Beat the Peak

Cut back on summer peak usage with these 5 simple tips

As temperatures start to soar we find ourselves sweating from more than just the heat. The heat of summer often sees the height of utility costs. This is partially due to the increase in electrical load, but also when energy is being used. Throughout the day demand for energy fluctuates with the needs of members. These moments of high demand are called “on-peak hours” and heavy energy use can cause electrical rates to increase in summer months. While on-peak hours tend to vary between utilities, the general rule of thumb is that the majority of energy demand is in mornings (when we wake up, through heading off to work) and late afternoon through early evenings (when we return home from work). While scaling down the peak seems intimidating, there are numerous ways that you can help lower summer costs. Here are five simple tips to help ensure that the heat of the summer doesn’t boil your wallet.

1. Reduce the Load

The easiest way to avoid peak hour charges is to reduce energy usage during on-peak hours. Each month, our members are charged for the energy they use. When you cut back the amount of energy used, you cut back on the amount you are billed. Think back to growing up. We’ve all heard it: turn off the light when you leave the room, don’t leave the refrigerator door open, don’t let water run when you aren’t using it, shut off the television when you’re done using it. It may have seemed like nagging at the time, but it is good advice. A few seconds each day can add up to extra cash back in your pocket. Looking for a place to start? There are many creative solutions, online and on social media, to make saving fun! For example; hold a movie night by shutting off lights, closing blinds, unplugging those charging phones (we will get to those in a second) and limit energy consumption to a minimum.

2. Unplug

In the modern home, digital devices reign supreme. Tablets, smartphones, video game consoles, smart appliances and smartwatches rule the roost. However, these helpful pieces of technology have a drawback—an increase in power consumption. Walk into any home or office and chances are you will find a multitude of chargers and cables nestled in outlets. While this may make recharging easier, it means that these chargers are constantly drawing power. The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that 5 to 10 percent of a home’s electrical usage comes from these devices. So what’s the fix? Unplug a charger or electronic device when it isn’t in use. While this may not totally relieve this load, this will help ensure that you are getting the most out of the energy you choose to use. Another solution is to use a smart power strip. These look like typical power strips, but have features designed to help cut back on energy usage and are available at a variety of home improvement stores.

3. Turn It Up

Space heating and cooling is one of the biggest contributors to energy usage. It is estimated that over 30 percent of a household’s energy usage goes toward staying comfortable. That’s why one of the best ways to save during the heat of the summer is to cut back on cooling your home. Raise your thermostat four degrees during cooler parts of the day or whenever you leave your home for an extended period of time. When the heat of the day does arrive, use ceiling or stationary fans to help circulate the air in a room and close blinds and curtains to cut out the heat of the sun. This will help keep you away from the thermostat and keep your air conditioning system from working harder than it needs to. However, be sure to turn off the fan when leaving the room.

4. Switch Up Your Schedule

When you use your energy is just as important as how much energy you use. Energy-heavy chores—like washing dishes, doing laundry and cooking meals—often occurs during peak energy usage times. Break up chores so that they fall outside of peak hours. Start a load of dishes during a lunch break, designate the weekend to getting caught up on laundry and use smaller appliances or a slow cooker to prepare a few meals during the week. Experiment and find a schedule that works for you and your household.

5. Take It Outside

Warm summer weather makes this the perfect time of year to bring some of your housework to the outdoors. For example, fire up the grill and hold a barbecue or let laundry air dry. Another great way to unplug is to take some time to go outside and get away from the house. Schedule a date night, take the dog to the park, go for a jog, run some errands or go out and stare at the stars. Encourage your friends and family to find active ways to get outside this summer. Conserving energy is a benefit to our members, communities and cooperative. Coupling the above tips with the SmartHub mobile app or a free energy audit ensures that you are well on your way to taking the edge out of summer heat.

For additional energy conservation tips and for information on Pioneer Electric’s free energy conservation services, be sure to give us a call at 620-356-1211 or follow Pioneer Electric on Facebook.