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CASE EXAMPLE: Electricity Costs Reduced

UCM provided a solution to regulators that saved clients hundreds of thousands per year.

To avoid exorbitant "Demand" charges, UCM proposed that certain clients be allowed to change their meter read dates twice each year.

UCM worked on behalf of several large fruit processing plants to revise utility company rules on how electricity “demand charges” were calculated. The problem was that these plants used a tremendous amount of electricity – some had demands exceeding 6 MW – but that they operated at full capacity for only 60 to 90 days each year during harvest. Because of this production cycle, the plants frequently incurred exorbitant demand charges at the beginning and at the end of each season. For example, at the beginning of the season, if the plants had to ramp up production just a few days before their meter was read, they would incur a full month’s demand charge even though they were operating for just a few days, which drastically increased total electricity costs. UCM identified this problem and crafted a novel solution. UCM proposed to regulators that seasonal operations that meet certain criteria be allowed to change meter read dates twice each year – at the beginning and end of their operating seasons – to align demand charges with actual usage. In this way, these customers would avoid the punitive demand charges that occurred when the harvest happened to occur near their arbitrary meter read date. UCM secured support from the utility and regulators for its proposal, and its solution was adopted, reducing clients’ electricity charges by hundreds of thousand of dollars per year.

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