Working together to Beat the Peak and keep costs low

Steve HamlinHave you heard the saying “many hands make for light work”? That’s the same idea that helped create Piedmont Electric 80 years ago when our members banded together to bring power to our community. Similarly, this same phrase applies when tackling the upward cost pressures your co-op is currently facing.

When our members coordinate their efforts to save energy, these savings are passed on to you. Your reduction might seem small on an individual level, but when delivering electric service to more than 31,000 meters, these savings add up!

One clear example of how you can help is by participating in our load management programs like our smart thermostat savings program, time-of-day rates and Beat the Peak.

Our smart thermostat savings program helps you save in four different ways. With an Ecobee or Nest smart thermostat, you’ll receive a $50 rebate once you sign up for our program and monthly bill credits for remotely allowing us to adjust your thermostat a couple degrees on very hot afternoons in the summer.

Your smart thermostat will also decrease your bill by lowering your energy use as it cools and heats your home more efficiently. The final way it helps you save is by setting your temperature schedule to lower your energy use during peak times which helps your co-op keep rates low. Plus, combining this program with our time-of-day rates can really help you see the savings!

Another energy-saving option is Beat the Peak which is a voluntary program and one of the easiest ways to help us keep energy rates low. Through Beat the Peak, members are alerted by text message or email when a peak time period, or time of high energy use across your co-op, is expected. These members then do their part by reducing their energy use during those peak times or by shifting that use to a later time.

A large part of power supply cost is determined by energy used during these high energy use times. These times typically occur on summer afternoons. If we can reduce the energy use or demand during these few hours, we can reduce our power costs and save our members money all year long!

Try thinking about high energy demand like cars on the highway during rush hour. When highways are packed with vehicles, everyone is wasting fuel and money by sitting in traffic. If we removed some vehicles from the highway during high traffic times, like using less energy during peak times, everyone gets where they need to go without wasting time or money.

When we save money on wholesale power costs, this often shows up on your energy bill in the line labelled “power cost adjustment”. Since November of 2014, we have been able to pass a power cost adjustment credit on your bill because of successful peak energy reduction programs like Beat the Peak. With your help, we can continue reducing our power costs.

As the past 80 years have shown, our member-owned cooperative is powerful when we all work together for a common goal. Let’s continue to strive toward a bright energy future by reducing the energy peak together!