Value

‘I had my lowest bill ever’ on Time-of-Use Rate option

PEC employee test-drives rate for big savings

As PEC’s membership approaches 300,000, we’re more aware than ever that everyone’s lifestyles and energy needs are unique — that the billing method which works for one person may not work for their neighbor down the street or on the other side of our service territory.

As PEC’s membership approaches 300,000, we’re more aware than ever that everyone’s lifestyles and energy needs are unique — that the billing method which works for one person may not work for their neighbor down the street or on the other side of our service territory.

PEC members have traditionally paid a flat rate for electric use, meaning that if you switch on a lamp at three in the morning, it costs the same as switching on that lamp at three in the afternoon, but this spring, we rolled out a new rate option for our members: time-of-use.

A woman and a washing machine.
By shifting when she uses energy, PEC Budget & Financial Analysis Manager Beverly Wood saves big.

The new Time-of-Use Rate option divides the hours of the day (and the seasons of the year) into price brackets ranging from “Super Economy” (typically between 3-5 a.m., when energy is cheapest) to “Super Peak” (between 2-6 p.m., when energy is the most expensive).

Members on this rate who are smart about when they use energy, not just how much energy they use, can see considerable savings.

PEC Budget & Financial Analysis Manager Beverly Wood was intrigued by the new rate and decided to put it to the test. When we launched a limited pilot this spring, Wood was one of the first of PEC’s members and employees to sign up.

“My son is at an age where he’s rarely home, and I’m working, so neither one of us are [in the house at the peak times of day],” Wood explained. “We’re mostly in the house at night, for showers, bed, dinner and breakfast, and that’s when the best time-of-use rates are.”

As the manager of the budget team in PEC’s finance department, Wood is no stranger to crunching numbers. After she enrolled in the new rate, she found herself consciously shifting her high-energy tasks — like running the dishwasher, washing machine and air conditioning — away from peak hours.

“I used to turn the dishwasher on right after we finished dinner,” Wood said. “But now I use the overnight setting and let it run at night.” She does the same with her washing machine and also sets her programmable thermostat to turn off during the day while she and her son are out of the house.

“I actually had my lowest PEC bill ever this last March, not counting the bills where I received capital credit refunds,” Wood said. “It was $11 cheaper than March the previous year.”

Finger pressing the delay button on a dishwasher.
Wood sets her dishwasher to run overnight to take advantage of economy power rates.

Wood credits some of her savings to the fact that she’s shifted her energy use to cheaper times of day. But a coworker ran Wood’s numbers and told her she’d save $24 a year without making any changes at all. Math-maven Wood was sold.

“I think the Time-of-Use Rate option is great for any families who are out of the house a lot of the day, dropping the kids at daycare or school. Sure, you’ll be home Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but that’s just two out of seven days of the week,” Wood said.

For now, Wood’s excited about the sunny days ahead: “I’m looking forward to the summer’s bills to see how the change is going to affect me,” she said.

Learn more about our Time-of-Use Rate option and see if the switch is right for you.