SAVING MEMBERS $3.4M A YEAR – But regulations could blunt our water heater program’s effectiveness.

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A. Berl Davis, Jr. President and CEO

THE LAST ISSUE of South Carolina Living reported on  how the Department of  Energy’s revised water-heater efficiency standards could affect co-op  members. Long story short: Not in a good way.

Unless amended, the new standards—scheduled to become law in April—will  effectively ban production of traditional  electric resistance water heaters holding 55 gallons or more. This could limit consumer choices and drive up your replacement costs. So, if you’re able to buy a large capacity electric resistance water heater, do it now.

For the short term at least, Palmetto Electric’s H2O Select program offers a solution. We offer members rebates of $150 to $250 or a turnkey installation option for members who choose to install qualifying water heaters. And, because of the pending regulation, we’ve stockpiled as many large-capacity water heaters as our warehouse can hold.

The real purpose of H2O Select, however, isn’t to sell water heaters: It’s actually one of several time-tested load control programs co-ops have used for decades to lower the cost of service for all members. Participants do fellow members a huge favor by allowing us to install load-control switches. During peak demand hours, when the cost of power skyrockets, co-ops can cycle off electricity to these water heaters. Traditional large-capacity units hold enough hot water to meet a family’s needs during the control period, and they cycle back on quickly and efficiently.

Water heater load-control programs save S.C. co-op members nearly $12 million annually in the form of lower electricity rates. Palmetto members save about $3.4 million a year.

Co-ops are lobbying Congress and the DOE to allow traditional large capacity heaters to be manufactured specifically for use in load-control programs. However, action isn’t guaranteed and manufacturers are already shifting production in response to the standards.

This may be your last opportunity to get standard large-capacity tanks and help us maximize the benefits of our load-control efforts. Call us if you’re interested in H2O Select. You’ll be doing yourself and your fellow members a favor.

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