Instapoll on Reliable Electric Service: What Would You Pay?

What’s a fair price to keep the lights on for your operation? Are you willing to pay a premium for reliable electric service? And if so, how much?

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Let us know by taking the quick instapoll below. You’ll instantly see how your opinion compares with others. Your responses remain anonymous.

We encourage you to participate if you make energy decisions for government, business, manufacturing, data centers, hospitals, universities, research centers, commercial buildings, or any other operation that values reliable electric service.

Power outages can be costly to society. A 2013 White House report pegged the average annual cost to the U.S. economy at $18 to $33 billion and as much as $75 billion some years.

Energy analysts, regulators and policymakers are now exploring how to place a monetary value on the ability of microgrids to ward off expensive outages.

This is not an easy calculation, given the multiple ways microgrids help keep the power on.

Microgrids can act as a form of back-up generation. When a hurricane or storm causes a power outage on the central grid, the microgrid separates itself from the grid, and functions as a stand-alone mini-grid. The microgrid’s generators supply customers within its footprint until the grid is repaired.

But that’s only one way microgrids ensure reliability. They also can quickly respond when a cloud suddenly passes over solar panels or the wind stops turning wind turbine blades. The microgrid can supply services and power to the grid until renewables come on again.

Microgrids also can help the grid manage congestion and peak demand. Perhaps it’s a hot summer day and air conditioners are putting strain on utility power plants — to the point where brownouts or blackouts are imminent.  Grid operators can call on a microgrid to ease the strain.

We invite you to read more about issues surrounding reliable electric service on the Microgrid Knowledge reliability channel.

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