Time-Of-Use Rates Begin May 2

Shifting high energy usage activities to off-peak times (before 3 and after 7 p.m. weekdays) can help create significant savings when Time-Of-Use rates are in effect. It may take a little practice to get accustomed to doing so, but it could be worth your while in savings.

Plan to do your household chores like laundry, cooking, washing dishes, and vacuuming during the 20 off-peak hours per day, or on weekends. In addition to utilizing a lower rate for the appliances themselves like washing machines, clothes dryers, and dishwashers, you will also be saving on the cost of operating your water heater by operating it at the off-peak rate. It's your choice. The difference between Off-Peak and Peak pricing is a relatively small amount, but you will save $0.0753 on each kWh used by opting to conduct these activities during Off-Peak hours.

A Major Concern in Our Region is Air Conditioning

Cool your home as much as possible during off-peak hours, and then raise the temperature during the peak. You can use fans during this time to circulate the air and make it feel cooler. Remember, your ceiling fans should be set to spin counterclockwise in the summer. Both ceiling and floor fans are economical to operate if they are turned off when people are not in the room.

How to Super Cool

Energy efficiency expert and radio personality Rosie Romero, of Rosie on the House, Arizona's number 1 home improvement show, proposes pre-chilling your home to coast through peak rate periods. He says by chilling things long enough and cold enough, and at the right time of day, you can save money on air conditioning bills. Romero advises setting your thermostat to 68-74 degrees throughout off-peak times. If you feel too cool, put on a sweater. Then when the time comes for the peak rate to kick in, move the thermostat up to the warmest temperature that you usually live at in the summer. For most, that will be 78-80 degrees. For some time, the chill in your walls, furniture, flooring, etc. will help keep the house cool. The extent to which this plan works depends in large part on how much insulation your home has, how often doors are opened, whether you have closed thermal draperies, etc. Romero claims to have had homeowners who've purchased 90% and more of their total power off-peak. While Rio Grande Electric Cooperative (RGEC) makes no first-hand claims as to the success of this, we did hear from a member at an annual meeting who reported good results by "cool coasting" the 4-hour peak.

Speaking of air conditioning, regardless of which type of system you have, it's very ing high energy important from an energy-efficiency use activities standpoint to keep the filters clean. The outside unit should be kept free of debris that can block the airflow. Shading the unit will also help it operate more efficiently.

SmartHub App

The SmartHub app is a valuable energy-saving tool. You can track your energy usage and even set alerts for high usage, using whatever parameters you select. To get Smart Hub, go to our website and click "Register for Online Access" from the Login & Pay Your Bill graphic on the homepage.

Parting Thoughts

Practice Common sense conservation.

  • Turn off unused appliances, electronics, and lights, when not in use, regardless of what rates are in effect. That's just being a conscientious consumer.
  • Remember that items with a transformer plug at the end of the cord draw power - even when not in use. So if not in use, unplug these altogether.
  • Consider adjusting the temperature of your water heater. You may find that you prefer cooler water during the summer. The factory setting is usually 120 degrees, which is not necessary in most households and can potentially burn someone.