Guest authored by Andrew Lyle
Note: The City of Fort Collins is converting all of its residential customers to a Time of Use electric rate this fall, and other Colorado utilities may follow suit. This post is part 1 of a 3 part series on how to intelligently analyze energy management, solar PV, and battery storage under Time of Use circumstances. This post digs into energy management.
Here’s the scenario. It’s a Tuesday evening in March. The kids need clean clothes for school tomorrow and dinner needs to be made. The clothes will be in the electric dryer for an hour and we’re making a roasted chicken, which takes 1 hour 15 minutes at 400ºF, then we have to clean the dishes after of course, and that takes an hour.
If it is between 5pm and 9pm it will cost $0.98 to cook the chicken, $0.77 to dry the clothes and $0.35 to wash the dishes for a total of $2.10 for the evenings major energy consuming activities.
Saving energy costs is an exercise in stacking pennies, and if these activities can be intelligently modified throughout the course of a year you will see significant savings for (free) behavior changes. This may be an unusual day and the new TOD structure for Fort Collins only applies to weekdays but if this happens half of the time during the week, this would be $273 of costs solely associated with this chain of activities.
Now let’s look at a second scenario that isn’t obtrusive into your life. Maybe you use the electric savings to justify buying a new grill to avoid using the oven but more than likely you will not wait until the late evening to eat to save money on your bill. But what you will do is utilize the delayed start feature on your dishwasher and you will try to do laundry later in the evening or on the weekends. So by time-shifting two activities our costs now are $0.98 to cook the chicken, $0.22 to dry the clothes and $0.10 to wash the dishes for a total of $1.30. Now yearly savings will be $104 for making simple, unobtrusive choices about when to use energy. Let’s put that in bold.
Yearly savings for time-shifting just two activities
Time of use rates are coming nationwide, if they haven’t been implemented by your utility yet. The implementation of these rates are far from a nefarious profit gathering ploy. Many customers don’t see a rate increase vs time neutral traditional rates. Further, for those who choose to change their consumption habits to “game the system”, easy to reach savings can be had. When energy is consumed is now just as critical to how much energy is consumed.
Every home is different and how you use your home is unique to you and there are energy monitoring equipment out there for around $500 that can give you real-time insight into how you use energy. Some things are harder to detect to the naked eye than others but a simple inventory of what major devices you have on and when will be a good start to thinking about how you may simply change your consumption in a way that doesn’t totally impact your quality of life while saving money. Many local utilities even have an inexpensive energy assessment program that for a very nominal fee will point out what areas of improvement may exist.
- Non Electric Heat Rate Schedule
- Non Summer Rate Schedule
- On-Peak Pricing $0.2345 / kWh
- Off-Peak Pricing $0.663 / kWh
- Oven Usage – 2,400 Watts
- Dryer Usage – 3,300 Watts
- Dishwasher Usage – 1,500 Watts