BRYN MAWR, Pa.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. (Aqua) was awarded the National Association of Water Company’s (NAWC) 2013 Management Innovation Award for its pursuit of maximizing performance in electricity load response programs. Aqua competed against eight other water utilities to win the award, which was presented at NAWC’s Annual Water Summit held in San Diego, CA.
Aqua’s submission included details on its electricity load response programs, including its participation in PJM’s Emergency Demand Response and Constellation’s Peak Response program, which allow the company to reduce its electric costs by reducing its electric demand on the grid during key high-demand periods. Aqua’s ability to effectively participate in both programs has been significantly enhanced by its use of Constellation’s VirtuWattTM technology, which provides real-time electric monitoring of the company’s electric usage and performance tracking of facilities participating in the load response programs. In addition, incorporating the VirtuWattTM technology into Aqua’s control center allows Aqua personnel to set performance baselines enabling the development of road maps that Aqua can use to set goals for future load response events.
Criteria for the management innovation award were degree of innovation; short- and long-term benefits to the company; value to the water utility industry; the ability to be duplicated at other companies and presentation quality.
Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis said, “I am proud that we are aggressively working to reduce Aqua’s electric costs, which is a benefit to our customers. We are not only realizing direct savings of more than $500,000 to the company, we are also doing our part in helping to stabilize the electric grid when it is stressed by high demand during those very hot summer days.”
Aqua Pennsylvania’s participation in load response programs (since 2008) is just one of the efforts of Aqua America subsidiaries to make a positive impact on the water-energy nexus. The company operates four solar farms that provide supplemental power to its treatment facilities. In 2012 they collectively reduced Aqua’s grid-tied usage resulting in a direct economic benefit to Aqua’s customers of approximately $400,000 in avoided energy costs in 2012.
Last year, to support the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas usage, Aqua America announced, before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Alternative Fuel Vehicles forum, the initiative to transition its large-vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG). The use of CNG in its vehicles provides a safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient fuel source.
Aqua Pennsylvania serves approximately 1.4 million people in 30 counties throughout Pennsylvania. It is the largest subsidiary of Aqua America, Inc., one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water utilities, which serves about 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Florida and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit aquaamerica.com for more information.