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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tallahassee Offers Nights and Weekends Discount Electric Prices

It had to happen. Tallahassee recently installed computer meters on every home. They could now monitor your electrical usage from the main office and bill you without manually reading your meter. This opened up a lot of options. They can tell when you are using a lot of power and when your usage is just a little dribble.

They are now offering customers to switch over to a "nights and weekends" discount plan.

Currently - they charge us 12 cents a kilowatt hour for power. For that 12 cents you can run a 100 watt bulb for 10 hours - 100 watts x 10 hours = 1 kilowatt hour.

Under the new plan - they would charge you only 8 cents an hour for any power you use after 7 PM until 7 AM the next morning. But electricity you use between 7 AM and 7 PM would cost 22 cents a kilowatt hour. Power used on the weekend would only cost 8 cents per KWH.

Why would they do this? A power company must build enough power plants to be able to cover the peak power usage time. That is usually on a hot summer weekday afternoon - when the air conditioners are zooming and the factories are busy with machinery. At night and on weekend the power usage drops way down.

A home owner can save money by transferring their usage to evenings and weekends. Things like doing the dishes after 7 PM = running the washer and dryer - heating water at 7PM. My friend Carl Zimmerman back home in Pennsylvania that has electric heaters full of bricks. At night he heats the bricks on cheap power - and in the day a fan blows air across the bricks to heat his home. you still use the same amount of power - you just transfer the time you use it.

I have been pesting the City of Tallahassee to do this for some time. But now that I am retired and home all the time - I wonder if I could benefit by it. We have an electric heat pump/AC to heat our home. We have a tankless gas water heater.

According to the city - 65% of home owner usage is done during off peak. If you could transfer 5% more usage to off peak - you could save money.

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