MINNEAPOLIS - Honeywell announced that Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), a utility that serves 250,000 residential customers on the Island of Oahu, has signed a $3.9 million contract to implement a peak-load management program. The program will help the utility maintain system reliability during periods of peak demand and system emergencies.

"Last fall, Oahu hit new highs in usage and we came close to needing more electricity than was available," said Keith Block, program manager for HECO.

"By working with Honeywell, we will be able to improve system reliability. This is critical because we are unable to connect to the national grid and are solely responsible for generating the necessary power."

Under the two-year contract, Honeywell will install remote-controlled switches from Cannon Technologies on electric water heaters in more than 12,500 homes. The contract also has provisions for a two-year extension for a total of 25,000 homes over the four years. This will allow HECO to temporarily turn off the heaters, which consume up to 40 percent of energy used in a home, during generation emergencies.

In the event of a system emergency, the switches will sense the need to reduce electricity use and shut down qualified water heaters for a brief period of time.

As a result, HECO will be in a better position to supply power across the island without interruption. The ability to shed load is especially important from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the late summer months (August to October), when residential electrical use is at its peak and generators run at full capacity.

The goal is to reduce the load by 17 megawatts - enough electrical capacity to cover the needs of more than 10,000 homes. HECO will market the program to its customers, while Honeywell will manage all other aspects of the program including lead management, appointment scheduling, switch installation, customer service, and ongoing maintenance throughout the life of the contract.

Residential customers who have an electric water heater with a capacity of at least 40 gallons can sign up for the program. These customers receive a $3 monthly bill credit as an incentive to participate.

"Managing energy consumption is more important than ever, as electric utilities face growing challenges to combat demand fluctuations and volatile energy prices," said Joe Puishys, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. "With decades of energy-related experience, Honeywell can help HECO secure Hawaii's energy future by improving system efficiency and reliability."

Publication date: 07/18/2005