OEC wants to sell electricity – it’s what we do. In today’s world electricity can be a good value as long as it is managed. Managing the way electricity is used means reducing consumption when the demand for electricity is high and increasing consumption when the demand for electricity is low. That is why OEC’s Dual Fuel program works so perfectly for both our members and for the co-op.
How Dual Fuel and Electric Thermal Storage Work
Dual Fuel means you have two heat sources for your home heating needs. One heat source is electricity and the other heat source is some type of fossil fuel (typically propane, natural gas or fuel oil). The electric heat is the primary heat source and when OEC must reduce the electric demand, the co-op will shut off your electric heat system and your fossil fuel system must automatically take over heating your home.
Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) converts electricity to heat during periods of low demand and then stores that heat in a dense material, either high-density ceramic brick, concrete or other dense flooring material. The heat is released during periods of high demand when OEC must manage the load. This type of heat system can be part of the dual fuel program as a stand-alone unit or can be used as the back-up heat system instead of fossil fuel.
With either Dual Fuel or Electric Thermal Storage, OEC has the ability to shut off this electric load when demand is high, so we can offer a special rate for the electric heat. The Dual Fuel rate is $0.049 per kilowatt-hour which is less than half of the regular residential rate. In each case a special metering package is required. The metering package can be purchased from OEC and will be installed by your electrician or heating contractor. The final connection and inspection is done by OEC.
Once you have a heating system on the dual fuel rate, you can add other 240-volt appliances to this rate. Items such as electric water heaters, clothes dryers, hot tubs, etc may be added to this rate. All appliances on the rate will be shut off during periods of high demand. Check with OEC for specific qualifications.
Common types of electric heat systems
• Plenum Heaters –Plenum heaters are installed into the supply air plenum of a forced-air furnace. Electricity is used to heat the plenum heater coils and the warm air is distributed by the furnace fan. The existing furnace may be natural gas, propane or fuel oil. A perfect retrofit solution if you already have a forced air furnace.
• Air-Source Heat Pumps – During the heating season, an air-source heat pump extracts heat from outside air, condenses it and distributes it throughout your home via a duct system. The process is reversed during the cooling season. Heat is removed from inside the building and transferred to the air outside. When coupled with a plenum heater, an air-source heat pump can handle a high percentage of your home’s heating needs.
• Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHP) – A GHP system uses heat from the earth to heat your home. Coils are buried in the ground through which an environmentally-safe liquid circulates. As this liquid circulates through the GHP, the heat is collected, condensed and distibuted throughout your home. With this method, no fossil fuels are burned to generate the heat. A GHP system simply takes heat that already exists in the ground and transfers it to your home. These systems also cool your home in summer. Click here to visit the Wisconsin Geothermal Association website and learn more.
• Electric Boilers – If you have an existing fossil fuel boiler, adding an electric boiler to the system will allow you to take advantage of OEC’s Dual Fuel rate. The electric boiler is installed in sequence with your fossil fuel boiler and becomes your primary heat source. During high demand periods, OEC will manage the load by shutting off the electric boiler and allowing the fossil fuel boiler to heat your home.
• Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) – As explained above, ETS converts electricity to heat during low demand periods so that it can be used during high demand periods when electric load is being managed by OEC. Thermal storage systems are available as individual room units, central furnace units and in-floor systems. It can be a “stand alone” system or can be used in combination with other types of heat systems.
Call Oconto Electric for a free site assessment! Available for Oconto Electric Cooperative members only.