Water heating is becoming a more important tool for demand response because of smart, new technology; an increased interest in home/premises energy management; and the growth in regional wholesale markets. Managing water heating load has the potential to smooth out the growing supply of intermittent solar and wind generation. In addition, water heater programs can offer benefits for consumer engagement and satisfaction. This article reviews the benefits to electric water heater programs for consumers and co-ops alike.

Value to Electric Cooperatives

According to Forbes, 63 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to cover a $500 emergency. Unfortunately, replacing a failed water heater can be $1,000 or more, which gives co-ops an opportunity to provide some assistance and make a meaningful improvement to the member-consumer’s quality of life. Co-ops that are proactive about helping their member-consumers install electric water heaters with load control abilities can make progress toward demand response and member satisfaction goals. In addition, water heater programs can help ensure consumers stay with electric water heating. This article includes information on the multimillion dollar campaign by the propane industry to encourage consumers to replace electric water heaters with propane units, which has implications for load control programs and could affect an important revenue source for electric cooperatives.


Engineering, Member Services, Customer Services, Key Accounts