It’s Cooling Season
In the Summer, California’s electric rates are higher in the afternoon when air conditioning loads push demand higher. So here is an easy way to lower your costs by up to One Dollar or more per day and stay comfortable on those Hot Summer Afternoons;
- Know when your peak hours are on your chosen time of use electric rate.
- Know your comfortable temperature setting, i.e. 68 degrees, 72 degrees, or whatever feels comfortable.
- One hour before the start of your peak time period adjust the temperature setting one or two degrees cooler to pre-cool your home. In California, there is now so much solar, this is often a time when the energy supply is very clean.
- If you have a multi-story home, turn off the downstairs air conditioning unit during the peak period. You might leave the fan on to circulate cool air descending from the upper story.
- Around 7 or 8 pm, turn the temperature setting on the air conditioning higher by 2-3 degrees, but leave the fan on. If you time it right, you can avoid that last kWh that needs to turn on each day around 9pm to meet systemwide demand.
The reason we do this is to lower our energy costs, but also to decrease the amount electric power that needs to come from natural gas peaker plants each day. Natural gas peaker plants are the main way that California balances electric power supply with your energy demand. They are expensive, and create more pollution than typical natural-gas-combined-cycle plants that operate over the whole day.
Most modern connected thermostats like the Nest, Ecobee, or the Honeywell Lyric offer a high degree of control, but they often have no way of knowing your electric rate tariff. Utilities sometimes partner with thermostat companies to better manage energy use, but in the case of California, that’s often done by companies like Sabreez. Register and we’ll help lower your bill by up to 20%.
It’s Wind Power Season
California has so much solar now that the hours between 9am and 3pm are often the time of day when energy is cleanest. After the evening peak has passed, wind power is often cranking up to meet overnight power demand. California’s clean energy is abundant and being developed more and more each year, but it’s not always “on.” When it is “on,” electric costs drop, and if you’re not already saving money with a time of use electric rate, you will be in a year and a half when California switches to mandatory time of use electric rates.
Beyond the thermostat, there are a range of methods you can use to decrease the pollution during these hours of the day. Just remember, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to make the “switch” to cleaner energy.
California’s electric rates are rising, but you don’t have to pay more if you switch to times when energy is cleaner. Using this method and understanding the energy supply is great way to reduce your impact on the environment and save money using cleaner energy.