Dispatch Criteria

Fundamentals of Electricity To meet the varying system load demanded by customers, "dispatchers" decide which generators to run, and at what power level. This decision is made at the system control center, a central point where all the utility's power supply operations are coordinated at all times by the dispatchers.

Throughout the day, the dispatcher "stacks" generators into a predicted and actual load curve. Factors that the dispatcher weighs in deciding which generator to increase or decrease include each generator's:

  • cost of operation or "production costs,"
  • maximum capacity,
  • maintenance schedule,
  • environmental emissions,
  • and the required reserve needed on the system for reliability.