Take some simple steps to save energy.

Did you know you can help your community and your electric co-op by simply glancing at the clock before you engage in activities that use electricity? As a co-op member, you can help everyone save energy and money by making a few simple changes to your routine.

Electricity follows the basic economic laws of supply and demand. When a lot of people want something, it’s expensive; when they don’t, it’s cheaper. Energy is more expensive during certain times of the day because more people are using it.

The role you play can be as simple as washing and drying your clothes a couple hours later than usual. Why would that matter, you ask? It is because the time of day that you use energy can impact the cost of supplying the electricity all members need, ultimately impacting future rates. Your electric cooperative (through its power generation and transmission cooperatives) typically pays more for electricity during the morning and evening hours in one or both of these ways: 

  1. Having a power plant there and potentially running to ensure enough electricity is available. 
  2. By actually paying more to purchase electricity from another utility with excess power at the time. 

And those peaks in energy use get even higher when it's especially hot or cold outside, as air conditioners or heaters use extra power. So, you can help level out the pattern of energy peaks and valleys by simply adjusting when and how you use electricity.

During peak times, when the cost to produce and purchase power is higher, we encourage you to take simple steps to save energy. Here are few ways you can beat the energy peak:

  • Adjust the thermostat. Move the temperature up to 78 degrees in summer and down to 68 degrees in winter. Bump it further up or down when you’re away from home for extended periods of time. 
  • If you have an advanced, or smart, thermostat, adjust the settings to sync up with off-peak times.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights  when not in use.
  • Postpone the use of major appliances. Move laundry loads to later in the evening or weekends. Delay running the dishwasher until well after dinner or use the delay cycle function if your dishwasher has one. 
  • Your water heater uses a significant amount of energy. You can reduce its energy burden by moving showering and bathing to an off-peak time or lowering the temperature on the tank. Some models include the ability to place the water heater on a timer to turn it off during hours it won’t be in use. 
  • Unplug charging cables and small appliances when they’re not in use. For bigger items like TVs, try plugging them into a power strip that can be flipped on and off.
  • If you have an electric vehicle, charge it at night when electricity demand is lowest.
  • During summer, consider grilling outdoors to keep the oven off during peak heat days.

Check with your local electric co-op to see if they have time-of-use programs. These programs can include notification of peak hours, either through text or email. Lowering your energy use during peak times allows your co-op’s power generation and transmission cooperatives to save money on peak demand fuel costs, ultimately saving you money by keeping rates lower. In addition, your electric cooperative passes their savings on to you, the member, in the form of capital credits.

Learn more energy and money-saving tips by listening to our Power for Your Life Podcast.