Corporate information

Western Power launches energy saving campaign

Release Date: 23 January 2009

(copies of the ads can be found on beatthepeak.com.au from 24.1.09)

Western Power’s Managing Director, Mr Doug Aberle today launched the 2009 summer advertising campaign Beat the Peak aimed at reducing electricity consumption during Perth’s 3-6 pm peak use period.

This is the third year the campaign has run and the first time Western Power has focused entirely on air conditioner usage in the campaign.

“WA records the highest rate of air conditioning use in Australia. The increase in use has been rapid, rising from 47% of homes in 1999 to 92% of homes in 2008.  A large number of people are now purchasing a second and third air conditioner to cool their home.

“The campaign targets the times of highest use in the system which usually occurs during February and March when all business, industry and schools are operating.

“Beat the Peak has proven to be a very effective way of raising awareness about the need to use energy wisely.

“The most effective way to lower the peak in the electricity system is to change behaviour around air conditioner use,” Mr Aberle said.

Air conditioner use in Perth amounts to nearly a third of power consumed on the hottest days in February and March.

“On the hottest days last summer, when approximately 3600MW of power was being consumed, about 1000MW was attributed to air conditioner use.  1000MW is enough to power 400,000 homes.

“People get home from a long day and set the air conditioner to a low temperature to cool a hot house quickly.  It would be much more energy efficient if air conditioners were set to start automatically at 24 degrees an hour before people returned home so the unit didn’t have to work so hard to reach the set temperature.

“You’d be surprised at how cool 24 is,” he said.

“Residents can save 10% on their cooling costs with every degree higher they set an air conditioner.

“Beating the peak will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce spending on the electricity network.

“Currently $60 -100 million is spent each year to ensure the network meets peak demand. The peak is now occurring over very short periods of time totalling only two and half days a year, making the multi million dollar investment very uneconomical”, he said.

Beat the Peak is one of a number of innovative approaches Western Power is implementing to raise awareness about the inefficiencies of peak use.

Last year Western Power conducted its first air conditioning trial to reduce peak electricity use on hot days. A device was placed in home air conditioner units that enabled Western Power to turn off the cooling compressor, though not the fan, for short times during the peak.

“The trial was very successful and helped reduce peak demand on a sample of participants in the area by 27% without recording increased discomfort for residents during the trial periods,” Mr Aberle said.

Western Power plans to conduct similar trials across the network in future.

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