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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- With the summer months and their attendant stress on the power grid approaching, regional grocery chain Big Y Foods, Inc. here enrolled six southwestern Connecticut stores in a new energy demand response program, developed to help ease the burden placed on power suppliers during peak times.
Energy demand response programs call on commercial and industrial customers to proactively reduce their electric loads during the most critical periods. Although ISO New England -- the not-for-profit corporation responsible for the day-to-day operation of New England's power grid -- forecasts adequate electrical supplies to meet peak demand this summer, it has cautioned that in the event of unplanned outages or extended hot weather, emergency measures to maintain reliable supplies might have to be employed.
"With Big Y's new capability for automatic reduction of consumption during peak hours, we are able to help maintain grid reliability in the region, and keep electricity on in the homes of our customers," said Gary Kuchyt, Big Y's energy manager. "This initiative offers us an additional way to positively affect our local community."
Big Y is working with EnerNOC, a full-service provider of demand response solutions, to enact measures to reduce its stores' demand for power from the electrical grid -- such as cutting back non-essential lighting -- during ISO New England-specified critical periods, an action that would free up several hundred kilowatts of capacity for this summer.
"Southwestern Connecticut's transmission constraints make the region particularly susceptible to reliability problems," said Gregg Dixon, EnerNOC's v.p. of Marketing and Sales. "Big Y's commitment illustrates its continued dedication to putting its customers first and making a positive impact on its community."
EnerNOC will manage all aspects of program participation, including metering, installation, permitting, enrollment, data and payment reconciliation, and automated load curtailment.