Progress Energy Carolinas filed two programs with the North Carolina Utilities Commission: one for residential load control and another to allow the electric distribution grid in the Carolinas to be used to reduce peak demand.

The programs are a key part of the company’s strategy to double its energy-efficiency portfolio to 2,000 megawatts and delay the need to build power plants. Progress Energy Carolinas expects to file for the same programs in South Carolina in the coming months, and the utility expects the regulatory commissions to act on the proposals later this year.

The new residential program, called EnergyWise, will enable Progress Energy Carolinas to remotely adjust the air conditioning units of voluntary customer participants during periods of peak electricity demand, particularly on the hottest summer afternoons, when demand is at its highest of the year.

Customers participating in EnergyWise will receive an annual $25 bill credit as an incentive. In the company’s western North Carolina region, Progress Energy Carolinas also will offer programs that adjust strip heating and electric water heaters. Use of these appliances is a significant contributor to peak demand in the mountainous region, where electricity demand is highest in winter.

The company’s goal for EnergyWise is to have the capability to reduce peak electricity demand by 200 MW by 2017, which will help delay the need to build additional power plants.

The second program includes an investment in the 60,000-mile distribution system that serves 1.4 million customers in the Carolinas. The distribution system demand-response program will provide additional capability for reducing and shifting peak electricity demand, which will defer or eliminate the need to purchase or build another power plant. The program also will reduce the level of natural electricity loss over long distribution feeder lines, eliminating the need for power generation to make up for the losses.

Customers also will benefit through better voltage quality to their homes and businesses and, in future phases beyond 2012, through enhanced automation capabilities that will reduce the number and duration of power outages.

The program represents an expected investment of about $260 million over five years. At completion of the initial phase in 2012, it is expected to deliver nearly 250 MW of dependable peak-demand savings.