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Newhall water district joins Edison power-saving plan

Businesses, public agencies qualify for program that puts electricity back in the grid during crises

Posted: July 21, 2014 6:22 p.m.
Updated: July 21, 2014 6:22 p.m.

Newhall’s main water supplier has agreed to power down certain electricity-gobbling facilities in the event of future energy crises and to send that juice back to Southern California Edison to help avoid statewide rolling blackouts this summer, officials announced Monday.

The Newhall County Water District is participating in SoCal Edison’s Auto Demand Response program, which is available to public agencies and private businesses.

The system uses a signal generated by Edison to automatically reduce the electricity consumption of participating agencies and business that are large energy users.

The automated, wireless systems kicks in when the state’s power grid gets overloaded, Edison officials said. The process takes 15 to 30 minutes, according to Edison.

In its agreement with Edison, Newhall County Water District installed special equipment — at a cost of $136,000 — that allows the district to quickly and safely reduce power use at its high-energy facilities, such as pumps and lift stations, during statewide power shortages, officials said. Southern California Edison reimbursed the water district for the cost of the equipment, officials said.

“Southern California Edison’s Automated Demand Response program enables demand response customers to apply pre-selected load reduction strategies automatically without the need for manual intervention,” said Susan Cox, a SoCal Edison spokeswoman.

But local water district officials maintain final control over the automated system and can override it if they determine the district’s water service “would be negatively impacted,” district officials said in a news release.

Officials said Edison will compensate the water district for any energy it redirects to the grid from its facilities.

The district can earn $55 for every kilowatt of power it transfers back to the state grid, officials said, and it stands to earn a maximum of $51,000 through the energy transfer program this season.

“This provides tremendous value to the community without burdening district ratepayers with added costs,” the district press release said.

Putting power back onto the state grid during energy emergencies helps lessen the likelihood of rolling blackouts for power users when demands on the grid exceed power supplies, said Steve Cole, general manager of Newhall County Water District, which serves approximately 44,400 customers in Castaic, Saugus and Canyon Country, as well as Newhall.

“Water infrastructure uses a lot of energy,” Cole said, “so we’re targeting specific facilities ... that can be safely powered down to put power back to the grid.”




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