Town Of Fairfield, EnerNOC, Team Up To Re-energize Northeast

Town Of Fairfield, EnerNOC, Team Up To Re-energize Northeast

August 23, 2003

FAIRFIELD, CT - Early this year, United Illuminating and the Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE), the agency that operates New England's electricity grid, announced a program that would alleviate potential brownouts and blackouts to the region's troubled electricity grid. Fairfield officials explored benefits to its taxpayers and then chose to participate in this money-savings program. EnerNOC, Inc. was selected to manage the Town's participation because the company offered the most service and passed on the highest savings. The agreement quickly bore fruit in the wake of the recent historic blackout.

Fairfield has emergency, backup generators to serve all key Town buildings and services, including the First Selectman's office, Police, Fire, Public Works, Sewage Treatment, and Health. During the electric power blackout, all of these key departments continued to serve the public. The availability of these generators was crucial to the Town's being able to operate smoothly and to act quickly during the crisis.

Under the ISO-NE Program, called the Demand Response (DR) Program, the Town allows EnerNOC to turn on its three largest existing backup generators when ISO-NE senses that the grid is getting close to overload or other contingencies are in effect. This action instantly reduces the amount of load on the system and greatly strengthens the overall stability of the area's energy supply. In return, participants receive payments from ISO-NE and United Illuminating for making their capacity available.

A Call to Action At 7:45 a.m. on Friday, August 15, ISO-NE declared a Demand Response Event (DRE) after sensing that the power grid was getting close to overload in Connecticut. Specifically, ISO-NE was coping with the failure of the main interconnect with New York State and the first-ever energizing of the Cross-Sound Power Cable, which was built to provide emergency power to Long Island. EnerNOC's personnel and technology performed perfectly in responding to the emergency, achieving a 100% service level. As a result, Fairfield should collect around $25,000 at the end of the summer. The effect of the Town's demand reduction was comparable to taking 150 households off-line for 10 hours.

Director of Public Works Richard White said, "The relationship with EnerNOC is proving to be a good partnership. The Company was able to obtain the required DEP air permits in time for the Town to participate in the event. EnerNOC also did the testing and completed the installation of its equipment and the connection to the ISO without a hitch. EnerNOC was able to implement a very complicated, technical program in time for the first ISO-NE event of the summer."

Not only was Fairfield able to provide power to all essential services during the blackout, but also was able to provide power to reduce the potential for more blackouts when the power came back. Fairfield and EnerNOC's actions were a big success, benefiting everyone in New England, where wide-scale grid failure was narrowly avoided. EnerNOC gave the Town turnkey entry into the DR Program and put it on the cutting edge of modern energy management practices.

"The service we provide our clients is managing every aspect of their participation in the Demand Response Program, requiring minimal involvement on their part," said David Brewster, EnerNOC's President & COO. "Because EnerNOC is handling the permitting, generator testing, and emergency response, the Town can concentrate on its daily business, knowing that we're managing their backup generators."

Environmental Benefits

While the DR Program is primarily designed to improve the reliability of the electricity grid, Connecticut's environment stands to benefit as well:

  • Eliminating unnecessary generator operation by preventing grid failure: During brownouts and blackouts, thousands of poorly maintained backup generators are run to keep the lights on. EnerNOC significantly reduces the risk of brownouts and blackouts by strategically dispatching a limited number of the most efficient, cleanest running backup generators.


  • Promoting clean fuel: All of the generators in EnerNOC's network are operated on natural gas, low-sulfur diesel, or bio-diesel.


  • Managing generator runtime: Generator manufacturers generally recommend weekly or bi-weekly operation of their systems. This "exercise" is necessary for maintaining efficient and reliable backup generators. EnerNOC automates this process for its customers, maximizing the efficiency of each generator.

"This is a win-win situation for the Town, remarked First Selectman Ken Flatto. We are turning our emergency backup generators into revenue generators, with no risk involved, and we are helping prevent electric blackouts within the area. At the same time we are reducing air pollution and promoting newer, cleaner fuels. The data that EnerNOC collects on our generators and on our entire facility energy consumption is allowing us to make better energy choices overall. I am pleased Fairfield is the first municipality in Connecticut to participate in this money savings and environmentally beneficial program that also helps the region achieve energy reliability."

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