Good stuff, although I disagree re: not buying the programmable thermostat. I consider it insurance against (my) human nature to forget to change the setting on my old non-programmable one, especially when stumbling off to work while my 1st cup of coffee is still working its way into my system. Programmables take less than half an hour to install and a good one costs less than $70 on Amazon.
With just a few simple, no-cost or inexpensive changes you can easily lower your utility costs this month. Adding in a bit of an investment into your home with a programmable thermostat, an upgraded shower head, or new appliances may cost you now but will pay off in the long run. Any of these 15 steps will save you money on your utilities right away.
Even if you don’t currently use much electricity during off-peak hours, do you have the flexibility to change everyday habits and decrease your electricity use during peak hours? This might seem difficult for homeowners who leave the house everyday for work and return in the evening when electricity rates will be higher, but there are still steps you can take to save money using time-of-use. For example, many appliances – including dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers – have scheduling functions so that you can set the time for them to run ahead of time. If you own an electric car, you can plan to charge it at night during off-peak hours.
Don’t be drawn in by the electricity rate anomalies that tiered rate plans create and sign up for a plan that likely also has a steep cancellation fee that could leave you in a bind. Educate yourself about your energy usage and do your homework on these plans to make sure you’re getting what you expect, or just don’t be tempted because there are a lot of other more straightforward, fair-priced plans available.
Many utility companies offering TOU rates allow residential customers to opt into it, but this isn’t always the case. California is the first state to require that everyone who installs a solar panel system has to switch to a TOU rate plan under their net metering 2.0 program. Time-of-use electricity pricing is a common option for commercial buildings as well, especially if tenants have flexibility in when they can use the most electricity.