Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Peak and Off Peak Hours

I am sitting in the dark using the glow of my computer screen trying to save money. I don't know how much money I am actually saving, since my computer is drawing energy, but I am trying. We switched our family over to a plan that our Public Power District has implemented to encourage people to use off peak hours. So here we sit in the dark.

Can you tell it is a peak time? Our daily routines now revolve around 7-10 am and 4-10 pm. I am hoping this venture will work for us. Our electric rates have steadily increased over the years and in this past year they have raised them twice! I understand why, but my bills keep going up even though we have cut our usage. It is a little irritating, but I decided to try this strategy before I build my own wind turbine.

I tried getting the kids and the husband on board with conserving electricity in the past. However, a family of 5 and running a daycare make it very difficult to keep an electric bill low. I implemented an idea that really motivates the boys, but it is impossible to meet. My husband and I made a deal with the boys that if they can keep our electric bill under $150.00, then they could split the remainder between them. Out of 8 months, we only met this goal once.

I have done everything. I shut things down and unplug appliances and televisions. This makes for a very grumpy hubby, but I tried it. I hung our laundry outside and had the boys make me a clothesline in our basement for the winter and rainy days. We barely ran the air conditioner and I drained our pool so I wouldn't need to pay for the filter's electricity.

I googled ideas on how to save more. I caulked and insulated. I covered every window with plastic. I read some crazy idea that candles generate enough heat to raise a room's temperature by a few degrees, so we enjoyed candle lit meals and ambiance. I don't think it made too much of a difference. I had begged and pleaded with the husband to let me install a wood burner or fireplace, but that fell on deaf ears. We were stuck with no other option than to pay an outrageous electric bill.

I think the power company heard me begging and complaining to the hubby, because that is when I read about this new plan. The peak hour rate is a little over 10 cents a Kilowatt. Off peak is at about 4 cents. On our regular plan I was paying around 8 cents an hour. Granted, we will pay more during those peak hours, but I am hoping to use the off peak to our advantage. We also get Sunday at the off peak rate. Woohoo!

I try to wash dishes and laundry around our new schedule. I vacuum, charge the phones, and let the kids watch TV on the off hours. I only let them take baths or hot showers when it works for us- not the power company. We have programmed the water softener to run at midnight and our heaters get turned down for a little break during the day.

I am hoping this saves us money. I am not committed to a contract, but the power company suggested we try it for at least a few months. I hope we can. Even if we don't save a lot of green in our wallet, we are watching a lot less television and playing a lot less computer games. We even broke out the board games on Saturday. The boys are more conscious of the lights and how much hot water they use in the bathroom. Hopefully, I will be seeing more green next month and it better not be just the new Spring grass.

1 comment:

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