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To protect the health of our staff and our customers, Efficiency Vermont offices are closed to the public. We have cautiously begun scheduling project related site visits when required. You can find more information on our safety protocols here.
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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 times that grid-enabled water heaters and electric vehicle chargers in WEC homes use energy. Technologies like water heaters and electric vehicles (EVs) can be enabled to flex their usage patterns to times when utility costs are lowest and powered by the cleanest sources. 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 can receive:
- free installation of a small device that enables your water heater to act just like a battery
- or receive a Lever 2 EV Charger that will charge your car at the most energy efficient times
- When a peak energy demand event is predicted, a signal is sent to your water heater or EV charger that will optimize what time of day it uses energy. These devices will help avoid using energy during the peak times.
- Water heaters will preheat earlier in the day and be ready for use when needed.
- Your EV charger will be able to charge your battery when operational costs are lower and the electric grid is powered by cleaner sources.
- Watch the video for a helpful explanation
What are EV Chargers?EV Chargers are also known as EVSEs or Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations, electric recharging points or just charging points. These Level 2 chargers that are installed at participating members’ homes will use energy when it's less expensive, shifting usage away from peak energy times.
What to expect when you participate
Water heater participants - During a Powershift event, you will likely not experience any discernible changes at your home.
Level 2 EV Charger participants – Your EV charger will default to charge at specific times, though you will be able to override this setting on a case-by-case basis if necessary.
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?
Participants either have their water heaters or EV chargers set up to flex how energy is used during a PowerShift event. During a PowerShift event, WEC will enable your water heater or electric vehicle charger to use energy when utility costs are lowest and powered by the cleanest energy sources, and not draw from dirtier sources when energy demand is at its peak. 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 and level 2 chargers.
How does it work?
When a PowerShift event is forecasted, a signal is sent to the controls on the water heater or EV charger that shifts the energy used to a different time period, when energy is less expensive. In your water heater, because the water in the tank is already pre-heated, the demand for more energy during the event should be much lower. Your EV charger will be able to be throttled down during an energy peak and charge your battery when costs are lowest. You would still be able to override your EV charging time if need be.
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 for water heaters will be paid throughout the duration of the demonstration as long as the member continues to participate. No bill credit is provided for level 2 chargers enrolled in the program, though an EV-specific Time-of-Day rate may be available in the future.
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 week in order to make sure we hit the target, and EV chargers will default to a daily setting to avoid peak times.
What does it mean to “communicate” with the grid?
WEC will be able to send signals to your device. In the water heater pilot the signal will 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.
How do I get an ESVE installed and what will it cost?
WEC is providing the Level 2 charger to participating members and members are responsible for the cost of installation. Chargers must be installed by licensed electrician and the installation must meet code requirements. Installation is estimated to be around $250 - $800 depending on the complexity of the installation and any code deficiencies which must also be remedied.
I already have an EV charger at my home, can I participate?
Yes. If you have a qualified Level 2 charger at your home, you can connect to the pilot program. Call Efficiency Vermont to find out if your charger qualifies.
Are certain water heaters or EV chargers eligible?
Water heaters: At this time the eligible equipment for the program are most models of electric resistance water heater and Rheem and GE brand heat pump water heaters. Because each heat pump water heater (HPWH) manufacturer uses proprietary software to enable communication, it is WEC’s option to support additional manufacturers which meet/exceed program criteria. WEC will consider bringing HPWH manufacturers into the demonstration program by its determination and compliance with our project software platforms. EV chargers: At this time eligible EV chargers must be ChargePoint Wi-Fi enabled products.
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 monthly 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.