When is the best time to do the laundry?

  1. Never
  2. When you're out of underwear
  3. When the teacher kindly asks if your kids need clean socks
  4. During 'C' times as created by the power company which fall at different times of the day depending on the time of the year.
On any given day I might answer "All of the Above" but for the purposes of this post the answer is #4. Yep, this is the post I've been promising about how to save money on your power bill if you've done all the other things that everyone already knows to do.

First, check with your power company and see if they offer Critical Peak Pricing or if they are putting together a pilot program in the future. We got into a pilot program and here's what it consists of.

Our local power company changed out our old meter for a digital one and installed a new thermostat inside our home. The thermostat is ours to keep forever and it has several nifty and incredibly cool features.
  1. It communicates wirelessly with the meter and the power company.
  2. It allows us to know exactly how much power we've used at any time of the month and how much $$ we've spent
  3. It shows us which price schedule we're in at each point of the day.
  4. It acts as a regular programmable thermostat.
The point of the program is that the power company is willing to give us a better rate on our power if we are willing to use less power during Peak power times. The Pricing Schedule shifts a little bit as the seasons change - I've been spoiled this winter by being able to do laundry in the middle of the day because it was "C-time" which is the same as the middle of the night - but normally the cheapest time to use power is from 10p to 6am. 

There are some trade-offs with this particular program. We get a wonderful rate in exchange for taking a hit if we use more power in Critical Peak times, but these are limited to 125 hrs in the year and they are likely to all be between the hours of 1p-8p during the summer. We get notice on our thermostat when this will happen and we do what we can to minimize our power draw by unplugging unnecessary electronics, not using the oven, not using hot water, raising the temperature on the thermostat if it doesn't do it automatically (which it might), etc. 

For us, we decided the trade was worth it and it made us mindful of the power we are using. Now, regardless of what time of the year it is, I try to minimize the use of the oven and do as much baking as I can after 10p. All laundry is done after 10p. The dishwasher only runs after 10p. Do you sense a pattern? Personally, I'm hopeful that when the pilot ends in may that the program will continue. I think that helping the power company, and helping ourselves in the process, will help the environment, too. It's a start and I truly hope it's just the beginning of the new ideas coming from our power company because I want to be in the pilot program for solar power when they decide to roll that out too. hint hint. 


January 24, 2011 at 8:21 PM Anonymous said...

10pm??.. When do you sleep!? lol

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