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Switch Makes Cents

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"Cents"-ible Energy Management

The History of NIPCO's "Switch Makes Cents" Program

In 1973, energy studies revealed that a larger source of power would be necessary to keep up with NIPCO's load growth. NIPCO purchased a share of the Neal 4 generating plant to provide its member systems with the power requirements needed, according to periodic load forecasts performed. Neal 4 began commercial operation in 1979. About the same time, NIPCO’s annual energy sales began to decline due to climbing oil prices, energy conservation measures, the farm crisis, and the loss of a large commercial load. With the economy not, quickly, rebounding, energy sales declining, and no load growth expected in the foreseeable future, NIPCO’s electric rates began to increase. NIPCO and its member systems aggressively worked to identify ways to relieve the member-owners from the financial burden of excess capacity. 

George Neal 4 is a coal generation station owned by Mid-American Energy and is located south of Sioux City, Iowa.

In August of 1984, the NIPCO Board approved a proposal to develop a system-wide energy marketing and load management program, named, “Switch Makes Cents”. The program began offering rebates to install new electric loads and special rates to member-owners who would allow specified heating and cooling equipment to be controlled during peak conditions. 

From the beginning, NIPCO Member cooperatives have utilized the Switch Makes Cents program to help manage the energy consumption for farms, homes, and businesses in western Iowa.

The primary goals established were to increase energy sales, stabilize consumer rates, improve load factors, and to reduce purchased power costs.

A newspaper ad (circa 1984) promotes the benefits of the Switch Makes Cents program.

A robust advertising campaign, led by the Wm. Bass Agency of Sioux City, was launched to educate member-owners about the programs and its benefits. NIPCO and its member systems worked to encourage member-owners to participate in the program by installing a radio-controlled “switch” on qualifying equipment. The advertising, left, promotes the Switch Makes Cents as a means for energy efficiency and saving money. Get a closer detail of the ad, published circa 1984.

When electric demand grew to a certain level during peak conditions, the switch allowed NIPCO to cycle the participating equipment off and on, thus saving electricity and decreasing electric costs. Once demand decreased, the equipment would return to operating normally.

While the program technology has evolved over the last thirty-plus years, the program name, mission, and message remain the same. 

Class A Members of NIPCO offer Switch Makes Cents as a resource for electric load management. To learn more about your cooperative's Switch Makes Cents program, visit their website or contact one of their Customer Service Representatives.

NIPCO Members

Switch Makes Cents 1984 Advertising Detail

This "Switch Makes Cents" newspaper advertising was published in 1984 to promote the benefits of NIPCO's new electric load management...