Protecting our Grid and Air Quality by Reducing Peak Energy Demand

Power line

Just like our roads with commuters, powerlines may become congested. Our portion of the grid, operated by a regional transmission operator or RTO, spans from Maryland to the Midwest. During periods of high demand, such as a hot summer day, the capacity of the grid to deliver power to distribution utilities (e.g., Pepco and BG&E) is limited and power plants running at maximum. Often older more polluting power plants must be brought online to meet this capacity. These emissions degrade air quality during hot days when air quality may also be poor (Learn more about your air quality forecast at

Montgomery County contracted with a third party demand response aggregator ( EnerNOC) to implement efforts to reduce County facility electricity consumption during periods of peak demand, known as events. During these events the County takes specific actions such as increasing thermostat settings in select building slightly. These events typically occur 2 to 3 days per summer. EnerNOC quantifies the savings with the RTO and provides the County a rebate. The deeper the reduction in electricity demand the greater the reliability, financial and environmental benefits. Collectively over the last year, the County has saved over $40,000 in utility costs and is currently expanding the program to amplify these benefits.

Businesses in our community can participate in similar efforts by contracting with a third party demand response aggregator. Smaller businesses and residents can achieve similar results through utility programs such as Pepco’s Energy Wise Rewards.

Learn more about Montgomery County’s automated energy management activities at