Time of use matters
Did you know that when you use electricity often matters as much as how much electricity you consume?
It’s no surprise that electricity use fluctuates throughout the day based on consumer demand, and electric co-ops must be able to provide enough electricity to meet the energy demands of their members during times of highest energy use, also known as “on-peak hours.” In the early morning when people often start their day and during the evening when folks return to their homes after work are common times for on-peak hours. To reduce peak energy demand and save money, many electric co-ops have created a time-of-use rate program to encourage electricity use during off-peak hours — when energy is less expensive to provide. Similar to saving money by attending a matinee, you can keep more money in your wallet simply by using electricity during an off-peak time period.
Using less on-peak power means lower costs for the co-op — and, ultimately, lower rates for members.
Electric rates based on time of use offer consumers the ability to lower their electricity costs without reducing the amount of electricity used. By performing some of your daily chores like running the dishwasher or doing laundry during off-peak hours, you can save on your utility bill. In a similar vein, plug electronic equipment such as computers, printers, TVs and power tools into power strips, then turn the strips off during peak hours.
You can also put technology to work for you. If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the settings so your heating-and-cooling system syncs with the off-peak rate periods. Use automatic timers to run hot tubs, pool pumps, water heaters and other appliances in the same way.
Saving energy can be simple. Remember: By shifting your energy use to off-peak times, you have the power to save on your monthly energy bill. To learn more about why time of use matters, watch a short video at tinyurl.com/TOUmatters.
Anne Prince writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric co-ops.