New appliances use a fraction of the electricity that they did a decade ago. The combined electricity consumption of a refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer is less than 1,000 kWh/year now. Clothes Dryers still use the most energy of any household appliance, about 3-5 kWh per load. For most homes, that’s 1,000 to 2,000 kWh per year. In California, moderate-sized homes with an electric dryer will typically be paying Tier 3 and 4 electric rates, which are over 30 cents/kWh. That’s $300 to $700 a year just to dry your clothes!
It makes a great deal of sense to use natural gas appliances whenever possible. A gas dryer costs less than 1/4 of what an electric dryer costs to operate; if you’re paying California’s higher electric rates. Same goes for cooking appliances. There are better rates available, though.
California utilities offer time-of-use rates that provide electricity at a discount during the Winter and during off-peak times in the Summer. That’s a discount 84% of the year! Most new appliances have a delay button on them so that you can set them to run off-peak. Prices are higher between 10 am and 9 pm on Summer weekdays, and between 5 and 8 pm on Saturday. The rest of time, you’re saving 10% or more. In fact, utilities offer an added bonus to people that curb their usage on certain Summer days when there isn’t enough power generation to meet to demand, saving another 10% off your bill.
Whether you use gas appliances or electric appliances off-peak, avoiding peak energy usage is better for the environment. That’s because the last kWh, which is your energy usage, usually comes from an inefficient natural gas plant. It’s more efficient for you to burn the natural gas in the appliance. The energy mix is also cleaner at night thanks to wind power, which falls off during the day. This is exemplified by the Wind Number. The wind Number is the ratio of your power that comes from wind vs fossil fuels. Since power is cheaper at night, using cleaner energy saves money. You can expect that using less fossil fuels will save even more money in the future, as California’s natural gas plants run for less time each day thanks to an increasing investment in solar and wind.
Soon, Sabreez will be able to run your appliances with cleaner energy to save you money, but for now, knowledge is power. Using the delay button is a great way to save using more clean energy!