Burlington Electric urges customers to reduce energy use during peak hours

Local News

After the first heat wave of the season, some Vermont utility companies want customers to think twice about cranking up the air conditioning.

Burlington Electric Department on Tuesday launched “Defeat the Peak,” asking the community to turn off air conditioners, non-essential lights, and household appliances between 4-7 p.m.  

The program aims to reduce customers’ energy use on unusually hot summer days.

“Typically, in a given summer, we might call two or three or even four peak events where we think this might be the ‘Peak Day’ for the year,” said Burlington Electric’s General Manager Darren Springer.

As temperatures soared into the 90s, BED advised customers to take other measures.

“Every little step that somebody takes, whether it’s raising a thermostat a little bit or avoiding doing laundry, or dishes, or even not charging an electric vehicle during those hours of 4 to 7 can help us save energy and money during these peak events,” said Springer.

Customers are also encouraged to avoid charging electronics or electric vehicles until after 7 p.m.

Springer says a substantial portion of BED’s budget is based on the amount of energy used during the summer peak. The program, now in its fifth year, offers several incentives: reduced utility costs, environmental benefits, and a community reward.  

If the community reaches their reduction goal, BED will donate $1,000 to Janet S. Munt Family Room, a parent-child center right in Burlington’s Old North End. One father says The Family Room supports families, such as his own. 

“Most of the programs revolve around dads that have needed help or guidance, see other father figures to talk to. They offer all kinds of programs,” said Timothy Westin.

With the community’s help to save energy, Family Room parents and young children could greatly benefit. 

“They’ve done a lot of good things, not for just me and my son but for other people I’ve known throughout this organization,” said Westin.

Springer says these energy-saving strategies are a win for both customers and community members.  

“To give you a sense of the magnitude, you can save up to tens of thousands of even hundreds of thousands on future utility costs by these defeat the peak community efforts to reduce energy use,” he said.

Burlington Electric serves 21,000 customers in Vermont. More than half are renters and 25 percent are residents. During peak days, BED will be tracking the community’s progress. Click here to see the community’s energy usage and how you can implement some energy-saving strategies.

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