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Residential Load Controllers Back to main page
Frequently Asked Questions
Let there be no
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
Easy way to remember: They sell power, we help you conserve it.
What is a load controller?
A load controller is an outdoor mounted computer that measures your
usage and controls peak demand by load shedding. Loads (A/C,
Dryer, Water Heater), are 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 most 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 APS residential users, this time period is one
hour. You are charged for the highest demand reached during any sixty
minute period. Demand is measured in time and in amount. The typical
measurement used 1000 watts or 1KW averaged per a given time
period. Either 30 minutes (Salt River Project) or 60 minutes (Arizona
Public Service Company).
The current charge is
$13.85 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
Demand rates are expected to rise to
$16/kW making this investment pay off even faster.
Examples of KW loads in a residence:
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 and therefore would contribute 4.5KW
to the months bill. The Inergy Smart Panel System has built-in timers and one
can be set to keep the water heater from running during on peak
Clothes Dryer: 6KW
Water Heater: 4.5KW
Ton Heat Pump:
5.6KW (1.6 KW/ton)
8KW (15 year old heat pump: 11KW)
2.5KW per burner
pump (per pump)
What Does a Load Controller
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
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 and have helped hundreds of APS customers
lower their monthly bills.
Do Load Controllers Need To Be
installed it is very rare to have a problem with them and they do not require
maintenance or check ups.
How do I know
what's going on? How do I control it?
All of the data
collected is sent to a cloud based system so you can log into your account
online and view your power usage, create graphs of use with a simple click and
make changes such as raising or lowering demand levels (it changes seasonally), timers for the water heaters, and what you are currently using and an
archive of what you have been using.
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
Every light bulb, appliance and outlet is recorded
and archived in a cloud based system.
Current sensors are placed on loads and can then
be tracked, archived and graphed.
Being able see the
load use on a graph which is stored on a cloud based system
then has the ability to do predictive maintenance on HVAC
equipment. Should one of
the units take longer than typical
to reach a target temperature, you will be alerted that
attention is needed.
You will be able to track usage both in real time
and historically, run times of loads, set levels and change the
your laptop or PC. (soon to have a mobile app).
Sensors feed data into the Smart Panel (on the
right) and the loads to be controlled are fed into high quality
box is mounted outside on the right side of the main service panel and acquires
it to a cloud based storage system so it can be viewed from any
location with net access. Phone app's
are being developed so you
can turn loads on or off, change temperature remotely, read the history of
temperature/energy usage/peak demand and do it remotely.
One of many
graphs that can be veiwed in real time. Moving the cursor over the interactive
details in this case the highest demand during that billing cycle
was 17.465kW. Clicking on the graph
expands it for more
a Load Controller Help Me?
Marrzella in Scottsdale has
a four bedroom ranch with a
and has saved $16,000 in twelve years on her APS bill. Although
is on the high end of most of our customers, you can expect at least
a 30% drop in your monthly bill with little or no change in lifestyle,
save as much as 40%. Remember, you
have control of the load controller, you set where you want it to be.
does a Load Controller look like?
Below is the Pensar
System 1000 (outdoor display)
This unit is mounted
next to your existing electrical breaker box
This is the relay box
which is mounted outside and houses the control module. There are modes on the display
which shows your demand set point (where you set the maximum demand
level), current demand (what the home is currently using), past hourly
average (this is what the APS meter measures from), highest demand peak
(what the highest peak reached was during last billing cycle), time,
date and alarm settings.
Typically you would
interface with this display to set the demand where it best fits
your lifestyle. It may take a full year to know just how low you can
set it as the seasons and demand levels change and we encourage our customers
to check it more often than not during the first year. Demand
adjustments should reflect the load on the home, for example: one setting
to accommodate the summer load, a lower setting for Fall and Spring, and
one setting to insure your home is warm during the winter. Key point
to remember: the lower you set the demand level, the lower your demand
Ok, I'm Interested, What's The Next
Your first call is going to be
to your local power provider,
either Arizona Public Service Company: 602 371 7171 or Salt River
Project at 602-236-8888 and ask for customer service. Assuming you have been in
your home for a year, request your consumption history for last year including demand levels.
Having the demand levels on this history is very important for
our energy experts to determine accurately how much we can save
you. This is free to all customers. Again: Last years consumption history with demand
Once you receive this document
call us and schedule an energy audit and we will come out to your home and show
you how to save. This document is not required for an
assessment, it helps define patterns and calculate the
Our team has licensed HVAC
contractors and can make certain your a/c or heat pump is working at
peak efficiency. For a demand controller to be 100%
effective, the a/c or heat pump must be operating at manufacturer's recommended
789 1699 to schedule
an on site analysis
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