Skip to Main Content
Load management is the systems concept of altering the real or apparent pattern of electricity use in order to conserve resources, both fuel and capital, in the production and distribution of electrical energy. Load management is achieved through controlling the power flow in the electric system at the generating end (supply management) or the customer end (use management). Traditionally, the electric power system has been designed and operated to respond to the customers' instantaneous demands for electric power and the control problem has been one of load-following by generating units, i.e., supply management. The customer or use end of the circuit has been uncontrolled, resulting in large peaks and valleys in power demand which the generating units must follow. To reduce these large swings at the primary generating plants, some utilities have added energy storage using large pumped hydro installations whose operation is a part of the supply management. However, the remainder of the power system must continue to respond to the swings in demand. Use management operates at the customer end to control the power demand directly, either by the utility or by the customer or cooperatively. Load management is particularly attractive because of the potential to conserve energy and capital in both production and distribution of electric power, to shift a significant amount of fuel base from oil and natural gas to coal, nuclear, or renewable sources and to stabilize the cost of electricity.