Load manager

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A load manager is a device that is used to make the electrical energy supply network more stable in the event of demand peaks by switching off end devices (load shedding) . It is used for load control as part of an intelligent power grid .

Concept in power supply

The principle of load shedding has been a common method of grid stabilization in electrical power grids since the beginning of electrical power grids, in particular to absorb peak loads when the generation cannot meet the demand for electrical power. In this way, the need for electricity production can be reduced by short-term control of the electricity demand in order to avoid large-scale blackouts . This means that the number of additional power plants required for peak load supply, especially storage power plants, can be kept lower.

The concept of load management basically does not depend on the type of energy generation and that of the energy consumer. In principle, it represents a reduction in quality for the electricity customer, since the electricity customer's electrical devices can be switched off by the energy supply company at any time and the customer loses control of these devices and their operating status to a certain extent.

So far, load shedding has primarily affected special load shedding customers , large consumers especially in the commercial-industrial sector, such as cement mills or larger cold stores. In return for being disconnected (discarded) from the grid within a few seconds if there was insufficient electricity generation, such companies received a cheap electricity tariff. In the course of the expansion of the supply through modern electronic controls and communicating networks, attempts are being made to extend this concept to smaller consumer groups in private households .

The load manager could also be useful for feeding electricity into local generation systems, such as photovoltaic or wind power systems, which are gradually curtailed by the network operator if the feed-in is too high (too much wind or sun for current consumption).

Use by the end customer

Load managers control electricity consumption in households in such a way that, at peak times, certain consumers are switched off that consume electricity with conventional use, but could easily do without it for a while. During peak loads during this period, for example, the refrigerator can be switched off for a short time and the freezer or an electric boiler for a longer period without impairing its function.

To do this, these devices must be networked with the load manager so that they can be switched off automatically within a short period of time (typically a few seconds) by means of remote maintenance. The load manager is integrated into the house connection and requires end devices that can be electronically controlled via an interface.

Through load management, the electricity costs for a household can be reduced, since the electricity at peak load is particularly expensive for the energy supplier and thus basically also for the consumers. In addition to tariff systems such as night power and time-dependent price models ( smart meters ), further price reductions can be offered.

In the long term, it is also assumed that electrical heating , which has been known for many years as extremely expensive, could experience a renaissance through load management. Load managers integrated into a system of intelligent living (networked building technology) enable it to be operated in an optimized manner. Since the requirements for domestic heating systems, with regard to their pollutant emissions, are gradually increasing in parallel, this heating system could become competitive again, especially in new buildings, by eliminating the entire investment in the heating line system and reducing it to just one power network. Night storage heaters can make an important contribution to electricity buffering in the future. The combination with house solar and wind power systems that produce electricity directly is also more efficient.

As with the smart meters and the concept of the intelligent power grid itself, the data security is assessed critically , since the electricity supplier electronically records the power consumption for control purposes, and personality profiles of the habits can be created that could be the target of abuse by third parties. With the load manager, the utility also actively intervenes in the budget process, even if the customer is unlikely to notice much of this due to the short shutdown times.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Questions and answers about intelligent electricity meters: What are the advantages of intelligent metering systems? Golem.de, February 10, 2015.
  2. Night storage heaters before a comeback? , news.ORF.at, December 10, 2012.