For immediate release - July 5, 2011
Leesburg Regional Medical Center Earns $110,000 Rebate for Electric Savings
Leesburg Regional Medical Center – part of Central Florida Health Alliance – has earned $110,000 in savings through a creative partnership with the City of Leesburg to help reduce peak-time electric demand.
City leaders will present an honorary check to the hospital on Tuesday, July 5, to recognize the significant achievement. The event will kick off at 2:15 p.m. in the LRMC west lobby, 600 E. Dixie Ave.
Pictures and video will be available via the Internet after the presentation. Contact Public Outreach Coordinator Robert Sargent at 352-728-9704 for more information.
Since December 2009, the 322-bed hospital has exercised its emergency backup generator to supply its own electricity during key times of the month. The goal is to make sure the generator is running during a single peak hour of demand, when Leesburg and other electric utilities in this area of Central Florida are expected to draw the most power to serve their customers.
So why aim for only one hour of the month?
That is when large, regional power plants work the hardest and charge the most to supply electricity to this area. So conserving electricity during the critical hour is very important to help Leesburg to reduce its energy expenses. The benefits are pretty big.
Leesburg Regional’s efforts have saved more than $220,000 in wholesale energy costs – half that is reimbursed to the hospital through a cooperative agreement with Leesburg. The hospital has saved enough electricity since late 2009 to power 3,600 homes for one hour.
Two Publix Supermarket outlets have saved Leesburg more than $205,000 in wholesale electric costs while the city has exercised a dozen of its own generators each month to save another $1.3 million.
Altogether the city and its partners have saved $1.7 million by exercising emergency generators to reduce peak-hour energy costs. Leesburg has correctly predicted that peak demand hour for the past 17 consecutive months.
Leesburg plans to join with other companies soon for greater reduction of peak electric demand. In many cases, the city can help those businesses even more by providing cheaper natural gas to run new generators rather than traditional diesel fuel. The Leesburg Gas Department serves more than 11,000 customers, and it is growing to serve more commercial businesses needs in this area.
To further save energy costs, the Leesburg Electric Department has conducted a separate program called “system optimization” to improve efficiency of delivering power to customers. That saves $40,000 or more each month – a total of $1.1 million in wholesale electric cost savings since mid 2009.
Total benefits from Leesburg Electric’s combined efforts add up to $2.8 million.
Curbing peak-time demands is a major focus for Leesburg as it prepares for a $20 million Smart Grid update of the entire electric utility. Improvements will allow all of the city’s electric customers to cut back on their peak-time electric use and lower their power bills.
The Smart Grid update is mostly funded by $11 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The project will provide 23,000 customers with new, high-tech electric meters that wirelessly report energy usage to the utility every 15 minutes. That vital data will give customers near real-time information to control their electric costs throughout the month rather than waiting until after the utility bill arrives in the mail.
Leesburg also will install close to 4,000 energy management systems that allow customers to program when they operate their electrical appliances such as air conditioners and water heaters. The hope is to reduce overall power use and to operate appliances mostly during off-peak hours.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.