Beat the peak

Posted on Feb 19 2023 in Jay County REMC
Neil Draper

If you look around your home, you’re likely to have more devices and equipment that require electricity than ever before. Our connected lives are increasingly dependent upon more electricity to function. At the same time, as demand for electricity rises, Jay County REMC must deliver an uninterrupted 24/7 power supply — regardless of market conditions or other circumstances.

As you would expect based on your family’s habits, electricity use fluctuates throughout the day based on consumer demand. Jay County REMC must be able to provide enough electricity to meet the energy needs of all members during times of highest energy use, or “peak hours.” These peak times are typically in the morning as people start their day and in the evening as people return to their homes.

What you may not know is that electric utilities (including Jay County REMC) typically pay more for electricity — either from a power plant or from another utility with excess power — during those morning and evening “energy rush hours.” In addition, the demand for electricity is even higher when it’s especially cold outside, when heating systems must run longer to warm our homes.

Here’s an easy way to think about the “peak times” concept — it’s similar to the demand for concert or theater tickets. Costs go up when there is strong demand for tickets (or electricity), and both are subject to the basic economic laws of supply and demand. When a lot of people want the same thing, it’s more expensive. When they don’t, it’s cheaper ­— like at a bargain matinee performance, for example. 

During peak periods when the cost to produce and purchase power is higher, we encourage you to take simple steps to save energy, such as turning your thermostat down a few notches, turning off unnecessary lights and waiting to use large appliances during off-peak times. Jay County REMC generally peaks Monday through Friday between 5-8 p.m.

You can also save energy by plugging electronics and equipment such as computers, printers and TVs into a power strip, then turning it off at the switch during peak hours. If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the settings to sync up with off-peak periods. Programming appliances such as dishwashers, clothes dryers or even electric vehicle chargers to run their cycle off peak is also a great way to reduce peak demand. When we all work together to reduce energy use during periods of high electricity demand, we can relieve pressure on the grid and save a little money along the way. 

Another benefit of this time-of-use approach to electricity use is that it allows greater control over your bill. Reducing the peak impacts the power-supply cost to every co-op member. This is particularly noticeable as energy costs have risen across the United States. Collectively, everyone conserving energy and making small changes can truly make a difference. 

Remember, taking simple steps to save energy throughout the day and shifting energy intensive chores to off-peak hours is a smart choice for you and our community.