The Word on another type of Power

A followup to my post last night about the effect of “watching the meter” on power consumption. Today’s NYT ran a front page story on a project in Chicago to give rate payers hourly electricity cost information. According to the article, those in the program are using less energy at peak times reducing overall peak energy demand and decreasing their electricity bill. Research suggests that shifting 7% of energy consumption to offpeak hours could reduce energy expenditures by $23 billion, or approximately 1/12th for the average household (that’s a free month!)

CORRECTION: The following comment came through email from David Cay Johnston at the NYT:

That Carnegie Mellon savings estimate of $23 billion per year by
cutting peak power usage just 7% means much more than a free month each year for each household. The estimate is for the nation. Industrial, commercial, government and nonprofits — all would get 12 months of popwer for the price of 11.

Consumers are used to peak pricing in other aspects of life, as the article says, we make long personal calls via cell phone at night when the calls are free, we fly during offpeak hours, and some people will drive off peak to spend less on tolls.

Empowering rate payers with hour by hour pricing is an immediate way of reducing peak load. Every power utility should offer a daily pricing report to their rate payers via web, email and rss.

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