Townsville, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- May 2, 2012 - Ergon Energy is expanding its hot water demand management project in North Queensland in order to better manage the daily spike in demand for power at peak times.

The project, which involves about 70,000 customers, involves changing the on and off times of the residential hot water systems.

The customers affected are those on the Tariff 33, which can be used for hot water systems, swimming pool filters and air conditioning. To facilitate the planned change, a separate channel for hot water has been installed in 23,000 customers’ switchboards.

“Peak demand was not a critical issue for North Queensland when Tariff 33 was introduced in the mid 1980s. However, the demand for power in peak times has been growing faster than general consumption and we are now seeing a spike in electricity usage between 4-8 pm each day,” said Graham Lynes, Regional Services acting manager. “This has meant we have had to review our load management practices right across regional Queensland.”

Tariff 33 supplies power for a minimum of 18 hours per day during time periods set at the discretion of Ergon Energy. The new switch off times for Tariff 33 will occur during peak times, which usually fall between 6 am and 9 am and 4 pm and 9 pm. In addition the current 1.5 hour evening off period will move to 2 hours off.

The changes to the switching times will start initially from mid-May into June, before being progressively phased in to all customers with hot water systems connected to Tariff 33 over the next 12 months.