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# Time of use electric meter can help save money

#1
05-01-09, 07:00 AM
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Time of use electric meter can help save money

For certain people whose lifestyle permits them to use a lot less energy when electricity is on peak demand, usually from hours of about 7 am to 7 pm. If you and other family members (if any) are gone during those hours, you potentially qualify to save big money a month on your electric rate if your utility has that plan like mine does.

Our standard rates right now are about 9 1/2¢ per KWh. And off peak rates are about 5¢ while on peak is about 18¢. Weekends are also off-peak, so keep that in mind!! You may have to get out the calculator and do some figuring. The power company has it rigged in their favor that if you do not do a certain amount of off-peak useage, that you will actually lose, since 1/2 of 5 + 18 = 23/2 = 11.5 = you would lose 2 ¢ a KWh.

Since I am gone all day, pretty much, and come home to my natural gas heat, and then leave it down to below 60, until I go to bed, and then use an electric space heater in the evening, where I sit in the living room -and then turn on the water heater only during off peak for say 1/2 hour, and turn on lights and tv, and cook then, and wash/dry clothes then -and the fact the house is about 55 all day when I'm gone so the fridge stays cooler and does not run -and I have no tv going, no lights, etc. -I run about 8 or 9:1 off-peak, compared to on-peak! A huge savings. I saved about 30-37% each winter month on overall energy (natural gas and elec. combined) and saved about \$60 every month.

My overall electric bill was barely higher on a couple months(due to the electric space heater use). But my gas bill chart comparing last year to this year -that even though for every month, this year's months had way colder average temps, my useage graph was way lower than last year (I bet the gas company was scratching their head how that could be. Probably thought meter was being misread or I got a wood burner) And I never even changed my lifestyle.

Basically, this is almost like a gift few people know of! While other people hear of all these energy saving plans that might save you a measely \$5 a month, where instead, you can do as I do, if, as said, it works out according to your lifestyle.

And if you have only electric heat? You could save a fortune!

#2
05-07-09, 03:04 PM
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IF you can adjust your lifestyle to it and IF your utility offers it you can save a bundle by using the majority of your electricity during the off peak hours.

Unfortunately, my utility doesn't offer off-peak rates to residential users. Also, since my electricity bill averages less than \$30 a month I don't think I would gain a whole lot.

#3
05-07-09, 04:52 PM
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Ya, that time-of-use metering is about to start here.

Im sure w/o major changes in lifestyle, most ppl will be paying quite a bit more. Its already 13.5c/kwh (although they say its ~6c.. but then add all the other fees and charges). Typical monthly bill here is a bit over \$200 (oil heat, electric dhwr, water pump, no a/c)

#4
05-07-09, 05:02 PM
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Wow Dave...no A/C (not sure what a dhwr is) so just pump and furnace blower,lights, PC tv, etc...and its that high? What about range/oven, clothes dryer? I don't go that high in the summer in 105 degree heat...

Thought you guys had cheap hydro electric up there. Hmm is that \$CA? Still pretty close to my highest bill last year.

#5
05-09-09, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by furd
IF you can adjust your lifestyle to it and IF your utility offers it you can save a bundle by using the majority of your electricity during the off peak hours.

Unfortunately, my utility doesn't offer off-peak rates to residential users. Also, since my electricity bill averages less than \$30 a month I don't think I would gain a whole lot.
The gain comes for people with furnaces, so that you use a space heater where you are, or in your bedfroom, and leave the heat turned way down, and you save on the furnace fuel bill. That is where the saving comes from.

By having the furnace run less, you also save that 1 1/2 minutes everytime the furnace starts up where it sends heat up the chimney start of each cycle before any heat blows out the register.

In your case, even if your bill still cost \$30, and you ran like I did at 8 or 9 to 1 off-peak....that would mean that if you still got a \$30 electric bill, that you recieved a lot more kw's basically as a gift, from being off peak. And by running the space heater off peak, you'd basically be applying the btu's to heat for free, as far as your current electric bill goes!

This morning, I decided to just stay in my bedroom while I listened to "Sam's Garage" radio show. And I had the furnace off all night, with it 45 degrees out..... when I got up! -and after running the space heater from 2 am last night to 8 am this morning on low heat (usually that setting is 750 watts, as opposed to 1500 on high) - I woke up to 76 in my bedroom!

At 5¢ kwh, that means each hour to heat me comfortably through the night only cost me only 3 3/4¢ per hour! So yesterday, I never ran the furance at all so for the 8 hours I ran any heat source(includes overnight + Sam's Garage 2 hour show) only cost me about 30¢! (prorates less than \$10 a month, at using heat source just at night, when sun goes down and it dips to 45 degrees out!)

#6
05-09-09, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveC72
Ya, that time-of-use metering is about to start here.

Im sure w/o major changes in lifestyle, most ppl will be paying quite a bit more. Its already 13.5c/kwh (although they say its ~6c.. but then add all the other fees and charges). Typical monthly bill here is a bit over \$200 (oil heat, electric dhwr, water pump, no a/c)
It would cost a person here, on Xcel Energy electric, 2¢ additionally if they split offpeak and onpeak. So you choose the plan if you can make it work for you. It will definitely work if you are gone during the day. All major electric use would be done in the evening and on weekends. 9:1 offpeak to onpeak I was running in the cold of the winter! (Now I've come down to 5 or 6:1, but that is still huge.

#7
05-09-09, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveC72
Ya, that time-of-use metering is about to start here.

Im sure w/o major changes in lifestyle, most ppl will be paying quite a bit more. Its already 13.5c/kwh (although they say its ~6c.. but then add all the other fees and charges).
But you really want to go by what the actual usage charge is, since your extra monthly charges stay the same. For example, if you used only \$8 in kw, but had \$10 in add-on charges, you really notice the savings the more kw you use, actually. If you used say \$30-70 on electric each month, that \$10 additional charge still stays at that amount. What you had figured as 13.5¢ would come down more and more, clsoer to the 6¢, the more electric you used.

#8
05-09-09, 01:05 PM
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Ok Ecman..since no one else wants too, I will. You were running an electric space heater in your bedroom while you were sleeping???!!

Tsk, tsk...I expected better of you.....

#9
05-09-09, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45
Ok Ecman..since no one else wants too, I will. You were running an electric space heater in your bedroom while you were sleeping???!!

Tsk, tsk...I expected better of you.....
I know. I had to see how it would do. I log data from all my experiments. I wanted to see how it would raise the temperature in that room. I had it on low so the cord would not get hot, and out in the room away from combustibles. I'm not going to make a habit of this.

It's not a good idea to leave the house with the dryer or oven going either.

#10
05-10-09, 01:47 PM
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Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
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My utility now offers a gadget that they will hook up to my central air conditioner. Then when they hit demand peaks, they can send out a radio signal which shuts off my compressor for a short (maybe) time. The circulating fan stills runs but the house begins to warm up. They claim that they will do this on a rolling basis so no one is down too long.
As a "carrot" they offer a one time \$25 credit and imply future credits based on down time but don't make that very clear.

I'll just continue to pay my bills and keep one more big brother out of my life.

#11
05-20-09, 11:32 AM
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Those A/C peak demand cut-outs are a mixed bag. If your utility offers a significant discount, they are worth considering. The municipal utility in my small town asks residents to have them installed, but offers NO discounts, so I can't see any point of doing it in my case. They're only likely to be used during the hottest times of the day, when electrical useage is at its peak. During that time, most A/C units are running non-stop, so any interruption of the cooling cycle will allow the house to warm up and require even longer run times. I'm also of the belief that instituting additional starts and stops to a central A/C compressor is hard on it, especially during the hottest parts of the day. I agree, its just another thing I don't want "big brother" controlling in my life.

Beer 4U2

#12
05-27-09, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51`
And if you have only electric heat? You could save a fortune!
We had this when I was growing up, although as a kid I never saw the actual bill...

We had electric radiators that were basically an insulated box of bricks about the size of a typical steam radiator. They were heated up during off hours and held the heat all day: the thermostat merely controlled how much air was blown through to pick up more heat. I know that made a humungous difference in the bills, especially since the electric company paid a significant portion of the radiators.

We also had the water heater on a timer, so it would only heat up during off hours. Since most of us took showers before 7am, it worked well.

We also ran the dishwasher and clothes dryer during off-hours.

Realistically, this didn't cause much disruption in our lifestyles, especially relative tot eh size of the savings.

#13
06-06-09, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wgc
We had electric radiators that were basically an insulated box of bricks about the size of a typical steam radiator. They were heated up during off hours and held the heat all day: the thermostat merely controlled how much air was blown through to pick up more heat. I know that made a humungous difference in the bills, especially since the electric company paid a significant portion of the radiators.
Very interesting. Never heard of it. Sounds like the electric version of solar heat gain on rocks in a house, or something. I wonder how large these radiators were, to be able to give off enough heat later, to be of realistic value.

#14
06-06-09, 07:27 PM
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Location: New England
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Originally Posted by ecman51`
Very interesting. Never heard of it. Sounds like the electric version of solar heat gain on rocks in a house, or something. I wonder how large these radiators were, to be able to give off enough heat later, to be of realistic value.
Not all that large: they were similar in size to traditional hot water radiators. Just like those radiators, thee were 1-2 per room. They worked pretty well, although it probably helped that the house was new at the time (30 yrs ago) and pretty well insulated.

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