Join Project PowerShift
Help Washington Electric Co-Op keep energy costs lower for our community.
Attention: Washington Electric Co-op members. We have a limited-time opportunity to make a difference in our community!
WEC gets 100% of its power from renewable sources, a source of pride for our co-op members. Recent advancements in communication technology means the co-op can reduce costs by shifting energy use to get the most benefits out of renewable energy, but we need your help!
Why do we need to shift power?
When peak demand is high it causes increased operational costs and that can impact electricity rates. Most electricity is used when we get home and settle into our evening routines (dinner, laundry, TV, etc.).
The solution: Shift the electricity during peak generation to grid-enabled water heaters in WEC homes. Your water heater can store energy just like a battery does and give it back to the grid when it’s needed. If we can shift energy use to a different time of the day, we can keep rates lower for everyone.
What is Project PowerShift?
- An opportunity to test a new, exciting technology that will help the co-op reduce costs and maintain our 100% renewable status
- Participating members will receive free installation of a small device that enables your water heater to act just like a battery
- When electricity costs are lower, WEC will be able to store energy in residential water heaters (in the form of heat) and then distribute it later in the day when it is needed
- Watch the video for a helpful explanation
What to expect when you participate
During a PowerShift event, you will likely not experience any discernible changes, turning a water heater on or off has little immediate impact on the comfort of your home. WEC will issue a $5 bill credit to share in the energy cost savings and to thank you for your participation in Project PowerShift.
Help us harness the power of grid-enabled water heaters and build local energy-storage that keeps energy costs lower for all WEC members.
Want to learn more? Read our Frequently asked questions.
We have over $4 million in peak related costs. If we could shave off 10 percent of these bills that would be significant, and we in turn can pass along those savings to members."Patty Richards
WEC General Manager
Complete this form to learn more
Don’t miss your chance to support WEC. Space is limited, and devices are available on a first come first served basis. Sign up today!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a PowerShift event?
During a PowerShift event, WEC will enable your water heater to act like a battery to store energy for when it is needed most. Be part of a 21st century electric grid, working with your member-owned co-op to lower costs for all members and push down our peak demands together by sharing the “storage” capacity available in eligible EHW tanks!
How does it work?
When a PowerShift event is forecasted, a signal is sent to the controls on the water heater to pre-heat water, shifting the energy used to an earlier time period, when energy is less expensive. Because the water in the tank is already pre-heated, the demand for more energy during the event should be much lower.
What is “grid-interactive water heating”?
Grid interactive water heating is a fancy name for the demonstration project that we’re undertaking. Each individual water heater is one in a fleet of water heaters that act as a virtual (thermal) battery for the co-op. The co-op’s ability to shift power demand decreases costs, and using a virtual battery is much cheaper than buying a large utility scale battery to offset these costs.
Does it cost anything to install the device?
The controller and the installation are free to participating co-op members. In some cases, your water heater might already have controls built in, and in other cases, a professionally trained technician will install an advanced control system to your water heater. Members will also have access to a smart phone app that can be used to monitor the performance of their water heaters.
Is this safe for my water heater?
Yes. The advanced controls being used in this demonstration project are commercially available devices, and the use of these advanced controls do not void the warranties of your existing water heater.
Is the bill credit 1-time or is it monthly?
The bill credit is $5 per month and will be paid throughout the duration of the demonstration as long as the member continues to participate.
Do energy peaks occur daily or does it only happen once in a while?
Energy peaks occur daily, but the costly ones are monthly and annually. Because forecasting these peaks is difficult, WEC will likely call for peak events a few times per month in order to make sure we hit the target.
What does it mean to “communicate” with the grid?
WEC will be able to send signals to your water heater to let it know when to heat up the tank. This will ensure hot water service isn’t interrupted and to avoid the costly peak times.
Does PowerShift shift energy costs from one member to another?
No. PowerShift is intended to keep members utility usage and bills the same (aside from the $5/month bill credit for participating). If successful, WEC is expected to save operational costs from this effort. These operational costs will help reduce rates for all members.