Written on: January 12, 2015
ABILENE — Approximately $35,000 — that’s the estimated savings realized by the City Of Abilene and the West Central Texas Municipal Water District thanks to their ground-floor participation in an energy-related pilot project.
Both governmental entities participated in a “4CP” pilot program — that stands for “four coincident peak” — under which they briefly reduced their electric usage on single accounts in exchange for big savings during the following calendar year.
A pilot project to test the 4CP program was authorized in May by the board of the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which is a coalition of cities and other political subdivisions that purchase power for their own governmental use. Both Abilene and the West Central Texas Municipal Water District are members.
“This is another great benefit of TCAP membership,” said Abilene Assistant Director of Finance Odis Dolton, a TCAP board member. “This program can deliver thousands of dollars in savings to member cities. This is a boon both to city budget writers and local taxpayers.”
TCAP worked with its wholesaler, NextEra, to implement the program. Besides Abilene and the West Central Texas Municipal Water District, three other TCAP members agreed to participate in the pilot project: Arlington, Grand Prairie and Sugar Land.
Each participant in the pilot project reduced consumption at only one of their facilities for single 15-minute intervals for each of four summer months — June, July, August and September. These four months are those during which electricity usage peaks to the highest levels statewide. The curtailments lead to extra savings because certain transmission charges are allocated to electric users based on their peak consumption during those months.
Preliminary estimates of the program’s success revealed that Abilene saved in excess of $5,000 and the West Central Texas Municipal Water District saved almost $30,000.
“Our water district was able to save a significant amount of money — and with relatively little effort,” said West Central Texas Municipal Water District general manager Chris Wingert. “This TCAP project is a real winner. We look forward to earning even more savings with it in the future.”
Building on that success, TCAP’s consultants will identify other eligible accounts among all 168 of its members and then broaden the program to create more savings opportunities for them.
Besides saving money for city governments and taxpayers, TCAP’s 4CP program should also contribute to the stability of the state’s overall power grid. That’s because 4CP reduces electric usage during those periods when power supplies in Texas would otherwise be scarce.
For more information about the 4CP program, or how your city can join TCAP and benefit from it, go to this link.