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What Time Is It?

Energy use varies throughout the day causing fluctuations in rates. Energy consumption costs more at peak times where use spikes across the board.

For example, in many areas from 4 to 8 on weekday evenings is typically when energy use it at its highest.

So the electricity you use during a certain part of the day may actually cost you more during another time.

Peak times vary for different areas and seasons. There are simple tricks to reduce energy use and save a little money, too.

More than half of all energy expended is from housing. Things like using air conditioners, appliances and lighting all can cause power usage increases.

One way to save is to operate appliances and electrical equipment when others in your area are giving their piece of the grid a rest. In general, later in the evening is a good time. If you have timers or delay settings on any appliances, set them for the middle of the night if possible.

Warmer afternoons are other peak times where humming air conditioners are running and the workday is in full force, as are extreme cold snaps where furnaces are constantly going. Programmable thermostats are another way to try and keep energy output steadier. When set they will decrease the yo-yo effect of constantly turning them up and down.

Also, things that may seem small like using cold water as opposed to hot water for laundry and chores or running air dry settings on appliances instead of heat drying, can reduce costs substantially.

So, why does energy cost more at different times of the day?

In addition to regular local power plants that provide energy, there are usually also subset plants. These plants are for use only during peak times or in instances where an unusual demand exists. These normally are older and not as cost effective to run; therefore the price is increased and passed on to the consumer.

Lessening energy use during high consumption times can benefit all utility users, and some providers offer incentives for customers who limit theirs. Also, many power companies have upgraded their systems, as with those who relied on electric meter readings to modern, more efficient ones. This allows energy data to be more accessible and makes it easier to understand when high usage times occur.

Recognizing when demands for electricity are higher and limiting use during those periods can easily be incorporated into the daily routine. Applying these tips during energy tugging times of the day can help keep rates down and savings up.

Source: Graham, S. 2010. Peak Energy Times: When – and when not – to run your appliances. Retrieved from: Networx

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