image graphic of the switch makes cents logo.

Load Management Cuts Costs on Your Electric Bill.

North West REC works closely with our power supplier, Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO), to operate the load management system and to reduce power costs for our members.

How It Works

Ideally, an electric generation and transmission system operates most efficiently when the load remains constant 24 hours a day. However, reality has shown electricity use varies from hour to hour, creating peaks and valleys in the load pattern. Load management switches, installed on equipment such as water heaters, air conditioners, crop dryers, irrigation systems, qualifying large loads and heat systems can help level the load pattern.

Electric load levels are continually monitored through a substation at NIPCO. During peak periods, when the load reaches a predetermined level, a radio signal is sent to the switch from the NIPCO control center to interrupt power. When the signals cease, the controlled equipment returns to normal operation.

Benefits for Our Members

North West REC has installed more than 5,000 load management switches in our service territory since the program began in 1985. Customers report they have experienced little or no inconvenience with Switch Makes Cents; most say they have not noticed their equipment being controlled. By controlling load use, we realize savings on our wholesale power costs, allowing us to pass that savings to our members through the lower, Switch Makes Cents rates.

Members who have electric heat as their primary heat source in their home or commercial or agriculture building, may qualify for Switch Makes Cents electric heat rates. This reduced sub-metered rate applies to all electricity used for electric heat and air conditioning, as well as electric water heater use. The primary heat source must be electric, and electricity is wired to load management.

Details include:
• Members must have at least 10 kW of electric heat
• A sub-meter records kilowatt-hour usage
• Air conditioning and water heating load must also be controlled
• The rate is $.049/kWh for electricity used for the water heater and electric heat and air conditioning; the primary heat source must be electric

Another way our members save with Switch Makes Cents, is through our rebate program, which helps with equipment purchase and installation costs.

Member Service Director Rob Driesen, installing a switch makes cents meter in a members' home.