DENVER — After a pilot program a couple years ago, Xcel Energy says it received positive feedback from customers on its Time of Use rates.
“What I recommend is (to) give it a shot. What they saw is that they saved a little bit of money on their electric bill, or they about stayed the same,” said Hollie Velasquez Horvath, regional vice president of state affairs and community relations for Xcel Energy.
About 310,000 Colorado customers officially started using the new Time of Use rates along with a new meter.
By 2025, Xcel plans to transition all customers to the new rate plan.
Xcel divides its peak time into three categories. Between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. is mid-peak, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. is on-peak, and all times outside of that are off-peak hours.
Xcel said if people take advantage of using the bulk of their electricity during off-peak hours and weekends, they could potentially save money on their bill. This includes things like cooking, laundry, and maybe even charging your electric car.
The concept may fit better for certain lifestyles.
“It sounds like it would be a good idea for people who have night time jobs or night jobs, but for a high school English teacher, I am not home all day. Then, when I come home at 2 p.m., it starts so it isn’t really the best option for people with 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs,” said Mackenzie Clarke.
Or, for families who have young children.
“I have two children who are in elementary school so they come home from what you are saying at peak hours — around 3 p.m., 4 p.m. — and we do the bulk of our day, whether it is showers, watching a movie, cooking dinner, during those peak hours,” said Brandy Beck.
Still, this Denver mother realizes the impact it could have on the environment and said she’d be willing to give it a try.
“I think I will probably start off trying it out. I don’t have a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job so my schedule is very random. So, I can be home and do the laundry and the dishes not during peak hours frequently,” Clarke said.
Xcel Energy said one of its goals is to ease the generation around peak hour on solar farms, wind farms, and gas plants.
“If we can start to encourage our customers to partner with us on adjusting their electric use, that enables us to then not have to build as much generation and we can possibly flatten out this really big bell curve that we currently have,” Horvath said.
This program only applies to residential customers, not commercial. It also will only impact electricity rates and not natural gas.
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