Every little bit counts

Our Time-of-Use Program rewards you for simple adjustments you make to your weekly routine

June 30, 2017

Families typically use the most electricity during the “On-Peak” hours of 5–10 p.m., daily

Let’s face it — we’re all busy. There’s barely enough time in the day to get our work done, take care of the kids, and do whatever errands we have on our lists. Not to mention any chores we have waiting for us at home.

There’s laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, floors to be vacuumed, and vegetation to be trimmed in the yard. For an average family of four living in a modest home, those four chores alone can add up over the course of a week:

· 6–8 loads of laundry

· 2–3 dishwasher loads

· 1 all-house vacuuming

· 1 all-yard trimming

Washing and drying clothes, running the dishwasher, vacuuming the house, and taking care of the yard all takes electricity. Of course, gas-powered lawnmowers don’t need to be plugged in but most tree and shrub-trimming tools do.

With our schedules being so tight, we may be spending more, per week, for the convenience of getting our chores done as soon as the opportunity arises.

Say a family of four gets home around 7 p.m. every weeknight, as soon as the kids are picked up from afterschool sports and activities. They have dinner, then run the dishwasher and have everyone take a shower before it’s time for bed. In the evening, the parents may have a little downtime before they need to get some sleep as well. So they’ll naturally want to get any chores done earlier in the night.

Because many customers are following the same pattern and using a lot more electricity during this time, the collective demand for power is highest during the “peak” hours of 5–10 p.m. Think of all the families doing laundry, running the dishwasher, and even doing some vacuuming in the early to mid-evenings — when solar isn’t available to power their appliances or their water heater.

The peak or “On-Peak” hours, defined as between 5–10 p.m., are the same seven days a week. Most customers simply use more electricity during this time period every day, when everyone in the family is likely to be home.

Now, we’re not suggesting that customers do all of their chores late at night or early in the morning — this simply isn’t feasible for most people. No one is going to trim their hedges at midnight.

But say the family of four makes little adjustments to their routine: running the dishwasher after 10 p.m, before they go to bed. Doing most — not necessarily all — of their laundry during the midday on the weekends, between 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. Trimming vegetation and vacuuming their homes during the midday as well.

Under our Time-of-Use Program, little adjustments like these can help them save money: electricity rates are actually lower during the Off-Peak (10 p.m. — 9 a.m.) and Mid-Day (9 a.m. — 5 p.m.) hours, and higher during the On-Peak period (5 — 10 p.m.).

Time-of-Use rates enable customers to save money if they shift their energy use away from the high-demand, On-Peak hours, which have a higher kilowatt-per-hour rate. The more electricity use is shifted away from On-Peak, the more money is saved.

For many families, every little bit counts. A program like Time-of-Use may help them ease their finances, if they make simple adjustments to their schedules.