Keeping your cool when energy demand heats up

can lead to savings and other benefit

Piggy bank

Planning ahead to save energy during the dog days of summer can help keep you cool while helping the environment — and even get you some money back!

Most people know the basic rules of supply and demand: When demand goes up, the price typically goes up, too. The same goes for electricity — when businesses are operating and everyone is running their air conditioners on a hot summer afternoon, wholesale electricity prices can soar. You may not see these price differences on your home’s energy bill right away because your electric co-op may average these costs into one amount per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but eventually, high-demand days can lead to higher average costs for everyone.

Your local electric cooperative is part of a complex system that must be prepared to meet the highest power demands put on the energy grid. This is similar to the way a big box store parking lot may seem larger than needed. When you pass by on most days, many of the parking spots are empty. Yet on the day after Thanksgiving, customarily the year’s busiest shopping day, the parking lot might be crammed with cars. Your electric co-op has to build or buy enough capacity to fulfill everyone’s needs on the hottest day (or coldest night) of the year.

Response to demand can save

Many co-ops offer advice and programs to limit the peak demand during those days of extreme temperatures and energy use. Options for homeowners can include load management programs for different devices, such as air conditioners, water heaters or Wi-Fi thermostats, to shift energy use to times when electricity is in less demand. By doing this, the distribution co-op and its generation and transmission cooperative can avoid building costly new power plants to meet increasing demand or having to purchase energy on the market.

You can contact your local electric co-op’s energy advisor for information on resources available to help you lower your home’s energy use. Your co-op may even offer programs (and rebates!) for you to help keep a lid on long-term energy costs. Everyone has a role in reducing long-term energy costs for the local electric cooperative — which, in turn, also minimizes the costs you must pay in the future. 

Call your local electric co-op for details and visit for more energy-saving tips and advice.