The basics of dual fuel space heating

As the mercury begins to fall, it’s good to refresh your memory on the fundamentals of dual fuel space heating.

The dual fuel space heating program allows Arrowhead Electric Cooperative’s wholesale electric provider, Great River Energy, to avoid purchasing power at peak times when demand – and electricity prices – are highest.

This allows Great River Energy to better manage its wholesale energy costs – the price that Arrowhead Electric Cooperative pays for its energy – which, in turn, allows Arrowhead Electric Cooperative to better manage the rate it charges members.

Dual fuel space heating allows Great River Energy to control the electric heating systems of those enrolled in the program for up to 400 hours over the course of a winter heating season; however, most winters the control has totaled between 150 and 250 hours. The hours can be any time of the day, but typically are in the early evening and occasionally in the morning. Control of electric heating systems will not exceed 12 hours on a single day.

Program participants should expect 25-35 control days this winter, with most occurring in December, January and February.

It’s not freezing. Why are you controlling?  Great River Energy purchases electricity from a market that serves much of the Midwest and parts of Canada. Temperature swings that can drive up energy prices and cause heat to be controlled could be hundreds of miles from Arrowhead Electric Cooperative’s service area.

How do I know when you’ll control? The dual fuel program is used to reduce market energy purchases during times of high demand and high market prices. There isn’t a predefined market price or temperature that will indicate when the program will be controlled. Several factors, including historical electricity use, time of day and weather patterns, influence the decision to control.

You can, however, get an idea of the likelihood of control by visiting and selecting “Load Management Guide” at the lower left hand part of the screen. The dual fuel program control expectations and scheduled control times can be found under “Residential.” If you would like to view last years control hours to gain a better understanding of how the program is operated select “Residential History.”

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