Off-Peak Electric Heat is still a good value!
Many customer inquiries received by Nodak Electric’s Energy Services Department this fall have focused on the Load Management Program. Most notably, our visits have centered on competitiveness of the current off-peak rate, its future outlook, and total average dual heat control time.
The table to the right is an illustration of how Nodak Electric’s off-peak rates compare to the most common combustible heating fuel types in the region, namely propane and fuel oil. You will notice there are two off-peak rates. The long-term control rate can also be called the dual fuel rate and applies to customers who have electric heat as their primary source coupled with a combustible fuel back-up heating system. As the name implies, these loads can be shut off for extended periods with no daily maximum control period limit. Daily cycled winter storage heating loads, such as floor heat, that can be controlled up to 16 continuous hours also qualify for this rate. The short-term control rate refers to loads that are capable of being interrupted four continuous hours at a time and up to eight hours per day. Short-term controlled loads, such as electric heat, coupled with an electric storage backup, cannot sustain long periods of load control and therefore have less value resulting in a higher rate.
If the price you pay per gallon of propane or fuel oil is greater than the values shown in the table, our off-peak heating program will then save you money on your heating bills. A fuel survey of Nodak’s service area completed October 24, 2011 revealed that the average price for propane was $1.97/gallon and #2 fuel oil was $3.65/gallon. Presently, the off-peak rates are more favorably priced.
According to Nodak’s wholesale power provider, Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc. (MPC), the price outlook for the off-peak rate into 2012 looks stable. After two retail rate increases within the past 12 months, Nodak is not anticipating any off-peak rate change during this winter’s heating season.
Looking back on average hours of winter dual heat control, the trend has been approximately 200 hours. During the winter of 2007-2008, the average control hours were 420 hours, for 2008-2009 – 204 hours, for 2009-2010 – 224 hours and last season was 187 hours. Minnkota is predicting an estimated 220 hours of dual heat control for this winter season. This is a rough estimate with the actual times depending on the weather, generator performance, transmission constraints and loads inside and outside our region.
*Prices include the $0.005/kWh renewable energy adjustment adder.