Load management refers to the control of various customer electric loads during times of peak usage on the electric system. By managing loads so that they are not all on at the same time, the cooperative is able to reduce wholesale power purchases, thus saving money and resources.
The East River member cooperatives' load management system has been operating since 1985 and through 2011 has saved approximately $136 million in avoided wholesale power costs. Over 60,000 different electric loads in homes, farms and businesses of member consumers throughout eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota are connected to the system. These loads include electric water heaters, air conditioners, irrigation systems and large industrial processes.
Control is initiated monthly through a highly sophisticated system that communicates with control receivers connected to the various loads. East River operates the system on a federated basis on behalf of its member systems to moderate wholesale power costs, improve system efficiencies and provide member consumers with energy options.