Over the last decade, the nature of the aggregate electrical load served by U.S. and Canadian distribution utilities has changed as electronic loads, such as new energy-efficient lighting technologies, switched-mode power supplies, and appliances with variable speed drives, become more ubiquitous in distribution systems. One category of these new load types is plug loads, that is, residential loads that are supplied by a removable connection to a power outlet. Examples of electronic plug loads are charging devices, audio systems, televisions, communication devices, and computers. Studies have shown that the power consumed by this type of load today constitutes 10 to 20% of the total residential energy consumption, and the energy consumed by these devices is projected to increase substantially in the future.
Utilities and other entities that supply and regulate power to consumers recognize that a consequence of the increased penetration and expected growth of this type of load is that there is a large potential for energy conservation by controlling such devices, for instance, marketing programs that provide consumer incentives or utility operation practices that are targeted to reduce energy consumption, such as conservation voltage reduction (CVR). Utilities are interested in (1) “how-to” advice on creating energy efficiency programs to curb the unnecessary plug load use, (2) pointers on how to assist energy conscientious customers contemplating plug load purchases, and (3) strategies for measuring attributable savings and encouraging manufacturers to produce more energy-efficient electronics.
In light of the aforementioned concerns, the main objective and scope of this project is to provide a utility guide on how to market, accurately measure, and verify the effectiveness of residential plug load Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs), and to plan and implement its control and conservation strategies.
Keywords: Conservation Voltage Reduction, Energy Conservation Measures, Phantom Loads, Plug Loads Marketing Programs, Plug Loads, Power Quality, Utility Concerns and Practices