What is "Time of Use" (TOU)? The idea is to get people to shift or reduce electricity consumption at peak demand times. The peak times are generally weekday afternoons between 2 pm and 6 pm. Less demand at peak times has an immediate benefit to utilities by reducing how much generating capacity they need to meet consumer demand. For being a TOU customer, the utilities are willing to reward you for helping to "shave the peak" by offering reduced rates at times when energy is more readily available.
Is this program for everybody? No. However, ask yourself this one question: Who"s using your appliances and lights when nobody"s home during the peak electrical-use daytime hours? If the answer is "nobody," you are a prime candidate for TOU rates and could save cash in the process.
By switching to TOU rates, you may be able to dramatically slash your electric bill. Here"s how. A TOU customer agrees to pay a higher electrical rate during weekday peak-use hours when nobody is home. In return, the customer will be charged a much lower rate at night, in the morning, and on weekends. So, if you keep your home daytime electrical appetite low, you can deposit the savings.
Arizona utilities have been offering this program for more than a decade to residential customers. It works great if used appropriately. That essentially boils down to using major appliances during off-peak hours and weekends.
Is this a hassle? No way. You might call it "Intelligent Load Management," because you are being smart about when you use energy. Contact your local utility and inquire about their "Time of Use" rates and hours.
9 No-Cost Energy-Saving Tips
1. Switch off dishwasher dry cycle.
2. Run dishwashers just before bedtime and unload the next day to help shave peak demand.
3. Do laundry later in the evening to help shave peak demand.
4. Use cold-water cycle for more clothes.Clean air filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation or line-dry clothes in place of clothes.
5. Lower hot water temperature if you never experience hot water shortages.
6. Unplug infrequently used televisions and VCRs.
7. Shorten pumping cycle on pool and shift to off-peak time.
8. Close drapes or blinds in unoccupied rooms, keeping the heat in during winter and the hot sun out in summer.
9. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer.