Utilities have made a huge investment in Smart Meters, but the dream of what that would mean for the consumer has yet to be realized. Smart Meters record your hourly energy usage so that you can see where your energy dollar is going. Got an Energy Hog in your home? Your Smart Meter can tell you. Just run your individual appliances for an hour and write down the time, then look at your hourly data. In California, you can get this information by logging into your Utility’s website. This information really helps in evaluating whether or not to buy new appliances or a new air conditioning system.
In California, most Smart Meters were installed prior to 2011, yet most people don’t look at the data. A lot of people view Smart Meters as an invasion of privacy. Others worry about the electromagnetic emissions. Worry Not! Your data is safe, and the emissions are equivalent to a cell phone (but much farther away from your head). Smart Meters were deployed to offer Consumers a way to save with Smart Grid. Conversely, if you don’t use your Smart Meter, you will pay more.
The way to save with your Smart Meter is to use a Time of Use Rate Tariff. Time of Use Rate Tariffs offer you different prices for electricity based on system-wide demand. When demand is high, so are rates; when demand is low, rates are low. Most of the hours in a year, rates are low. That’s because it costs a lot to turn on that last power plant to meet your energy needs. It’s much cheaper to pass along the savings to you, but if you don’t sign up with your Utility, you don’t get the savings.
When are rates high? Probably when you WANT to use electricity, right? That may be true, but today’s technology makes it easy to use electricity when rates are low. In the Summer, Rates are higher in the afternoon and evening. In the Winter, rates are higher for a few hours in the late afternoon, maybe in the morning depending on your utility. These high rates only apply to weekdays. Some Utilities charge more for a few hours on Saturday, but in general using power on weekends is cheaper than you currently pay. Same goes for Week Nights. It’s easy to save 10% on your bill, but nobody is going to force you to use a time of use rate tariff. You have to opt-in.
The idea of controlling when you use electricity is new to most people, even those that have been doing it for years. The delay button on your dishwasher isn’t there so you can watch TV without the background noise; it’s there so you can run it at 1:00 am when energy is cleaner. All your new appliances likely have the delay feature on them, and this feature allows you to save money. Got a pool pump? That’s a great way to save hundreds of dollars a year on a time of use rate tariff. The electric car is really the ultimate way to save on a time of use rate tariff. Solar also helps you save with a time of use rate tariff, because rates are highest when it’s hot and sunny, allowing you to export power at the high rate rather than drawing power from the grid. Using all these technologies together saves a bundle, and reduces your impact on the environment, but your Utility is not going to force to use a time of use rate tariff.
So now for the through-the-looking-glass-oh-my-god part of the story. If you don’t use a time of use rate tariff and use the technologies that save money, you are paying for the savings of others. Utilities are going to continue to make the same money that they do now, and that money has to come from somewhere, right? No wonder utilities aren’t advertising the Time of Use Rate Tariff. BUT, when you call, I think you’ll be surprised by the fact that they really do want to save you money.
Be sure to visit www.windnumber.com to get your wind number and explore the technologies that save you money by using cleaner energy!