DPI Offers a New Electric Generator Demand Response Program

It's time for chicken growers to enroll in the new DPI-sponsored electric generator Demand Response Program. This is the program that will pay growers twice a year for making their electric generators available to the local power grid during the summer at times of high electric demand.

Chicken growers on the Maryland Eastern Shore and the Virginia Eastern Shore, whether they are served by Delmarva Power, the Choptank Electric Cooperative, or the A & N Electric Cooperative, generally are eligible to participate. Only farms with at least two chicken houses qualify. Unfortunately, because of stricter air quality regulations in Delaware, our Delaware members cannot take advantage of this DPI program.

Growers can anticipate being called upon to run their generators once or twice per summer when the power grid is under high peak load conditions. Growers will earn income from the program regardless of whether the PJM grid operator calls an actual emergency event or just a prescheduled one-hour test event. Participating farms can expect to receive between several hundred dollars to more than $1,000 per year with larger farms earning more.

It's time for chicken growers to enroll in the new DPI-sponsored electric generator Demand Response Program. This is the program that will pay growers twice a year for making their electric generators available to the local power grid during the summer at times of high electric demand.

Chicken growers on the Maryland Eastern Shore and the Virginia Eastern Shore, whether they are served by Delmarva Power, the Choptank Electric Cooperative, or the A & N Electric Cooperative, generally are eligible to participate. Only farms with at least two chicken houses qualify. Unfortunately, because of stricter air quality regulations in Delaware, our Delaware members cannot take advantage of this DPI program.

Growers can anticipate being called upon to run their generators once or twice per summer when the power grid is under high peak load conditions. Growers will earn income from the program regardless of whether the PJM grid operator calls an actual emergency event or just a prescheduled one-hour test event. Participating farms can expect to receive between several hundred dollars to more than $1,000 per year with larger farms earning more.

Membership in DPI with a minimum dues payment of $150 is required at the time of enrollment in the program. Enrollment is required by January 31, 2015 for the program that begins in the summer of 2015. DPI dues payments must be received in the DPI office by the time of enrollment in the program. This means DPI dues check, cash, or credit card payments must be received by DPI prior to enrollment. Chicken growers who wish to make a DPI membership dues payment through a flock settlement deduction must make sure their chicken company notifies DPI about the flock deduction prior to enrollment. No exceptions. Participants also are required to renew their DPI membership at the minimum dues payment of $150 in each year of the five-year contract.

Prior to the start of the emergency event, participating farms will receive by various means a 30 minute notification to turn on their generators – telephone message, e-mail, or text. Participants will be expected to transfer their electric loads to their emergency generators to supply their farms' needs by the designated start time of the called emergency event or test event. This will not be an automated process; each grower is required manually to transfer load to the generator and eventually back to grid power when notified that the emergency event or test event has been completed.

The regional electric grid operator PJM only can call upon participating growers a maximum of ten events per year with no more than six hours per event. However, over the last dozen years, the number of emergency events requiring generators to be operated has been few, from none to just two per year. The average generator operating time was 3.2 hours per year. However, there is a requirement that if there are no actual called events, generator must be tested for one hour per summer season.

There are no upfront costs to enroll and participate in the DPI program as long as participants have paid their DPI dues in a timely fashion. There will be some expenses to maintain the generator properly and to run a test for no more than one hour per summer season, but those expenses will be minimal compared to what is earned.

Failure to operate the generator for the full duration during a called event or test event will cause annual payments to go down, but there will be no penalty fee or a requirement to return any prior income. However, there might be an early termination fee if a grower leaves the program entirely.

The commitment will be for five years starting in the summer of 2015 and going through the summer of 2019.

Generator owners who are part of DPI's money-saving Electric Buying Group still are eligible for this new generator program, unless they are in Delaware. Chicken growers already are participating in Choptank's or A & N's Load Control programs where they run their generators during each month to reduce their peak demands cannot participate in this new DPI program. They can be in one program or the other. In general, the cooperative's programs will save participants more, but they are required to run the generators more frequently than in the DPI program.

This may sound too good to be true, but there is no catch. The PJM grid operator occasionally needs to cut electric demand to maintain the reliability of the regional electric system. It hires companies, called Curtailment Service Providers, to work with generator owners so generators can be turned on during emergency events, thus relieving electric demand on the grid. The Curtailment Service Providers then work with generator owners to supply the necessary electric use reductions. So money flows from the PJM grid to the Curtailment Service Provider to participating chicken growers.

Growers will be paid as long as they run their generators when called upon for either a real emergency event or a one hour test. It's that simple.

We will hold several information meetings of less than one hour in Maryland and Virginia in January where you can learn more about the program, ask questions, and enroll, if you already have made your 2014-2015 DPI dues payment. In the meantime, you can contact Ed Jackson with Affinity Energy Management at 302-218-8920 and edjacksonenergy@aol.com.

Here is the meeting schedule. Space is limited. Please reserve a place by contacting the DPI office at 800-878-2449 or morrow@dpichicken.com. Be sure to bring a complete copy of a recent electric bill and we will be able to provide you with an estimate of your expected revenues from the program.

Thursday, January 8
8:30 a.m.
Somerset County Extension Office
30730 Park Drive
Princess Anne, Maryland

Thursday, January 8
11:00 a.m.
Room 150 Workforce Development Building
Eastern Shore Community College
29300 Lankford Highway
Melfa, Virginia

Thursday, January 8
2:00 p.m.
Wicomico County Extension Office
28647 Old Quantico Road
Salisbury, Maryland

Friday, January 9
8:30 a.m.
Caroline County Extension Office
9194 Legion Road
Denton, Maryland

Friday, January 9
10:30 a.m.
Conference Room
University of Maryland Wye Research and Education Center
124 Wye Narrows Road
Queenstown, Maryland

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