Peak Corps

Please note:  We aren't installing new cycling devices at this time. 

Peak Corps is a voluntary program that helps us maintain a reliable electric system for our community during emergency situations. Peak Corps members have a “cycling” device on their home’s central air conditioner. The device turns off (cycles) the unit when we need to reduce the overall amount of electricity being used during an emergency. 

If Peak Corps is activated, participating members’ air conditioners may be cycled off 30 to 60 minutes an hour for as long as necessary (most likely less than 2 hours) to help stabilize the electric system. The fan will continue to run and no other appliances are affected. Although it’s difficult to predict when an emergency may occur, it’s most likely to happen during summer, when electricity use is highest.

Peak Corps is rarely activated—typically, events are more than several years apart. And while we don't anticipate any emergencies, it's important to be prepared.

As our way of saying thank you, Peak Corps members receive a bill credit of $5 if we need to cycle their air conditioner. 

How did I become a part of this program since I didn’t sign up for it?
The device may have been installed by a previous homeowner or developer, in which case you would have been automatically enrolled when you moved in.


How often is this program used?
Peak Corps events happen very rarely-- typically more than several years apart-- and briefly. Most events last less than 2 hours.


How do I know if I have a cycling device?
The cycling device will be attached to your air conditioner and will have a SMUD label. If the air conditioner is located on your roof or is not easily accessible, SMUD does not recommend you attempt to verify if a cycling device is present.


Will I be compensated in any way?
Yes, you will receive a $5 credit on your bill for each day that Peak Corps is used.


Can I unenroll from Peak Corps?
Yes, this is a voluntary program. If you don't want to participate and want to unenroll from Peak Corps, please call 1-888-742-7683 or email

Is there periodic testing for Peak Corps?

Yes. Every few years we may run a short test to make sure the system is working. During the test, we’ll cycle off your air conditioner for no more than 5 minutes. You shouldn't notice a significant impact on your comfort or the temperature in your home.


Why are you cycling my air conditioner today?

If your air conditioner is being cycled today, that means we are experiencing an emergency with the electric system. During critical times when there is extreme demand on the electric supply grid, we have to implement Peak Corps to prevent power outages. Your air conditioner might cycle off, but the rest of your electricity is unaffected. 


What is considered an emergency?

When our grid is overloaded and the potential for rolling blackouts/brownouts is high, we consider it an emergency. If Peak Corps is used, it’s likely the last resort to prevent rolling blackout/brownouts.


Can I opt out once an event has started?

You cannot be taken out of an event once it has started.  In most cases, when you unenroll from the program, your device will be deactivated the next business day.

When will you cycle my air conditioner off?

Air conditioners will only be turned off, or cycled, during an emergency situation. They may be cycled off until SMUD’s electric system is stabilized.


I have solar (PV). Will my air conditioner still be turned off?

Yes, your air conditioner can still be turned off during an emergency event to prevent power interruptions and you will still receive a $5 bill credit for participating. Your solar (PV) system will not be affected since it’s completely separate from the Peak Corps program and will continue to run normally.


How long will my air conditioner be off?

Air conditioners can be turned off, or cycled, anywhere from 30-60 minutes per hour, which would most likely be less than 2 hours during an emergency event.


Are there any steps that I need to take when my air conditioner goes off?

No additional steps are necessary. If your fan is still running, you can turn it off using your thermostat. If you’re looking for more ways to help reduce strain on the grid, you can save additional energy by not using electric appliances until the emergency has passed.


Will this device affect the functionality of my air conditioner?

No. The Peak Corps cycling device does not affect the functionality of your air conditioner in any way. The only time it would activate is during an emergency situation to prevent power interruptions.


What do I do if my air conditioner does not come back on?

The first step in trouble-shooting is to flip the sub-breaker for the air conditioner off, then back to the “on” position. Also, if you have a separate sub-breaker for your furnace, you will need to flip that breaker off and back on, too.