AURORA, Colo. — A new plan for residential customers of Xcel Energy in Colorado would change the way bills are tabulated, based on the times when appliances are used in a home.
All Colorado customers will be transferred to the "Time of Use" rates over the course of the next three years, and it starts with 310,000 customers in March. Essentially, the new rate plan means a customer's bill will be based on when electricity is used.
The three time periods are outlined by Xcel as the following:
- On-Peak Hours: Weekdays between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., excluding holidays.
- Mid-Peak Hours: Weekdays between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., excluding holidays.
- Off-Peak Hours: Daily before 1 p.m. and after 7 p.m. plus weekends and holidays. Off-peak hours provide the greatest cost savings opportunity.
Xcel Energy says running a dishwasher overnight or doing laundry on the weekend are ways customers can save money.
Residential customers will switch to the Time of Use rates after a smart meter is installed at their home. There are ways to opt-out of the Time of Use rates and smart meters.
Some people living in Aurora are skeptical of the new rate plan.
“I wouldn’t like it, because sometimes I’m busy with my baby, I can’t do laundry at the times that they would suggest," said Stefanni Garcia.
The utility company says the Time of Use rates give customers more flexibility when it comes to their bills.
Time of Use gives customers more choice in how and when they use their energy. When they shift their use of major appliances, such as dishwashers, washers, dryers and air conditioners – using them in the evening, morning or on the weekend, instead of during the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the week – they can save money while helping us integrate more renewable energy onto the system. We hope customers will try Time of Use. We believe they will find, as those who took part in our pilot program, that their bills will either decrease or remain flat.