Beat the Peak | OEC News

Members on the time-of-use rate can find ways to save

Looking around your home, you likely have more devices and equipment that require electricity than ever before. Our connected lives are increasingly dependent on more electricity to function. At the same time, as demand for electricity rises, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative must deliver an uninterrupted 24/7 power supply––regardless of market conditions or other circumstances.

As you would expect, based on your family’s habits, electricity use fluctuates throughout the day based on consumer demand. OEC must be able to provide enough electricity to meet the energy needs of all members on our time-of-use rate during times of highest energy use or “peak hours.” During winter months, these peak times are typically in the morning as people start their day and in the evening as they return home.

What you may not know is that electric utilities, including OEC, typically pay more for electricity––either from a power plant or another utility with excess power––during those morning and evening “energy rush hours.” In addition, the demand for electricity is even higher when it is especially cold outside when heating systems must run longer to warm our homes.

If the “peak times” concept is a bit puzzling, here’s an easy way to think about it, and it is similar to a major concert. We know costs go up when there is strong demand for tickets (or electricity), and both are subject to the basic economic laws of supply and demand. When a lot of people want the same thing, it is more expensive.

When they don’t, it’s cheaper––like a bargain matinee or an “early bird” special at a restaurant.

At OEC, our default rate is the standard residential rate, which does not include peak hours. If you are on this rate, there is no need to worry about peak hours.

Our time-of-use rate includes peak hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday between June 1 and August 31.

WAYS TO SAVE

During peak periods when the cost to produce and purchase power is higher, we encourage you to take simple steps to save energy, such as turning your thermostat down a few notches, turning off unnecessary lights and waiting to use large appliances during off-peak times.

You can also save energy by plugging electronics and equipment such as computers, printers and TVs into a power strip, then turning it off at the switch during peak hours. If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the settings to sync up with off-peak rate periods. When we all work together to reduce energy use during periods of high electricity demand, we can relieve pressure on the grid and save a little money along the way.

Another benefit of this time-of-use approach to electricity use is that it allows greater control over your bill. Reducing the peak impacts the power-supply cost to every co-op member. This is particularly noticeable as energy costs have risen across the U.S. Collectively, everyone conserving energy and making small changes can truly make a difference.

Remember, taking simple steps to save energy throughout the day and shifting energy-intensive chores to off-peak hours is a smart choice for you and our community. Visit okcoop.com/rates/ to learn more about our rates, peak energy times and which rate works best for you.

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