TVA spokesmen have sounded the warning, as has Tom Wheeler, CU general manager.
Customers who don’t decrease their kilowatt-hour usage, especially during peak demand periods, will be among those most affected by higher monthly bills when the full time-of-use rates kick in for all power users.
“If people don’t react, they will see their bills get higher,” Wheeler has previously cautioned.
He acknowledged many are reluctant to make changes, but the whole intent behind time-of-use rates is to reduce some of the drain on peak demand periods.
As previously published, TVA recognizes two such peak times which are when the cost of energy is highest. These are:
- Winter Peak Period which stretches from December through March, and days of the week are Monday through Friday. Hours are 5 to 11 a.m. EST.
- Summer Peak period which runs from June through September, and days of the week are also Monday through Friday. Hours are 1 to 9 p.m. EST.
TVA literature points to the importance in reducing energy use during peak periods.
“A major driver of electricity cost is the growth of ‘peak demand,’” TVA cites. “Peak demand is when the greatest amount of electricity is used during the day, especially hot summer afternoons and cold winter mornings. When everyone uses a lot of electricity at the same time, it costs more to produce.”
Heating and cooling are typically among the largest electricity costs in an average home.
And that’s where TVA and Cleveland Utilities suggest starting when making lifestyle changes or household routines in order to reduce monthly energy bills. Utilities officials recommend reducing air-conditioning costs by setting the thermostat to 78 in the summer. Anything lower will increase cost by approximately 5 percent for every degree below 78. Setting the thermostat higher at times when no one is home can save more.
In the winter, it is recommended that households set the temperature at 68. Heating cost will increase 3 percent for each degree above that level.
An annual breakdown for a typical all-electric household shows which categories or areas of the home use the most energy — kitchen, 21 percent; heating and cooling, 38 percent; water heating, 20 percent; laundry, 6 percent; outlets, 9 percent; lighting, 4 percent; and other, 2 percent.
Other tips for saving on electrical costs include:
- To reduce water-heating costs, decrease hot water use by taking shorter showers and using cold water to rinse clothes in the washer. Some newer water heaters can be programmed to use less power during peak times while still keeping water hot.
- Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. The bulbs produce the same amount of light, last longer and use less energy. A compact fluorescent bulb can save $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime.
- Use major appliances during off-peak hours such as washing clothes at night instead of late afternoon or early morning.
- Although heating and cooling systems, and water heaters, typically make up the majority of a home’s energy consumption, remember that common household appliances can also draw significant amounts of electricity.
- Minor adjustments like unplugging unused appliances can reduce energy use.
- An energy evaluation can help homeowners identify inefficiencies and reduce their electric bills. In-home evaluations can save consumers 20 percent on their total utility bill. A self-evaluation, available online, can also help save money.
- More and more consumers will become interested in having home evaluations conducted at their homes free of charge through Cleveland Utilities and TVA. Information on how the home evaluations work may be obtained at the website www.energyright.com. The site also includes certain incentives that are available for purchasing energy-efficient products.
Wheeler pointed out Cleveland Utilities is currently developing incentives that will assist energy users to reduce their power consumption.
(Editor’s Note: Home appliances burn a lot of kilowatt-hours. Which ones use most and how much does it cost? Get some answers in the Monday, April 25 edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner).