Monday, July 09, 2007

Paying less $ for electricity

In late spring, we signed up for real-time electricity pricing through our electrical utility, ComEd. This is a program where we pay an hourly electrical rate instead of a flat fee. The theory is, electricity prices are high in the middle of the day and low at night and in the evening. From the utility:

Electricity prices rise when demands on the electrical production and distribution system are high. By managing their energy use during peak hours, real-time electricity pricing participants not only save money, they also help relieve pressure on the system at times when demand is the greatest.
ComEd and Ameren customers can visit the Community Energy Collaborative to learn more and enroll.

So we signed up and changed our habits a little, like setting the dishwasher to run on a delay so it runs at 3 am. But for the most part our lives didn't change much since we naturally use more energy at night when we're at home. During this time, I kept an eye on prices thanks to thewattspot.com For ComEd, instead of the average $0.07/kwh flat fee, we pay $0.02/kwh at night and (depending on how hot it is) $0.08/kwh - $0.12/kwh during the day.

Well, we recently received our first bill under the new program for May 30 - June 26. Since about half of this time our air conditioner was running, I was expecting a fairly hefty bill. But it was about 15% less than what it would have been under the standard pricing program (ComEd provides a comparative analysis for you). Woo hoo!

Next month, we'll expect even more savings as we enrolled in "Nature First", which is ComEd's air conditioning cycling program that allows them to cycle our AC compressor on and off, so it uses less power safely on the hottest days of the summer. They say this will only happen during weekdays, and likely only a few times each summer. For this, we get a $10 monthly credit to our account.

It feels good to pay less and help the environment at the same time. Good things our cats like it warm during the day.