Irrigation load control program case study

Irrigation Load Control (ILC) is a peak energy reduction program offered by Pacific Power, in partnership with Connected Energy®, to help us meet our customers’ energy requirements. Irrigators who enroll in this program earn incentives to temporarily reduce electricity use by shutting off irrigation pumps during peak demand.

Read about John and Marlene Bles, who have saved thousands by participating in the program.


Fast Facts

  • Lone Farm Ranch
  • Klamath Falls, Oregon
  • 850 acres
  • 400 beef cattle
  • Irrigating 650 acres since 2007

After spending more than 50 years on a small ranch in northern California, John and Marlene Bles were ready to spread out to their neighboring state to the north. They found a larger ranch in 2007 and were eager to start their new chapter.

With 850 acres to raise grass hay for their 400 beef cattle, they were excited to see wheel lines and three pivots already in place to irrigate 650 acres. Then in 2016, they heard about the new Pacific Power Irrigation Load Control pilot program and registered four pumps into the program.

“We thought we’d try out the program and see how it went,” Marlene said. “We’ve been very happy with it – the $2,000 - $3,000 annual savings have really added up over seven years.”

The Bles family has a main well with a 100 HP pump and three booster pumps - one 60 HP and two 40 HP, totaling 240 HP. They recently added their second well to the system.

The irrigation load control program was modified throughout the years to add optional, shorter interruption notices with larger incentives. The Bles family advanced with the program, taking advantage of the new incentives and more significant savings.

In 2020, the hour ahead notification program was added, and the Bles’s moved all four pumps to the new program that paid an increased incentive of $30/kW. In 2022, another program was added - a 22.5-minute notice - and paid an even larger incentive of $45/kW. Again, they transferred all four of their pumps.

Now, with two more pumps at another location – a 150 HP well pump, and a 50 HP booster pump – they have a total of 440 HP of pumps enrolled in the programs - all in the 22.5-minute notice program. The new program along with the added pumps could increase their annual incentives from a previous average of $2,500 per year to between $4,500 and $5,000 this year.

“It’s a simple and well-run program,” Marlene said. “It’s almost a no-brainer. It’s easy to sign up, participate and be hands-off. And if we have an issue, they’re quick to send a technician.”

Marlene said they’ll continue looking at new reduced notification periods in exchange for an increased incentive when new programs become available.