Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rudely awakened from a DEAD sleep, it's part of my job.

This is CRAZYMAMA, with an informational message....

When I said I worked, people wanted to know what I did. I didn't bother explaining because it's confusing.

On it's most basic level, I answer my phone and make a judgement call based on the message received and act on it or not.

So about 5 days a week, I am rudely awakened from a DEAD sleep, to answer a phone call.

A phone call that is usually an informational message, meaning I do nothing.

On occasion, and actually anytime day or night, it is to inform me there is a "synchronized reserve" event happening in a distant location across the country, for a small utility company. which contracts to a MEGA HUGE POWER COMPANY.

This small utility contracts with the hubs small business, which is why I am involved.

We do the smart metering, and the event calls.

I am the call center. There is another call center as back up but it rarely gets past me.

During an event call, the small utility company is essentially being told by the huge power company to start their engines (generators) at locations/businesses participating in a SYNCHRONIZED MANNER to generate power back to the grid.

Big energy users are paid to participate in a federal program to be on call, to either stop power use (it's called curtailment), or to run themselves with on-site generated power (freeing up the energy they normally use on the grid), or to generate power and put it back to the grid.


The power grid, the one that went down back east a few years ago. Which triggered this program soon after. It created a new industry called DEMAND RESPONSE ENERGY.

It's an economic concept (supply and demand) where you bid for energy at a certain price and use it, but in an event, you sell it back to the power company at a profit. The utility company and it's customers get paid for participation.

It's complicated. I understand it as it pertains to me, but even then, I'm on a need to know basis.

The hubs has a much broader knowledge, which enables him to do what he does, for both his real job, and this side business.

I do know more than the average person but, it's still ridiculous and confusing.

You wonder how this applies in real life?

Remember that earthquake that was so out of character for certain states (New York and the Mid-Atlantic region) a few months ago?

I had an event call right after that, within minutes of when the power went down, to start a synchronized reserve event.

I got a call to start an event, I started the event, awhile later I received another call and stopped the event and sometime just before or after , I saw on FB that there had been an earthquake back east.

The grid was stressed, power lines had gone down. phone service was spotty. but from the comfort of my home in AZ I was taking care of business.

Usually my middle of the night calls are nothing but informational messages, until the middle of the winter when, people are stressing the grid with lots of power use to stay warm.

It's in the daytime during the summer when energy users are trying to keep cool.

Obviously also in the case of an emergency, when the grid fails and they have to re-route because lines have gone down, like during hurricanes or earthquakes.

I can get event calls 24/7 365 days a year, and I do. Even when we aren't participating, I still get the calls. I get the calls for programs that we don't participate in, I get calls updating the time stamp, or informing participants they are running tests on the system.

We do pull out of bidding on some holidays just because the customers aren't operational those days. But I still get the calls.

It's not really a big deal, except for that one time, when I was reduced to tears, shopping with a fussy baby, at my happy place (TJMAXX) on the hunt for Easter apparel. I got multiple calls with no message from the utility(all of my calls are automated, except for the one I got tonight), and IT was an event call.

I started the event in store. heading out and ditching my stuff, loaded the baby into the car and getting a stop call in the middle of an intersection. pulling over to stop the event. and going home to cry about it ruining an already bad shopping trip.

I was more upset about the baby fussing while I shopped(he was a newborn and it was an adjustment for me), and the lack of anything I wanted to buy but the timing on the event was horrendous. the blank messages were annoying and dealing with the hubs customer was stressful.

but as always I can do hard things.

So NOW I do the single mom gig with 7 kids, I cook dinner, get all the kids where they need to be and I do the calls. even in the middle of the night. I do the calls when I'm out to lunch and when I'm taking care of the herd.

What's really awesome IS, I got a call in the middle of the night, from a dead sleep, to get some numbers from a live guy tonight, that didn't apply to ANYTHING, since we pulled out of bidding because the system is down, I found this out when I called the hubs in another state and woke him from a dead sleep to deal with it.

Which then triggered this post.

So now you know, this is what I do.

Do you wonder who participates in this program? Shopping malls, hospitals, universities,

manufacturing companies, distribution centers, mushroom farms.

for real mushroom farms. did you know they have to be climate controlled at all times? Yup they do.

Well I'm gonna go back to sleep and hope i don't get any more calls this morning before my alarm goes off.

did you make it to the end? it is confusing and wordy I know.

have you ever heard of demand response energy? what about smart metering?

Our utility we use at home recently got on the smart metering bandwagon. Actually they've probably been working on it for years and JUST BARELY went live.

The hubs has been doing this kind of work for about 5 years, between his previous employer, his current employer, and the year of unemployment he was doing the programing for working on the side business.

His current real job does smart metering WITH THE HUGE MEGA UTILITIES all over the country and elsewhere. Some are gas and water, I think different ones do electric(I'm not sure).

and another freaking call. just a message, it applied to nothing but i think there have been 5 or 6 tonight. UGH!

this is crazymama, that is all.

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© 2011 crazymamaof6


Carie said...

SO... seriously I'm thinking the point is you would rather be power sleeping to gear up for Black Friday?
It would have been so much easier to have said then to be all evasive and wordy and make us assume dontcha think?
As Always,Carie

Rebecca Irvine said...

you weren't kidding when you said it was complicated.... Hope you get naps after those calls!

andrea said...

Ummm....yeah....okay. Made no sense whatsoever. But as long as you do what you do, do it well. As long as it doesn't include turning my power off, I'm good.

This doesn't have anything to do with that program my power company does that puts some device on your a/c and when the demand for electricity is high (like when it
s really hot in the summer) they can just turn off your a/c to conserve energy, for the bonus incentive of a whopping $30 a YEAR credit on your bill, does it? (Thanks, I'd rather not roast. I'll opt out....)

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