It’s always great when we can do something that’s both good for ourselves and good for others. One small thing that you can reduce your electricity bill and help the environment is take advantage of power company “on call” programs, if available in your area.
What They Are
Formally called “Residential Demand Response Programs“, these are voluntary programs whereby, generally speaking, your local power company installs little devices next to energy-intensive home appliances like air conditioners and pool motors. Then, at times of very high power demand, they remotely and briefly cut the power to your appliances. For example, South Florida’s Florida Power and Light (FPL), offers this, naming it “On Call”. The power is only switched off for short periods (10-20 minutes or so, I believe); in return, you get a credit on your electric bill ($10 or so per month), whether or not your power is actually switched off.
Different companies run varying programs with different details, though, so you have to check with your local utility to see what it’s offering. For instance, in San Diego, California, you apparently have to manually reduce your power use when they notify you that it’s a “Reduce Your Use” day. (This seems to require more work on your part, as opposed to programs where the power company just temporarily switches off your appliances).
When Will They Cut the Power?
Per FPL and the Clearly Energy website, the most likely time that power companies will cut the electricity to participating appliances is summer afternoons, for those programs where the company automatically cuts your use.
Where Is This Available?
Going by Clearly Energy, the programs are available in many places in the US, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. There is a full table with lots of information if you follow the link.
It’s a good idea to check with your power company to see if they offer one of these deals. Cutting your electricity bill and helping the environment looks good to me!