Putting Peak Times to Work

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It’s going to get harder saving on the electricity bill – unfortunately when they raise costs they tend to raise them on the supply charges too before we even start to use the stuff! For instance my latest electricity bill was $456.64. $110.00 of that was just to get the electricity to my door. I understand those costs but it makes it harder to get down my usage any further when I’m doing all I can now. You know the feeling?

The term peak prices refers to the periods during the day (and throughout the week) when electric companies charge more for every bit of electricity use. The companies justify this by saying these are hours where there are higher demands on the system, and they are simply incentivizing users to spread out their electricity demands. As you might imagine, it becomes important to know when the off-peak hours are if you want to save money.

This article is going to go through ways to put peak prices to work for you, so you can start saving the hundreds of dollars we all know we could use each year!

Find out what type of meter you have

It is important to understand whether you have an interval meter or a time of use plan. Most utility companies run off of them now, but you need to know you have these things to ensure you’re taking advantage of peak pricing properly.

If you’re wondering how you’ll ever figure that out, it’s as simple as a quick call to your electricity provider to ensure you have the correct type of meter.

Be aware of when peak hours are

For most electricity providers, peak hours are sometime between 2PM and 8PM, a time of day when many adults are home and using electricity simultaneously. This covers the dinner hour as well. I’m not suggesting you use no electricity during these hours, that would be impractical, merely that you use as little as possible – and save your higher demand times for off-peak hours.

Another thing to be aware of is that peak hours often change on the weekends, so call your provider to figure out when they are during that time of week so you don’t accidentally get hit by following weekday habits.

Be aware of when peak hours switch to shoulder hours

Shoulder hours are an in between time that covers the hours between peak and off-peak. During peak hours, electricity is at its most costly. Shoulder hours offer a 25% step down (on average) in cost, but still aren’t as cheap as off-peak hours, and off peak hours offer a 50%+ savings on your electricity usage.

This means that, as much as you can possibly control, you will want to be using the off-peak hours to keep your bills lower. Typically this means working to put most of your larger appliances running between 10PM – 7AM. This may sound like a lot of work through the middle of the night, but it doesn’t have to be.

Turning appliances on before bed, but prepping them after dinner

Consider loading the dishwasher as normal, but not turning it on. Then going and putting your laundry down by the machines, but not starting them yet. Wait until just before bed, and then go hit the on switch on everything. Or if you have appliances with timers set them for the off-peak hours. This will ensure the bulk of your usage falls in off-peak hours, even though you did things almost the same as you normally would have.

In fact, before bed or on weekends are often the best times to get all your larger appliances running. Try to time your laundry out so that it’s running in off-peak hours. Cool your house down during off-peak, and then turn off the air conditioner during peak hours. Use a fan if you have to to survive the day, and realize that for just the cost of a little convenience, you are likely saving 50%+ on your utility bill!

This goes for pool cleaners too. Run pool cleaning equipment on weekends or earlier evening in the off-peak hours. You’d be surprised how much those babies can suck up if you let them, and they do add to your costs!

Turn things off when they aren’t in use

The final tip I’ll leave you with is to hook up your electronic devices to a power bar, and turn it off when you aren’t using it. This ensures there’s no extra power drain during peak hours on appliances and items that don’t even need power at that moment!

The bottom line

Whatever measures you decide to take, being aware of peak hours, shoulder hours, and off-peak hours is the start to saving on a utility bill while living almost the exact same life you currently lead. What better way to save?



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