How to pay less for electricity with Time of Use rates in 2022

Learn the Time-of-Use hack that could save you a bundle on your energy bill

By
Katie Overmonds
on
June 22, 2022
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Imagine arriving at your neighborhood laundromat, your basket piled high with this week’s loads. You load up the machines, throw in your detergent (the new eco-friendly strip kind!) only to see a sign on the machine that says “Each load costs 3x if you’re here between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.”. 😳😳😳

Chances are, you’d hightail it right out of there! 

As silly as that situation sounds, most people are regularly paying far more than they realize to use the appliances in their own home, due to the fluctuating cost of electricity and recently-introduced “Time of Use Rates” from your energy provider. 

Although you may not see the price tag right away when you fire up the oven or switch on the dryer, chances are you may feel some sticker shock when your monthly electricity bill arrives. 

The secret not many people know about that causes your bills to go through the roof? It’s about time.

It’s true. That same load of laundry could cost you nearly DOUBLE the amount of money during certain hours of the day than it would at others. And there’s no handy label on your laundry machine to let you know how much you’ll pay for the same amount of electricity at any given time! 

That’s why it pays to understand how Time of Use Rates work and how to save electricity and money by getting smarter about how and – more importantly –  when you use energy in your home. 

All about Time of Use Rates

While Time of Use rates have been around for decades, this is the year that most California residents were opted in to them automatically. Which means many people are newly on these new price tiers and don't even know it yet!

TOU rates, just as the name suggests, are rates that change depending on when a customer uses electricity. Although specific rate plans will vary depending on your utility, all rates will typically have a “peak” period (a block of time when electricity is expensive), and an “off-peak” period (a block of time when it’s cheaper). 

Check out the PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E TOU pages for specific rate information.

Generally, power will be:

  • Cheaper to use during the day
  • More expensive in the evening hours 
  • Cheap again overnight. 
  • It’ll also generally be cheaper on the weekends than during the week.

Want the full deep dive on Time of Use rates and how they work? Check out this blog: Understanding Your Energy Bill: Time-of-Use Rates 101


How can I save money on electricity with Time of Use Rates?

Although moving to TOU rates is a big change, many of us can benefit (hint: lower our bills!) if we’re able to shift when we use electricity. A few examples of how you can do this are below, although we know not everyone may be in a position to do everything on the list. Just remember, every little bit helps to lower your bill!

Take advantage of Time of Use:

  • Precool your home: Set the thermostat to pre-cool your apartment a few hours before you arrive home from work, then turn it up for an hour or two in the evening. (We know, this goes against everything we’ve been taught about heating or cooling an empty home.)
  • Make use of timers: Run the dishwasher before bed … or set a delayed start to run a few hours after you’ve left for work.
  • Slow cookers for the win! Bust out that slow-cooker and set it to run during the day. Not only will your meal be cooked with cleaner energy, you’ll also have dinner ready by the time you get home.
  • Do the laundry on the weekends. Weekend rates will almost always be lower than the evening hours Monday through Friday.

 

“Honey, why are we paying twice as much for electricity after 4 p.m.?”

Register OhmConnect to save AND get rewarded. 

OhmConnect is a no-cost, no-risk service available to California, Texas and New York residents that will actually notify you when electricity prices are spiking in your area so you can unplug and save energy at the key moments when it will cause your bill to skyrocket. 

You’ll receive notifications letting you know when to power down or even automatically adjusting your smart home devices to use less power when it’s most expensive. 

Not only will you save on your electric bill but you can also get rewarded with cash and gift cards for helping ease strain on the energy grid when it’s needed most. It’s a win-win! 

Not yet a member? Join OhmConnect now and start saving. 

Katie Overmonds

Katie is an award-winning journalist and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for the environment and fighting climate change.

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