Demand response option

A credit of over $145,000 for winter 2022‑2023

Video document:
Duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Since signing up for the Demand Response (DR) Option in 2016, the city of Trois-Rivières has not looked back. Why not? Because it now receives a significant credit on its electricity bill by reducing the power demand of some of its facilities for a few hours in winter, without any impact on the quality of the services it offers its 140,000 residents. In this way, the DR Option helps ensure the sound management of public funds, in addition to contributing to the energy transition.

Using the right energy source at the right time

When Denis Pelletier, Hydro-Québec’s account representative for the city, first mentioned the Demand Response Option, the administrators in charge of Trois-Rivières’ mechanical and electrical systems naturally wanted to know more. They got together to determine which municipal buildings could afford to reduce their power demand during winter peaks. They conducted a data analysis with their Hydro-Québec representative and found that Trois-Rivières’ water treatment facilities stood out as a good option, especially the filtration and purification plants.

To sell the idea to the city’s management, the team decided to come up with a fine-tuned plan that incorporated some of Trois-Rivières’ existing equipment, namely, the generators of the treatment facilities, whose role is to ensure adequate drinking water supply for residents in the event of a power outage. With the final plan, the city was killing two birds with one stone: reducing its power demand during winter peaks and complying with generator maintenance guidelines, which require that generators be operated from time to time.

As for the aerated ponds, including them in the DR Option process was even simpler, since all it takes is pausing the operation of the pond equipment during peak events. This measure does not impact water quality and contributes to reducing the pressure on the power system, which is highest during very cold weather.

“At the city, optimal budget management is a priority,” said Daniel Mimeault, the mechanics and electricity coordinator for Trois-Rivières. “When our account representative told us about the Demand Response Option, we jumped at the opportunity. By implementing some simple measures, we made considerable financial gains. We find it very gratifying because the money saved goes back to the community.”

More steps in the right direction

The measures implemented were very profitable, so the city decided to take it one step further. The first winter, its efforts focused on four buildings. Since then, the team in charge of these measures continues to expand its knowledge and analyze consumption data with their Hydro-Québec account representative, finding even more ways to save, while making sure that the quality of the services offered to residents remains the same. In winter 2023–2024, the city implemented demand response measures in nine buildings.

“Preheating certain buildings for a few hours in anticipation of a peak event and then turning thermostats down one or two degrees below the regular temperature setting during the event is a measure that is imperceptible yet still leads to savings,” said Denis Pelletier. “Other examples include using a complementary energy source to operate arena compressors during peak periods or temporarily interrupting specific systems. Arenas, libraries, administrative buildings . . . there are many possibilities!”

All these simple measures pay off, year after year, even during mild winters. In winter 2022–2023, for example, there were only six peak events that lasted a total of 20 hours. And yet, the city was able to curtail some 2,300 kW and collect a credit of over $145,000, which works out to a little more than $1 per resident. In addition to the credit, the city also saves on its electricity bill. Since opting for the Demand Response Option, Trois-Rivières has reduced its power demand by almost 16,000 kW, resulting in gains of $1.2 million.

After each peak event, Daniel Mimeault’s team members use the My Consumption Profile tool to examine the results achieved so that they can continue to improve the city’s performance and maximize the credit it will obtain at the end of the winter. Team members examine whether everything was executed as planned and how measures can be improved.