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Residential Load Controllers
Frequently Asked Questions

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Let there be no confusion:
Automated Power Systems is in no way related to, sponsored, endorsed by or affiliated with
Arizona Public Service Company aka: APS, an Arizona based electric utility company.

Easy way to remember: They sell power, we help you conserve it.

Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a load controller?
A load controller is a computer that monitors your power usage and controls peak demand by shedding loads such as:
A/C unit(s), Clothes Dryer, Water Heater(s), Spa Heaters, etc),
These appliance are connected and controlled by the load controller and not allowed to run at the same time which causes high demand charges.
 Load controllers work in conjunction with electrical rates that have a demand charge.  Since the demand charge on many energy bills can be as much as the consumption, controlling demand significantly reduces your electric bill.  Think of it as a cruise control for your power bill.  You set it where you want it.  The lower you set it, the more you save.

What is Demand?
Demand is the highest usage of electrical power during a given period
.  For Arizona Public Service residential users, this time period is sixty minutes.  This is the APS Combined Advantage Rate.
For Salt River Project residential customers that have a PV solar system installed the demand window is 30 minutes.
The SRP rate is called the "Self Generation Customer plan "
You are charged for the highest average demand reached during the on peak time period.  Demand is measured in time and in amount.  The typical measurement used 1000 watts or 1KW averaged  per a given time period.  The current charge for APS is $13.50 per KW.   Simple math dictates a demand of 10KW would equate to $138.50 for one hour usage of power!   Cutting this in half (easy to accomplish with a load controller), would reduce your bill by almost $60 per month.
Demand rates are expected to rise to $16/kW making this investment pay off even faster. 
The SRP demand rate schedule once you hit 10kW is $35/kW for the highest 30 minute period.  10kW x $35 is $350 just in demand charges,  This does not include how much power you used. 

What causes high demand levels?
Examples of KW loads in a residence:
  • Electric Clothes Dryer:        6KW
  • Electric Water Heater:      4.5KW
  • 3 Ton Heat Pump:            5.6KW (1.6 KW/ton)
  • 5 Ton Heat Pump:               8KW  (15 year old heat pump: 11KW)
  • Range:                              2.5KW per burner
  • Oven:                                   5KW
  • Pool pump (per pump)         2KW
  • Electric Spa Heater:           10-20KW
Since the meter measures an average of power usage, adding the KW values above would not be how the meter reads your usage.  Example: Let's say a 5 ton heat pump consuming 8KW runs 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off.  The average demand that the meter (and the load controller), "sees and reads" is a  4KW load.   A water heater uses 4.5KW but can run for a full 60 minutes (the APS demand time window), after a load of clothes in the washer using hot water and therefore would contribute 4.5KW to the months demand bill.  

What Does a Load Controller Connect To?
On most all electric homes, the load controller is connected to the heat pump(s), the clothes dryer heating element (so the tumbler keeps spinning), and the electric hot water heater.  Years of experience has shown that pools should run at night during off peak periods and ranges/ovens do not need to be connected.  Since the microprocessor in the load controller is aware of all loads being used, (not just the ones connected to it), when the demand needs to be controlled the load controller will shed loads to allow the use of the range or oven.   If set correctly and programmed you won't even know the load controller is working until you open your energy bill each month and see the reductions. 

I Have Natural Gas, Can a Load Controller Help?
Absolutely.  Your savings won't be as high as an all electric home but you will be able to lower your demand more because of less appliances using 220v to operate.  Lower demands means lower bills.  The recently introduced APS rate is one of the lowest in the country and compatible with our load controllers. We know, we have been doing this since 1981.
How much does a load controller cost? 
How many options do you want?  How many loads are being controlled?  How many WIFI integrated thermostats would like installed? ($400 each),  How many appliance sensors would you like to monitor? ($120/each)
How long does it take to install? 
The average installation time is two hours.  Less on smaller homes, a bit longer on larger homes

Do Load Controllers Need To Be Maintained?
No, once installed it is very rare to have a problem with them and they do not require maintenance or check ups. 
Pensar Units have high quality enclosed relays that are overrated for their duty and units we have installed in 
1981 are still operational.  

How do I know what's going on?  How do I control it?  
The older load controllers were fairly straightforward and had a LED read out for the modes:
   * Demand Set Point
   * Current Demand
   * Past Period Average (your average usage in the last 60 minutes)
   * Highest Demand Level Reached
The newer cloud based systems are far more complicated to interface with and end users have to pay
$99/year for access fees to have any changes made.  

How They Work
Current transformers  are placed around the main buss bars in your electrical panel and measure power consumption.   This information is read and recorded by the controller. 
Every light bulb, appliance and outlet is recorded and archived in a cloud based system.  


Talk to the experts. We've been doing this longer than any other company in the Valley. 

Email us at lowerbillsinphx@gmail.com with your contact information and we will arrange a no cost visitation

This is the Pensar System 1000 which is no longer manufactured nor supported by Electrosem as of
Jan 1, 2017.   

If you currently have a Pensar unit and have questions, concerns or need service, feel free to reach
out to us as we have been servicing Pensar systems since 1981 and we are still here for you today. 
Service call in the metro Phoenix area is $89 and includes 30 minutes labor.  
Trip charges apply over ten miles. 

If you have moved into a house with a controller already on it and do not understand how they function,
we can obtain a manual for your Pensar unit and offer consultation, orientation and show you how to
make the most of it.  Load controllers are a benefit when set up correctly.                            


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