Location: South Pittsburg, TN
Program: TVA-Enel X Demand Response
DR Earnings: $130,000+ Annually
Lodge Cast Iron produces the most extensive selection of quality cast iron products on the market—including cast iron skillets, deep fryers, and other cookware. Founded in 1896, Lodge Cast Iron has grown to become a powerhouse brand with a devoted customer base around the world. Although the company has grown and evolved, Lodge Cast Iron remains a family-owned business—one that’s deeply connected to the people and businesses in the Appalachian Mountains region.
Though it’s a traditional business, Lodge is committed to integrating advanced technology in all areas of its operations. The company has been enrolled in the TVA-Enel X Demand Response program since 2009, attracted by the significant payments for participation, as well as by the opportunity to support and protect its community.
When a demand response dispatch occurs, Lodge shuts down nearly 8 MW of its manufacturing operation temporarily, earning annual payments of more than $130,000 from Enel X. These shutdowns do not affect the company’s overall ability to serve its customers, while protecting the community from blackouts and other power grid issues.
A Traditional Company that Embraces Innovation
As one of the major brands of cast iron cookware in the U.S., Lodge Cast Iron builds on a strong heritage. It’s one of the oldest cookware companies in continuous operation. And it still makes the iconic cast iron skillet that first popularized the company’s products more than a century ago. However, Lodge diversifies its product line to include new innovations in high-quality cookware and continues to change and modernize its business to stay competitive and profitable.
Lowering energy costs is a business priority for the company and ensures its ongoing success. Its operation includes two melting furnaces that consume more than 8,000 kilowatts (kW) each, as well as holding furnaces, molding machines, cleaning systems, and conveyors.
A substantial amount of savings have come from Lodge Cast Iron’s participation in the TVA Enel X Demand Response program, which it joined in 2009 with support from its local power distributor, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative.
Our Business, Our Community, and The Environment
In addition to the payments, Lodge Cast Iron values the sustainability benefits of participating in demand response. “We could just keep cranking away without changing anything, but that’s not the right thing to do,” he says. “We’re exploring green energy, reducing our carbon emissions, and doing what we can to help our business, our community, and the environment. The TVA-Enel X Demand Response program is a central part of these efforts.”
A Participation Plan that Minimizes Impact
Enel X worked closely with Lodge Cast Iron to develop an energy reduction plan that enables quick, simple participation. When a demand response dispatch occurs, Nunley and other key supervisors receive advance notice from Enel X via phone and email. “Once we get the word from Enel X, we initiate shutdown, which takes about fifteen to twenty minutes,” says Nunley. “We know how to get our equipment down without affecting it, or our products that are in process.”
Inherent flexibility in the production schedule and a very efficient operation allow the company to shutdown briefly without impact—with payments from Enel X providing a bottom-line incentive. The company takes advantage of its existing stock of completed goods to meet the needs of its customers, which include Walmart and other major retailers.
Expert Customer Service
“The customer service we received from Enel X was absolutely phenomenal,” says Nunley. “They’ve been really helpful, and helped us through the whole process.” Ultimately, this high level of communication and collaboration streamlined the process of making demand response part of the manufacturing operations at Lodge Cast Iron.