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.

Committed to Electrical Safety

May is electrical safety month and Pioneer Electric is committed to help ensure that you get the most out of your electrical service.
“What’s crazy about electricity is that you can’t see, hear, or smell it— but it’s all around us,” said Danny Law, safety and compliance manager. “Often times, people don’t think about electricity being an immediate danger, but it’s why we offer a variety of services to get people discussing the importance of electrical safety.”

Staying safe is more than just a commitment, it is a part of the cooperative business model. Your cooperative is guided by principles including open communication and education about your electrical service.

“Staying informed is one of the easiest ways to keep your family or coworkers safe,” Law said. “We offer safety trailer demonstrations, table top demonstrations, host programs like Safety Fest, perform energy audits and participate in Kansas One-Call (Call 811). These opportunities are completely free to businesses, schools and organizations we serve and can be booked at any time by giving us a call at 620-356-1211.”

Take this May as an opportunity to encourage your friends, family and coworkers to keep safety in mind. Additional information regarding all of the safety programs your cooperative offers is available here.

2018 Annual Meeting Recap

This March, employees, board of trustees and members of Pioneer Electric gathered for the 74th Annual Meeting of the cooperative. The day began with communities coming together for a free health fair. Various local organizations provided information on numerous health services, and 1,219 attendants participated in free blood profile tests.

“It’s humbling to receive such wonderful support from our community,” said Dee Longoria energy services coordinator for Pioneer Electric. “Events like this wouldn’t be possible without the participation from these organizations. It’s the cooperative spirit at work— communities coming together for a joint cause.”

At the annual meeting, Pioneer Electric employees and guests discussed the co-op’s achievements from the past year and an outlook for the upcoming year.
“Currently, the cooperative is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help with costs from the storm,” Epperson said. “Members can expect restoration to take four to five years before completion.”

Epperson then discussed results from the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Survey. “Going into a survey after a snowstorm, we were a little nervous of the results,” explained Epperson. “However, your cooperative rose to the challenge and received a 91 in total satisfaction from members— one of the highest scores out of all electric cooperatives that opted to participate in last year’s survey.”

Finally, representatives from Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and Mid-Kansas Electric spoke on the Johnson Corner Solar project. The project (to be constructed near Johnson City) will be the largest solar project in the state. Construction of the project is set to begin in the first quarter of 2019 and is planned to finish in second quarter of that year. Additional information regarding the project can be found online at midkansaselectric.net.

“Democratic control is a part of our business model,” Epperson said. “You, our members, are what powers the cooperative. You have the power to elect board members, vote on proposed changes and share your thoughts with your fellow members. This is the purpose of your annual meeting and we thank you for your continued commitment.”