Paying for Power by the HourApril 4, 2013
It must have been about 5 years ago that I signed us up for Ameren Illinois’s Power Smart Pricing. Power Smart Pricing allows us to pay the going rate for electricity for that hour when we are using the power, rather than paying the going price for the day regardless of when we are using it. In other words, some hours the price of power is lower than the daily price and some hours it is higher. If I use electricity only during the high priced times and I pay the hourly rate then I’m going to be paying more than my neighbor. But if I use electricity primarily during the low cost periods than I’m going to come in on the cheap side.
About 2 years ago I wrote about our annual power smart summary; well, it’s that time of the year again.
The average Power Smart Pricing participant used 13,146 kWh, and saved $261.77; that was 35% of what they would have paid. Not too shoddy. I’ll admit, however, to feeling a bit smug. We used 5724 kWh over the course of the year, about 44% of the average participant’s usage. The smallest amount was 282 kWh in April and the most was 946 in July. Overall, we saved $259.35 over the retail price for a 79.7% savings. Holy Toledo! nearly 80% savings over what we would have paid at the typical rate!
Not only are we doing considerably better than the average program participant, we’re doing better than we did 2 years ago. In 2010 we used 7191 kWh and saved only 18% – not bad, but nothing compared to 79%
So how are we doing it? We had Energy Star appliances and CFLs in 2010, plus we were very conscientious about running the dishwasher, washing machine, and AC primarily at night. The big difference is our solar panels. The solar panels are generating power during the most expensive part of the day, and in the summer that can make a big difference. Between careful consideration of when we use our energy-hungry appliances and generating electricity for our own use during the high priced hours, we are saving a pretty penny.