Load Research

Load Research

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0173-4.ch004


In a load research study the objective is to formulate the load curves of all consumer categories. The daily load curve is an essential building block for achieving this objective. With information, the power system planner can perform many important activities and functions within the planning process.
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Energy has become an almost “life-line” type of commodity for all societies. It fuels the socio-economic process and enables people to attain a comfortable life style. However, consumption of energy forms should be rationalized because sources are limited and indeed they are diminishing. Electricity is one key source of energy. It is known as a relatively “inexpensive” as well as “clean” source of energy. However, if demand for electricity grows beyond control there might not be enough supply to cover all the demand. This unfortunate situation will cause discomfort to people and probably disruption of economic production. Therefore, it is very important to properly plan, operate and control the power system which delivers electricity to all consumers (Elkarmi, 2008, p. 1).

Consumers of electricity vary in the amount of electrical energy and electrical demand drawn from the network. That is why electrical power companies classify such consumers, or customers, into several classes. This classification is based on characteristics of demand; behavioral issues; and other considerations related to location, climate, and status to name a few. The quest and accumulation of this customer-related information is called load research. With load research the electricity company, or companies, will be aware and hopefully knowledgeable in the composition and trends of demand of consumers. This essential knowledge will be the basis for pricing electricity properly, and fairly. Moreover, the electricity company can predict future demand based on such information. Therefore, new expansions, enforcements, or extensions will be affected to cater for any future demand.

On the other hand proper operation and control of the power system requires all the information available on consumers and consumption patterns. With the aid of this information the electricity company can minimize production cost, plan maintenance schedules, and control the quality of power delivered to all consumers. This would be reflected in leaner electricity tariff and consequently in affordable bills (Elkarmi, 2008, pp. 1-2).

Electric companies historically believed their business is simply to sell electricity, thinking they had no choice but to keep supplying the demand. Some still think this, but the majority now realizes that it's usually cheaper to convince their customers alter their consumption habits rather than try to sell them more of it. “Demand side management,” is the act of attempting to manage demand of consumer to achieve energy efficiency (Elkarmi, 2008, p. 2).

Load research is a very essential tool and a prerequisite for demand-side management. It has been, and still is being, used by electricity companies throughout the world. Load research data is used to develop kWh-to-peak-kW conversion factors, diversity factors, and average time varying load data as a function of customer class, month, and type of day (Broadwater, et al., 1997, p. 2). Load research can provide useful information for planning and designing utility distribution systems by means of proper load estimation. The estimation of loads determines the size and location, or site, of an electric plant and the associated network equipment needed to deliver the electric power to consumers. Moreover, the estimation of future loads requires an understanding of the characteristics of the various load components (Nazarko, Broadwater, & Tawalbeh, 1998).

Load research enables the management of power companies to make effective decisions. Through detailed studies of electricity usage pattern of their customers and other influencing factors the possibility of making certain changes on end-use patterns can be assessed. Such studies are based on either individual end-uses or in total aggregates and they require sound knowledge in the areas of statistics, marketing research, electrical engineering and social sciences. For example, the load research effect on demand side management and energy efficiency is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Load research effect on demand side management and energy efficiency

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