Timing matters—for electricity, movies, and more

Picture a hot summer day. The air conditioner’s on full blast and you have a cool glass of lemonade. It’s not quite enough, though. What to do? Your spouse suggests a movie and—lo and behold!—there’s one you agree on.

But you’ve missed the matinees. You’ll be paying full price for that movie ticket (and fighting crowds because more people see movies in the evening).

Electricity works the same way. Use it when everyone else is—like on a hot afternoon—and the price can go up for all the homes and businesses in your service area.

You probably won’t pay more right then for that electricity, because most residential electric co-op members pay a fixed rate per kilowatt hour. But if Wabash Valley Power Association, as your co-op’s generation and transmission co-op, has to buy more power on the market because of high demand, that cost will be a lot higher. And in the long run, that costs all co-op members more money because we all share those expenses.

Therein lies the cost problem. But we do have an answer, and it’s called PowerShift.

If your electric co-op participates in the program, you can have a switch installed on an air conditioner, electric water heater, pool pump, or field irrigator. That switch may be activated when demand is up to cycle off for a few moments whatever equipment it’s attached to. The switch is activated only during certain designated times—typically in the afternoons—and never on weekends or holidays. Most people don’t notice the difference, and shifting the time during which you use electricity goes a long way toward keeping costs down for everyone.

In thanks for your efforts, you may be eligible for a monthly credit on your electric bill. Call your local electric co-op today to ask how you can help participate in lowering the demand for energy this summer.

PowerShift isn’t the only way you can help reduce the demand for energy during peak times, like on hot summer afternoons. You can help conserve by

  • Keeping your lights off when you don’t absolutely need them
  • Turning up your thermostat by three degrees
  • Closing your blinds and curtains to keep sunshine from making your house warmer
  • Running your ceiling or table fans to help keep you cool
  • Using hot water, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers and other appliances in the evening or morning, when temperatures are lower

And, hey—if you’re not going to be doing those hot-water chores in the afternoon, why not treat yourself to a matinee? Timing!