The benefits of an innovative demand management initiative, the Mackay Empower program, have begun to be realised by both Ergon Energy and customers with Mackay Regional Council announcing that it will participate by synchronising three diesel generators.

Ergon Chief Executive Ian McLeod said the Mackay Empower program provides business customers in the high growth area of Paget, incentives to optimise their electricity use during peak periods to assist in the deferral of network augmentation.

Under the Mackay Empower program, three types of incentives are available for business customers deemed demandreduced demand and demand response.

Mr McLeod said the Empower Mackay program was part of a suite of initiatives being undertaken by Ergon to put downward pressure on rising electricity prices by offsetting or deferring expenditure on high cost infrastructure.

“Rather than looking at the traditional poles and wires solution to load growth and demand, Ergon is increasingly looking to alternatives and demand side management options, where it is appropriate, to address customer requirements” he said.

“A key aspect of Empower Mackay is market facilitation for private sector businesses to deliver products and services to our customers to manage their electricity needs.  We have had quite a few local firms register to work with Ergon in this regard.”

“We will continue to invest in the maintenance and operation of our network but will be making prudent investment decisions about how we manage our network solutions.”

“We need to ensure we deliver the most cost effective, safe and reliable service to address affordability issues for customers” he said.

Velocity Energy (Trade Ally Network Aggregator) has now received a formal letter of intent from the Mackay Regional Council (MRC) to enter into a contract to commit three of their generators in the focus area.

This represents a significant milestone in the project delivery and at this stage will be on time and within the budget to achieve the 2014/15 financial year load saving targets.  Empower Mackay has now managed the load constraints in South Mackay and Rosella zone substations which in turn relates to two years of expenditure deferral of the proposed Ooralea zone substation.

Mayor Deirdre Comerford said it was pleasing to be able to partner with Ergon to assist them to defer network augmentation, reduce the company’s capital costs and in turn help keep household electricity costs down.

“It is initiatives such as these that have enabled council to deliver its lowest ever residential rate increase of 2.9 per cent this financial year, despite the ever-rising cost of utilities,” she said.

“With electricity costs projected to rise from 13 to 15 per cent annually in the short term, it is imperative to pursue energy-efficiency programs and alliances such as this. “This project alone is anticipated to save council in the realm of $40,000 a year.”

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