Detroit Edison extends interruptible service to residential customers

Detroit Edison Co., Detroit, Mich., will pay residential customers to allow the utility to interrupt their air conditioners this summer, under an experimental program approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Under the commission order, consumers will be credited $4/day for each day the company interrupts their air conditioning.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 30 -- Detroit Edison Co., Detroit, Mich., will pay residential customers to allow the utility to interrupt their air conditioners this summer, under an experimental program approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Utilities have long signed interruptible service contracts with industrial and commercial customers in exchange for lower rates, but residential customers seldom had the opportunity to participate in such programs. Now, with advances in technology, utilities are testing new forms of interruptible service that could reduce peak demand and cut participants' bills.

Customers choosing to participate in the Detroit Edison program will allow the utility to install an interrupting device on their air conditioner or heat pump at no cost. Under the commission order, they will be credited $4/day for each day the company interrupts their air conditioning.

The interruptions are limited to more than 20 days/season and will not last longer than 30 minutes in an hour. The Michigan PSC said up to 5,000 customers are eligible to participate in the first year and up to 15,000 customers by the end of 2002 on a first-come, first-serve basis.

It said the company will advertise the program to target geographic groups of customers to achieve the most favorable system benefits. Detroit Edison will run the program this summer and next and submit a report to the commission in February 2003.

Depending on the results, the company may also submit an application proposing to extend the duration and availability of the program. Detroit Edison provides electric service to more than 2 million Michigan customers.

The commission said it approved the voluntary program because it includes reasonable interruption limitations and does not increase any customer's electric rates. The program will also allow Detroit Edison to gain insight into customer receptiveness to new load management initiatives and will increase the company's load management options, according to the commission.

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