If you struggle to pay your electric bill I feel your pain. I just did something I should have done about 7 years ago. I switched to my electric company’s Time of Use plan. With this plan electricity is different prices at different times of the day. From May to October electricity more expensive between 1:00 and 8:00 pm and cheaper the rest of the time. From November to April electricity is more expensive from 5:00 to 9:00 both am and pm, and then cheaper for the rest of the time. The weekends are lower priced all year-long.
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My electric company has a nice little graphic that shows you how much you would have spent on each plan. According to them we will save about $150 a year by being on the time of use plan. It works out to about $20 a month in the summer and $3 a month in the winter. Keep in mind I live in Phoenix. So we have big cooling costs but almost no heating costs. Summer is our expensive time, energy wise.
I took this graphic at its word and made the switch. However, they told me that they have to put a special meter on my house before they can do the time of use plan. Which means they don’t know when we are using our electricity with the meter we have. The graphic on their website must be based on averages than our actual usage. So what our real savings will be is still unknown.
What has stopped me from this in the past
The main thing that stopped me was that I’m also on the what they call the “budget billing” plan. On this plan they take your average usage for the whole year and divide it by 12. That way you pay the same electric bill every month. This makes budgeting so much easier! My highest electric bill last year was in August at a whopping $362. My lowest bill came in March at $101. But each month when I make my budget I don’t have to guess what the electric bill is going to be because it’s the same $235 every single month. When I learned that I could keep my “budget billing” and use the time of use plan I started looking into it a lot more.
Another thing was that I’m home all day with the kids. We have a TV, computer, and air conditioner running all day long. I didn’t think the time of use plan would make much difference. I thought it was for people who went to work all day. But now that I’m looking at it the cheap time is mostly during the day. So I’ve been missing out.
I also didn’t want to be bothered with trying to time my usage with certain parts of the day. I just want to do when I want to do it! But really, we do our big electric using at non-peak hours anyways. We run the dishwasher at night before bed. We do laundry on the weekends. I already don’t let my kids watch TV before school. So I think if we just keep doing our thing we should be ok.
Does your eclectic company offer special plans like this? What have your experiences been?
14 thoughts on “Another Way To Save Money On The Electricity Bill”
We also are on a budget plan and we really like it. I hated nothing more than having a huge bill in the winter when it’s cold. The one thing is though it is easy to get complacent with a budget- it is still a good idea to track your usage to see if there are any ways you can save energy.
Our electric company doesn’t have a plan like this. Our bill averages about $50-$60 so I don’t worry about it much. We recently moved though and I think our bill will be a little higher with the new electric company.
@Praire Eco-Thrifter: That’s a very good point. It is easy not to even think about your usage since you already know what your bill is going to be. I’ve certainly fallen into that trap. Maybe with the new time of use plan I will be more mindful.
@Andy Hough: Thanks for your comment. I’m curious to know if this is a common plan or a Phoenix thing. I hope some others let me know.
That is a good tip! I need to check if your power company has something similar. I don’t mind running the dishwasher at night!
I never heard of the “time of use” plan before. I like the idea, though, and it’s something I’ll look into. I typically don’t need to run A/C here in Connecticut, so my electric bills aren’t too high.
I have used the “budgeting billing” plan before. Since I’m an apartment renter, and I’ve only lived in places for less than a year before, this didn’t work out too well. We paid based on the past renters’ usages, which were much higher than ours. This resulting in us overpaying by a lot in the first few months of our cycle until things evened out. I haven’t gone back to using this since.
@Jeffrey: When I was a renter I ran into the same problem and couldn’t use the budget billing. Also in New England so it wasn’t a huge issue. The difference between the high bill and the low bill wasn’t much.
I go back and forth with the budget billing. On one hand, it’s nice to pay the same every month. On the other hand, it’s nice having the variable price on the low-use months, though it does make budgeting harder on the high months.
Our electric company keeps sending out these graphs saying that our electricity use is 30% more than other people in our neighborhood. I have trouble believing that…but it does make me want to make some changes. 🙂
@ Lindy: Yeah I get that letter too. I blame all the snow bird houses in the zip code. They’re empty all summer! How can I compete with that?
We haven’t actually switched to budget billing, but we pay about the same amount every month. In spring and fall, we pay extra and build up a cushion for winter and summer.
We get a 9 cent/kw rate with Gexa for another 2 years, so our bills range from $65-$165 no matter what month it is. That’s fine by me. 🙂
Unfortunately we don’t have the option of “time of use” plans here in Virginia Beach. I think they are a great idea; helping us consumers pursue a cheaper rate, and allowing the utility to better balance demand.
Growing up, we were on an “off-peak” hot water plan. Our hot water tank (electric) would fire up at midnight and heat to the specified temperature until 6am, securing a lower rate. The catch was that you couldn’t heat any more water until midnight. So if you wasted it with a long shower, you had to do without. Of course this was drilled into my sister and I and the result is that I still take 2 minute showers today.
It seems this electric plan only add new complexity in your life. 🙂
That is so great! Our electric company doesn’t have it, but I wish they would! With the extreme heat right now I’m choosing to do laundry and use the dishwasher in the wee hours of the night hoping to help prevent any power blackouts. Even a brownout would be tough with the heat indexes we’ve been getting.
Congrats on a great move!
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