These programs are seeing increased use as regulatory bodies and state utility commissions react to the recommendations in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by requiring utilities to meet the ever-increasing demand for power without additional cost to consumers. In fact, Edison will be doubling the size of its A/C Program by 2008.