Thursday, August 19, Allegheny County participated in the PJM Interconnection’s Demand Response Program by reducing their electricity use for an hour-long test.
The purpose of the program is to reduce the use of electricity when heavy demand threatens the PJM electricity grid, which serves 51 million people in 13 states.
The county’s Deputy Director of Operations, Phillip LeMay says PJM Interconnections approached the county to volunteer for this program. “They want more planned participation in building owners to be ready to respond to excessive demand on the electrical grid.” He says PJM has provided incentive for building owners to participate, which is a money reimbursement if they reach their goal.
LeMay says the county court house, county jails, county office building, medical examiner’s office and some detention centers limited their use of electricity from 2 to 3 p.m. He says everyone was very cooperative and believes they’d be prepared for a real event. “Just from an observation perspective I think it was a good success.”
He says they were given a weeks notice to plan the test, but if a real event were to occur they’d be given 24 hours. Limited use of electricity would last from 4 to 6 hours during an actual event.
LeMay says a report with the results will be in some time next week. If they’ve done well, they’ll receive a reward; otherwise, they’ll have to work on the plan. “Once we see the report, we can see where we need to tweak the plan and improve our communication for next time.”