Peak Demand and Load Control - How Do You Beat the Peak? 

When there is a high use of electricity for heating or cooling in extreme temperatures, it is likely the demand for power will spike higher than our typical highest use of the season and reach a "Peak Demand" level, which can drive up energy costs. 

To combat this, Hancock-Wood enacts what is called "Load Control," which is the remote activation of switches many of our members ask to have placed on their appliances such as water heaters, heat pumps, air conditioners or other high-energy users. There is no cost for this, in fact, our members are PAID to do it. BEAT THE PEAK HERE!

When the likelihood of a high-energy-use scenario exists, we announce a Peak Demand Alert.  If the scenario escalates to a level where controlling is necessary to keep energy costs stabilized, Hancock-Wood will issue a Load Control Alert and enact these remote controls. These timeframes are typically from 6-9 am or 3-6 pm. Load Control can only activate radio-controlled switches (RCS) affixed to appliances of participating members. These timeframes are subject to changes due to extreme weather conditions and other factors. 

If you do have a radio-control switch, be sure to sign up for email alerts here. We do not always receive advance notice of when PJM controls, but when we do we will send out an alert. Also, be sure to follow our Facebook page. This is the best way to see the most current updates. 

Heating and cooling equipment switches are activated in 8-10 minute intervals, no longer than 24 minutes each hour, so comfort in the home is maintained. Water heater switches disable the unit’s heating elements for the entire length of the load control session.   

A peak demand, precipitating load control, does NOT mean there is a shortage in electricity – just an opportunity to control costs. A portion of the amount Hancock-Wood pays for electricity generation and transmission is determined by the demand our members place on available electricity. By controlling the peaks in this demand, we can save our members money over the long term.

We ask our members to conserve electricity during that critical peak demand time in order to control the level of demand and, therefore, the cost of power. When a peak demand occurs, you can help control this level in three ways:

  1. Reduce lighting use by 50% or more.
  2. Change thermostat settings by about 3 to 5 degrees to keep it slightly less cool in summer and slightly less warm in winter.
  3. Postpone major work that uses electricity, such as baths, electric hair drying, laundry, and electric dishwasher use.

Members with radio-controlled switches installed in their home appliances are likely to see these switches activate during a Load Control period. This action actually is our last line of defense to avoid unwanted rising peaks. 

Any questions? Feel free to call us at 800-445-4840 or email us at