As mentioned in the previous post, “Reduce Electricity First”, we are talking about our current electrical usage. We want to learn how we can reduce the electricity usage to help us save money. We want to reduce the impact of our usage on the environment. Additionally reduce the need or load on any alternate energy systems that we might be able to use in the future. There are a couple of charts that will help to illustrate how the impact of rates, time of day and the day of the week can affect your total electrical usage and more importantly the final bill.
Monitoring Daily Electrical Usage
We thought it would be helpful to illustrate the hourly usage from, Monday , June 27th, 2011. This should help understand the impact of various systems and devices that consume electricity in the home. The colors indicate off peak (green – 7pm to 7am and weekends), mid peak (yellow – 7am to 11am, 5pm to 7pm) and Peak usage (red – 11pm to 5pm). This comes from a web site that is provided by our electricity provider.
The cost for each hour is also illustrated for reference to show how much power was consumed for each hour. Over night from 12 am to 6 am, all that is running are security lights, the fridge and various devices that are turned off , but plugged in.
At 6 am, the pool pump is turned on, the coffee is being made and the TV is on. There is a corresponding jump in electrical usage. Around 10:15, the pool pump is turned off and again the only thing running is the odd light and the TV as well as devices plugged in but not turned on. At 6:30, the evening meal is being cooked, the pool pump is on and some lights are being turned on. After 10:30, everything is turned off except for the security lights and devices that are plugged in but not turned on. This really shows the dramatic impact that managing your electrical usage can have on usage and the associated costs.
Using Smart Meters
Although some people are very upset about being forced to use smart meters they really do provide a lot more information. You can learn about how you are using electrical power and when you use this power. With the exception of reducing the time that the pool pump is running we are not really limiting ourselves in any way. Instead we are just managing when we use power to take advantage of the lower rates. For example peak rates are 18.7 cents per KW, while off peak rates are only 8.9 per KW. This is a significant difference when you add it up for every hour of the day, the week and the year. These rates were updated for Nov 2016.
If you are not on a smart meter system, you really only need to be concerned about how much power you use and how you can reduce it. With a smart meter system that measures electrical usage on an hourly basis, you now have a tool that you can use to take advantage of lower rates in the evening and reduce your power consumption even more.
Some consumers have also adopted the smart thermostat. This allows the power company to turn your thermostat up to reduce the cost of air conditioning during peak times. This has the dual impact of reducing your power consumption and lowering your bill. While at the same reducing the load on the system which will avoid what is called a brown out or failure of the electrical system.
While you are doing this you are not only saving money, you are also transferring usage from peak times to low peak times, which means that the utilities can delay construction of additional capacity. Obviously if only one person does this, there will be little overall impact. On the other hand if millions of consumers follow this approach we can have a serious impact on the construction plans that the utilities must pursue.