least 8 of the 23 states that have deregulated their retail electricity markets
are considering reversing that decision. In the process, issues are being
raised that could impact power pricing, regardless of how such changes occur.
Power customers should be looking for ways to insulate themselves from sudden
Light fixtures using light-emitting diodes (LED) hold great promise, but some early models have not met claims or expectations. Early adopters need to carefully test units being promoted for area and task lighting.
deregulation, some retail power customers are applying power purchasing
techniques commonly used by utilities to avoid feeling wholesale price
volatility at the retail level. One such technique involves “laddering”
contracts. To ensure acceptable results, a clear understanding is needed of
this technique’s limitations.
When power customers look at their costs for electricity, they tend to lump the price of the commodity (i.e., the raw cost without delivery) with the rest of the electric bill (e.g., distribution). Doing so, however, may miss the boat on options to cut the total cost of power.
To deal with growing power demands, the Feds and some states are pushing demand-response and time-based power pricing (e.g., real-time pricing). Many utilities are helping customers to that end by providing online energy analysis software, such as Energy Profiler Online (EPO). For account loads over ~1 MW, your utility may already offer such services.
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.