Understanding Demand

Demand is the highest amount of electrical power - measured in kilowatts (kW), 1,000 watts - at one point in time during the billing cycle. If you turn on all of your appliances at once, or if you use your major appliances (and biggest energy hogs) all at one time, your energy demand goes very high, very quickly for that specific point in time.

Demand for electricity varies throughout the day. Think about how a community operates: demand is lowest during the night when most people sleep and most businesses are not open. On the other hand, demand is highest during the day while businesses are operating and people are working, doing house chores, etc. 

Electricity must be produced exactly as people need it and JEA must generate enough power to meet our customers’ demand at all times. By encouraging customers to shift energy use to other times of the day and to run fewer appliances at the same time, existing JEA power plants can operate more efficiently, and if the community does this enough, ultimately by all working together we can reduce the need for JEA to build more power plants to accommodate the demand that is created by all of us using a lot of energy at the same time.

Examples of How Demand Works

To understand demand, it is easiest to look at examples.

Example 1

Think of demand like the gasoline consumption in your car. If you step on the gas and speed up quickly, you burn off fuel at a faster rate than if you were to start more slowly and evenly. 

Example 2

Or, think about demand like your Internet service. When one person streams a movie or television show on a device in your home, the stream works perfectly. But as additional people in your home attempt to stream video at the same time, more bandwidth is needed. 

Demand like Internet Service

How is Demand Calculated?

We told you Demand is the highest amount of electricity used at one time. It is calculated using the highest amount of electricity demanded in a 15-minute period. Within an hour, there are four 15-minute increments. By multiplying the highest number of kilowatt hours (kWh) used in one 15-minute increment by four, you get the kilowatts (kW) - or Demand - for that hour. 

Calculating Demand Graph

In this specific example, you would calculate your demand by multiplying your highest kWh in a 15-minute period (2.4 kWh) x 4 (number of 15-minute periods in one hour) to get the highest demand for this one-hour period (= 9.6 kW).

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