Penn Institute for Urban Research and Partners Launch Innovative Electricity Price Awareness Campaign

13 April 2012

You can easily track the minute-by-minute price swings of a barrel of oil, but can you do the same for a megawatt of electricity? Today you can.

The Electricity Price Ticker Partnership, led by PJM Interconnection and Penn Institute for Urban Research, has unveiled its web-based Electricity Price Ticker that tracks the real time wholesale electricity price for the PECO area. The ticker is the centerpiece of the Partnership’s Electricity Price Awareness campaign, which aims to increase the public’s understanding of the connection between the wholesale price of electricity and their electricity bills to show that energy use patterns effect the price of electricity and to support national Smart Grid efforts.

In addition to PJM and Penn IUR, the partners are: University of Pennsylvania’s Facilities and Residential Services (FRES), the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Penn State’s GridSTAR, and PECO.

A visit to the partners’ websites reveals a colorful ticker displaying the price of a megawatt hour of electricity, updated every five minutes (all but PECO will display the ticker on their websites). The price can vary greatly during a single day and by season. A click on the ticker directs the users to the Partnership’s website ( www.PowerIsKnowledge.com) to learn about the electricity market: how electricity is produced, transmitted, and distributed to homes and businesses.

From the Partnership’s website, users can browse the individual partner’s sites for information about awareness programs and events. For example, at PJM’s site ( www.pjm.com/about-pj­m/learning-center.aspx ), users will learn how electricity gets to homes; at Penn IUR’s site ( http://penniur.upenn.edu/ ), visitors can take an electricity literacy test; at UPenn’s Facilities and Real Estate Services’ site ( http://www.facilities.upenn.edu/sustain_emng.php ), users can find out how to conserve electricity on a university campus.

BACKGROUND:

Electricity providers around the country are struggling to find a solution to the problem of an ever increasing electricity demand and one that is increasingly "peaky" - short periods of significantly higher-than-average peak demand. This issue has come into public focus in recent years with the frequent occurrence of rolling brownouts and, in some cases, blackouts of entire regions during summer months when demand is highest. PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission authority that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or part of 13 states and the District of Columbia is addressing this problem by forging this historic partnership. GPIC provided financial support for the ticker design.

 
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