Duquesne Light Company, one of the top distributors of electric energy in southwestern Pennsylvania, has selected Comverge to help it implement new energy management programs to help optimize energy use by customers during peak summer activity.

During the summer, many residential and business customers rely on air conditioners and fans almost daily to stay cool, and these activities can spike energy use across a region. However, helping customers manage air conditioning peak loads can earn customers money, protect the environment and preserve energy.

To do that, Duquesne Light will turn to Comverge's full portfolio of energy management solutions, such as its IntelliSOURCE software.

"Over the long term, these types of initiatives could help keep electricity rates down," David DeFide, manager of energy efficiency at Duquesne Light, said in a statement. "Similar programs are being launched across Pennsylvania, and we are asking our customers to do their part. We selected Comverge as it is the leading supplier of intelligent energy management systems in the residential and commercial energy management markets."

Duquesne Light, which serves more than 500,000 customers, is working to meet Pennsylvania's new energy and peak demand reduction requirements, which were spelled out in Act 129.

According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), Act 129 brought many new sections and revisions to the state's Public Utility Code when it was signed into law on October 15, 2008.

The act was implemented in phases, the first being an obligation by the Commission to adopt an energy efficiency and conservation program by January 15, 2009. After the initial phase, service provider responsibilities were addressed regarding conservation, smart meter technology, real-time pricing plans, time-of-use rates, cost recovery and alternative energy sources.

The overall goal of the act is to allow the default service provider, other electric distribution companies licensed in the state and customers to come together to reduce energy consumption and demand, states the PUC.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program, part of Act 129, directs all electric distribution companies with over 100,000 customers to develop a plan to achieve conservation and energy efficiency. These plans had to be filed by July 1, 2009 and were submitted by Allegheny Power, Duquesne Light, Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric Company, Pennsylvania Power Company, PECO Energy and PPL Electric Utilities. After the plans were submitted, work was soon underway to implement these proposed programs.