Load Management Programs

Load Management Programs

South Central Electric Association offers a wide variety of load management programs to help SCEA reduce electric costs to its members.


Air to Air Heat Pumps

Air to air heat pumps have been around for over twenty-five years. In 1999, they really made strides in reliability and efficiency. The air to air heat pump of today can really reduce heating and cooling costs. In a very simple description, air to air heat pumps are central air conditioners that can run backwards and produce 250%-300% efficient heat. Because all air to air heat pump installations are sized to provide proper air conditioning the unit will not be able to provide enough heating BTU's to keep a house warm on the coldest days of the winter. In combination with a central furnace to supply heat on the days below 20 degrees and the heat pump to provide all the heat on days above 20 degrees we see some very reasonable heating costs.

The air to air heat pump can be put on the load control program. The radio control will cycle the compressor in 15 minute intervals on and off during high usage times during the summer, and will be controlled completely during high usage times during the winter. The member that participates in this program will receive a 3.1 cent per kilowatt hour discount on the electricity used by the heat pump.

Cycled Air Conditioner Program

Summer has particularly high energy usage peaks simply because of the hot and humid days. In order to try to control energy costs, South Central Electric Association does offer a cycled air conditioner program. Under this program a radio control is connected to the thermostat wires from your air conditioner.

During the high usage times in the summer the load control system will cycle the compressor on the air conditioner on and off in 15 minute intervals. Members that participate in this program receive a $25.00 per year credit. The credit is paid out half on the September bill and half on the October bill. In order to qualify for the credit the air conditioner must be under load management control by June 1st of each year.

Dual Fuel Program

Off peak heating can have a variety of forms. The most popular heating program has been the Dual Fuel Program. This program provides electric heat in combination with a gas or oil furnace. The member will normally use the electric heat, but at high usage times or peak times the electric heat will be turned off through the use of a radio control and the gas or oil backup heating system will provide the heat during that time. Members that participate in this program receive a 3.1 cent per kilowatt hour discount on the energy used by their electric heat.

Geothermal heat pumps do not qualify for this program.

Storage Electric Heating

This program actually comes with two options. First the member can install a central storage furnace. This furnace has electric elements embedded in a ton of bricks. The bricks are heated with electricity from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. When the thermostat calls for heat in the house the furnace fan will blow air across the bricks and deliver warm air to the entire house. The furnace does have outside controls that monitor the outside temperature and will only heat the bricks enough to meet your heating requirements.

The second option is a room storage electric unit. These are electric elements embedded in smaller units designed for different room sizes. The bricks will be heated only between 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. When the room requires heat the fan will come on and blow air across the bricks and deliver warm air.

Anyone that participates in this program will receive a 3.1 cent per kilowatt hour discount on the electricity used for heating.

Geothermal heat pumps do not qualify for this program.

Water Heater Program

South Central Electric Association has been involved in load management control of electric water heaters since 1983. The purpose of this program is to shift as many electrical loads from peak electrical usage times to other times that energy can be purchased at a much lower price. At the present time we have approximately 2,400 water heaters under load management control.

How does the program work? A radio control device is mounted on the outside of the home or other building and connected to the water heater. When we anticipate a peak usage time, a radio signal will be sent to your radio control and your water heater will be shut off. The length of time that your water heater may be off will vary from 4-12 hours on really high peak usage days. Usually the hottest days of summer, the coldest days of winter and corn drying create the peak usage times.

The main benefit of participating in this program is that it helps keep the electrical rates as low as possible for everyone. Other benefits include a reduced cost water heater and subsidized repairs. If you have a water heater that needs to be replaced, South Central Electric Association will supply a Marathon 85 or 105-gallon water heater for $450.00. You must sign an agreement to stay on the load management program for six years. South Central Electric will pay for the installation of the radio control and to make the electrical connection to the water heater. It is the member’s responsibility to pick up the water heater and to pay the plumber to install the water heater. If the member feels comfortable, they may plumb the water heater themselves.

In the case of a water heater repair, your regular electrician will be asked to repair your water heater. If the problem is the water heater thermostats, elements or fuses, the member will be charged a flat $30.00 fee. If the radio control is the problem, the member will not be charged for the repair. If an electrician is called and no problem is found, the member will be billed the full amount of the service call.

The water heater will be connected to a radio control and will be controlled from 4-12 hours at a time depending on the duration of the high usage time.
Other services available:

  • Delivery (Normal working hours)  $50.00
  • Pick-up after normal business hours $100.00


How do I know if I am being controlled? Click here for radio control function chart.


Area Contractors can help you find an electric option for heating your home. Click here for a list of area contractors.