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.

Share this article

Beyond the Sale | OEC News

By placing an unwavering focus on service before sales, OEC Fiber is not just connecting businesses to the digital world but creating a blueprint for the future of member and subscriber service.

Read More »

The Power Behind Your Power | OEC News

Despite the many challenges, OEC’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local communities. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called.

Read More »

OEC Electric and Fiber Awarded Large Business of the Year | OEC News

In an impressive testament to its commitment to community and excellence, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC), along with our subsidiary OEC Fiber, was awarded the esteemed “Large Business of the Year” by the Norman Chamber of Commerce. The accolade was presented during a ceremony at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma, on Feb. 1, highlighting our impact on the communities we serve and our unwavering dedication to core values.

Read More »
Follow us!

Solar Vision | OEC News

How solar panels impact Norman Public Schools

As the sun reaches tendrils of its light towards the earth,large solar panels track them, rotating as the sun rises and sets each day.

Solar power is making notable progress as the renewable energy sector continues its rapid growth. Homes with solar panels attached to their roofs are becoming less of a surprising sight in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, around 4% of homes adopted this renewable energy source with an increasing growth rate each year.

This is true right here in central Oklahoma.

“We’re seeing exponential growth in the homeowners who add solar to their house,” said Nick Shumaker, OEC manager of system engineering. “Currently, about 500 of our 60,000 accounts have installed solar at their homes.”

While the number is small, the increase in installs from year to year reveals a sharp rise in adoption of this technology. In 2012, OEC served just 19 solar accounts compared to 522 homes in 2022. A 1,833% increase in just over a decade. With solar energy trending up, OEC wants to ensure we are prepared for new and transitional types of energy.

“At the end of the day, we react to our members’ needs,” Shumaker said. “If our members are installing solar, if they’re buying EVs, whatever it is, we want to be part of the solution so we can remain what we have been since 1937 their trusted energy advisors and experts.”

OEC did just that after meeting with Norman Public Schools in 2019. NPS was looking for a partner to help decrease their expenses, nearly 80% of which were their facility expenses, including energy costs, Shumaker said.

“They came to us, and we want to help those in our community,” Shumaker said, “so the idea of this new solar park was born.”

Spanning 11 acres just east of Norman off Robinson Street, the park can generate an impressive 2,000 kilowatthours per hour—enough to power 350 homes annually. But how?

“Solar is unlike any other energy source we have,” Shumaker said. “Other energy sources are just turning a wind turbine or moving water to spin a turbine, but solar is a complicated chemical reaction.”

Solar panels contain silicone, which include electrical properties allowing it to serve as a foundation for electricity to flow, similar to metals in powerlines through which electricity flows from house to house, or in this case, from school to school, Shumaker said. When the sun hits silicone in the panels, photons energize and begin a frenzy of movement, creating electricity.

“The energy feeds into inverters, which take the energy generated at a direct current, or D.C., and turn it into alternating current, or A.C. power,” Shumaker said. “A.C. power is what the entire U.S. grid operates on because A.C. power is more efficient.”

A.C. power can run in multiple directions, meaning it can travel long distances, such as OEC’s extensive territory.

The A.C. power runs through a transformer contained by large, green boxes — you might see them in neighborhoods or along roads — then underground and into a pole and connects into our local grid. All that energy is used locally, Shumaker said.

“The energy from here is equivalent to the load of both NPS high schools,” Shumaker said. “So, everyone gets to enjoy it and have a touchpoint with it.”

While the energy comes easy on bright, sunny days, one of the challenges of solar is limited sunlight. During winter or on cloudy days, solar panels can produce less energy, which is why our energy partner, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, generates power from various energy sources.

“You always need to use all the tools in your belt,” Shumaker said. “You can’t build an entire house with just a hammer, but that doesn’t mean the hammer isn’t a good tool. Natural gas and other energy sources are still a foundation, but tools like solar and wind power still help us build the house.”

OEC and NPS have partnered with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Department of Energy to continue researching how OEC can provide solar energy to members of low-to moderate-income.

Since installing solar panels on a residential home can cost upwards of $60,000, the realities of at-home solar production solar energy is out of reach for most people. The solar park, along with a 40-acre solar farm near Tuttle and the Solar Garden on Interstate 35 in Norman, allows people to experience solar power without that hefty cost, Shumaker said.

“We lease 11 acres from NPS right now, and we’re working on expanding to 15 acres for an educational pavilion, so we can provide tours and opportunities to learn about energy production for students and the public,” Shumaker said.

This partnership benefits both OEC and NPS. A statement on their website about the partnership reads: “The Norman Board of Education approved an agreement to lease district-owned land to OEC to develop the solar farm, which will reduce the school district’s energy costs and provide educational opportunities for students.”

With energy trends ever-shifting, OEC is committed to staying ahead of the curve and leveraging efficient renewable solutions for our members. We will continually strive to deliver exceptional service through innovative operations.

Share this article

Beyond the Sale | OEC News

By placing an unwavering focus on service before sales, OEC Fiber is not just connecting businesses to the digital world but creating a blueprint for the future of member and subscriber service.

Read More »

The Power Behind Your Power | OEC News

Despite the many challenges, OEC’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local communities. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called.

Read More »

OEC Electric and Fiber Awarded Large Business of the Year | OEC News

In an impressive testament to its commitment to community and excellence, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC), along with our subsidiary OEC Fiber, was awarded the esteemed “Large Business of the Year” by the Norman Chamber of Commerce. The accolade was presented during a ceremony at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma, on Feb. 1, highlighting our impact on the communities we serve and our unwavering dedication to core values.

Read More »
Follow us!

New Year New Savings | OEC News

Keep energy costs low and your house warm this winter

The turkeys are eaten, the presents unwrapped, new year’s kisses kissed and just like that, the holiday season has drawn to a close, but winter’s chill remains. As we head into the long stretch of winter, now is the perfect opportunity to review some easy energy efficiency tips from our Energy Efficiency & Solutions Specialist, Daniel Lofland. Keep warm indoors, and make a real difference in reducing energy costs by reading our nine energy efficiency tips!

1. Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun. That big beautiful glowing ball in the sky casts a ton of heat. Why not open the blinds and curtains in your home and let the sun do its job? When sunlight makes its way into the home, it heats up whatever objects it hits for free! However, please only use this advice in the winter for obvious reasons. We do not need to make our air conditioners work any harder than they already do in the summer.

2. Cover Drafty Windows. Let’s take this further than simply “covering” drafty windows. If you have a drafty window, seal it up rather than just covering it. Unless your cover creates a proper air barrier, drafts still make their way into the home. Caulk window sills where the window meets sheetrock to ensure no outside air makes it into the home.

3. Adjust the Temperature. Adjusting thermostats is the obvious answer for the most savings. Depending on many factors, adjusting temperature can save up to a 4 to 8% per degree decrease in heating or increase in cooling temperature. In effect, it decreases the cost of the heating and cooling portion of your bill. If you have a heat pump, we recommend finding the temperature that best suits you and your family and leaving it there. Making temperature changes on a heat pump can make the system think it needs help to increase the temperature. Heat pumps increase the temperature in the form of auxiliary heating, which means turning on a bunch of blow dryers to help heat the home. As you can imagine, that is not efficient for your energy bills.

4. Find and Seal Leaks. There are specific places to look for leaks in a home, such as plumbing penetrations, window casings and doors. To find more typical in-home leakage areas, sign up for our Home Energy Consultation Program at okcoop.org/hecp/, and our energy auditors will run a test called a “blower door” which highlights any air leaking in the home.

5. Maintain Your Heating. Systems. Scheduling routine service of your heat and air conditioning systems helps ensure they operate as efficiently as possible. We recommend replacing air filters monthly during peak usage seasons such as winter and summer. Those systems depend on airflow, and a clogged filter restricts that airflow. If you are an Amazon user, try the subscribe and save function to schedule air filter deliveries every month, so reminders literally come in the mail!

6. Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace. While not using your fireplace, make sure the dampener is in the closed position. If the dampener is open and the fireplace is not in use, it is like having a window open in your home.

7. Lower Water Heating Costs. We recommend keeping water heater temperatures at 115 to 120 degrees. This will not only save money but will also prevent scalding. We also recommend installing a water heater timer to save more money. Timers allow control of how often the water heater actually needs to kick on and heat water, think high usage times like mornings and evenings. OEC even offers a rebate of $50 for them!

8. Lower Holiday Lighting Costs. Using LEDs for Christmas lights can save a ton over the less efficient incandescent versions. Putting those lights on a timer can also save money. An incandescent C9 bulb uses seven watts per bulb. Moreover, strands have 25 lights, with a two-strand connection max. If there are 25 bulbs in a strand, we are at 50 bulbs between the two strands or 350 watts. An LED C9 bulb uses 0.10 watts per bulb. For the same number of bulbs, the LED version uses five watts. LED is the winner in this= efficiency competition!

9. Stay Warm with Clothes and Blankets. Some of us heard this a lot during our childhoods. “If you are cold, go grab a blanket!” As much as we may not think highly of that memory, it is sound advice for ways to save in the winter. Lower the thermostat temperature and add a layer of clothes, grab a blanket or BOTH! Those layers add insulation from the cold house and help trap body heat!

Share this article

Beyond the Sale | OEC News

By placing an unwavering focus on service before sales, OEC Fiber is not just connecting businesses to the digital world but creating a blueprint for the future of member and subscriber service.

Read More »

The Power Behind Your Power | OEC News

Despite the many challenges, OEC’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local communities. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called.

Read More »

OEC Electric and Fiber Awarded Large Business of the Year | OEC News

In an impressive testament to its commitment to community and excellence, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC), along with our subsidiary OEC Fiber, was awarded the esteemed “Large Business of the Year” by the Norman Chamber of Commerce. The accolade was presented during a ceremony at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma, on Feb. 1, highlighting our impact on the communities we serve and our unwavering dedication to core values.

Read More »
Follow us!

Efficient Home for the Holidays

Five ways to fight the winter chill and save energy

We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it. 

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check. 

Here are five tips to help increase your home’s energy efficiency this winter:

1. Mind the thermostat. This is one of the easiest ways to manage your home energy use. We recommend setting your thermostat to 68 degrees (or lower) when you’re home. When you’re sleeping or away for an extended period of time, try setting it between 58 and 62 degrees; there’s no need to heat your home when you’re away or sleeping and less active.

2. Button up your home. The Department of Energy estimates that air leaks account for 24% to 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling a home. Caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors is another simple, cost-effective way to increase comfort and save energy. If you can feel drafts while standing near a window or door, it likely needs to be sealed. 

3. Use window coverings wisely. Open blinds, drapes or other window coverings during the day to allow natural sunlight in to warm your home. Close them at night to keep the cold, drafty air out. If you feel cold air around windows, consider hanging curtains or drapes in a thicker material; heavier window coverings can make a significant difference in blocking cold outdoor air.

4. Consider your approach to appliance use. When combined, appliances and electronics account for a significant chunk of our home energy use, so assess how efficiently you’re using them. For example, if you’re running the dishwasher or clothes washer, only wash full loads. Look for electronic devices that consume energy even when they’re not in use, like phone chargers or game consoles. Every little bit helps, so unplug them to save energy.

5. Think outside the box. If you’re still feeling chilly at home, think of other ways to warm up––beyond dialing up the thermostat. Add layers of clothing, wear thick socks and bundle up under blankets. You can even add layers to your home! If you have hard-surface flooring, consider purchasing an area rug to block cold air that leaks in through the floor. 

Share this article

Beyond the Sale | OEC News

By placing an unwavering focus on service before sales, OEC Fiber is not just connecting businesses to the digital world but creating a blueprint for the future of member and subscriber service.

Read More »

The Power Behind Your Power | OEC News

Despite the many challenges, OEC’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local communities. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called.

Read More »

OEC Electric and Fiber Awarded Large Business of the Year | OEC News

In an impressive testament to its commitment to community and excellence, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC), along with our subsidiary OEC Fiber, was awarded the esteemed “Large Business of the Year” by the Norman Chamber of Commerce. The accolade was presented during a ceremony at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma, on Feb. 1, highlighting our impact on the communities we serve and our unwavering dedication to core values.

Read More »
Follow us!
Skip to content