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 Message Boards » » Progress Energy's Time of Use (TOU) Program Page [1]  
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ROLLPACK
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Anyone use this system? Whats involved in setup? What kind of results have you seen from it?

If you are able to offset your water heater, washer and dryer, and dishwasher usage to off peak, are you pretty much assured to save money? Am I missing any common energy users that you can cycle to off-peak times?

I'm rarely home during peak hours, so I don't see how I could lose out here...

Quote :
"

What is Progress Energy's Time-of-Use (TOU) rate?
Progress Energy replaces your present meter with a special meter that tells how much energy you use and when you use it. You reduce your bill by shifting your electric use to off-peak periods and staggering the use of major appliances (such as your electric water heater, dishwasher and dryer) during on-peak hours. You are charged a lower rate for electricity used during off-peak periods. The times and length of on-peak hours differ for residential and nonresidential customers and by season. The on-peak hours are those hours during weekdays (Monday - Friday), as follows:

Residential On-Peak Hours (Winter):
October 1 - March 31, 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Residential On-Peak Hours (Summer):
April 1 - September 30, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
NonResidential On-Peak Hours (Winter):
October 1 - March 31, 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
NonResidential On-Peak Hours (Summer):
April 1 - September 30, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

All other times are off-peak including Saturdays and Sundays. The following holidays are also considered off-peak periods: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day (Thurs. & Fri.), and Christmas Day. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, the previous Friday is off-peak. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is off-peak."


http://progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/rates/NCScheduleR-TOUE.pdf

Quote :
"
17.058¢ per on-peak kWh
5.407¢ per off-peak kWh
"


considering the current cost is 9.6¢ 24X7, that 17.058¢ scares me a little...

4/6/2010 3:44:56 PM

CarZin
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I'm a self proclaimed expert with progress energy TOU and TOU-D plans. I have been on TOU-D since 2002, and have saved over $5000 to date. I think TOU is VERY BAD for many consumers, and TOU-D is MUCH MUCH better. When I run my numbers on TOU plans, I routinely lose money. I never lose money with TOU-D. There are a few things that have changed a lot since I made the post below (back in 2008). I have installed a high efficiency HVAC, which has decreased my peak consumption in the summer by almost half. That means my savings go down because I dont use as much energy. However, my unit is dual fuel, and I use a heat pump in the winter and natural gas when it gets really cold. my previous unit was only natural gas. So I use more electricity in the winter. Overall I am probably down 15-20% with my energy use, and my savings are coming close to 500 a year, not 600+ they use to be.

WARNING: LOTS OF READING AHEAD
This is my post from gm-volt on the matter [I have updated it just now]
THIS IS VERY LONG AND DETAILED. IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT TIME OF USE RATES, AND ARE UNAWARE OF TIME OF USE WITH DEMAND, YOU NEED TO READ THIS.

A lot has been spoken about going to a time of use rate when it comes to plug in hybrids to save money. The basic idea is to change your service so that electric rates are cheaper in the evening when you would charge your car (reducing the cost to charge).

I have actually been on a Time of Use with Demand rider for the last 9 years. I know most of the Ups and Downs. It saves me over $600 a year, and I though I would post my experiences so people can go ahead and investigate the rates for themselves in their own area armed with more knowledge. In my 6 years with the service, I have NEVER gotten a bill where I failed to save money over the standard rate. NEVER. My total savings exceed $4000 dollars. As I will explain later, the only difference to my life style is drying clothes during non peak hours (after 9PM or on weekends). Basically I just do my laundry in the evening or weekends. You don’t have to do this, but if you can dry during non-peak, it adds a lot to your savings. A few things of note... It is VERY important you do your own research on electric rates in your area. The availability of these plans, and the effectiveness of their rates varies WILDLY from one power company to another. Also, in our area, the customer support centers for the electric utility will do their best to steer you away from these plans. I have convinced at least 4 co-workers to go to this plan, and everyone has saved a lot of money.

Terms Defined:
On-peak Hours: These are hours that your electric company has designated as peak hours for high energy demand. For many locations, this would start around 9AM and continue to the early evening (8-9PM) and include Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).

Off-peak Hours: These are hours that your electric company has designated as off peak hours for low energy demand. For many locations, this would start around 8-9PM at night and continue through 9AM the next morning. Off peak hours also normally include all hours during the weekend and holiday.

On-peak kWh: The energy used during on-peak hours

Off-peak kWh: The energy used during off-peak hours

Demand Factor: Differs depending on the area... The demand factor is a rate (usually a summer and winter rate) multiplied by the most On-peak kWh you used during a given period of time for the month (for my location, this is 15 minutes, I have seen more for others). This can be difficult to understand, and I'll explain that later.

Let me define a few types of rates out there when it comes to Time of Use:

Time of Use (or All Energy Time of Use):
General rate equation:

* Service Charge + (On-peak rate) x (total on-peak kWh) + (Off-peak rate) x (total off-peak kWh)

This means that after each month, they will add up all peak and off peak energy used, and multiply those numbers times their respective rate.

* What’s the catch? It’s the on-peak rate. It is often near double what you pay for your standard rate. The off peak rate is about half your normal rate. So during a given month, if you generally use about the same amount of energy on peak as off peak, you'll come out about even (and save no money).

* What’s the advantage? If you can structure your energy costs to the evening (don’t run much A/C or heat during the day, wash dry clothes at night) then you can save significantly.

Time of Use with Demand
General rate equation:
* Service Charge + (On-peak rate) x (total on-peak kWh) + (Off-peak rate) x (total off-peak kWh) + Demand Factor

* What’s the advantage? Your on and off peak rates are generally around half as expensive as the standard rate.

* What’s the catch? The demand factor.

The demand factor defined:
"The largest number of kWhs used during a 15 minute period during all on-peak hours multiplied by a seasonal adjuster."

You take the 15 minute period of energy used during peak hours (in my case, it averages around 7.5 kWh) and multiply is by a seasonal number. For my location, you multiply 7.5 x ($5.02) in the summer or ($3.50) in the winter. This gets added to the bill.

Actual number comparisons from my own bills for the different service:

PEAK MONTH USED (8/24/07 Bill Date):
3,360 kWh total used
1249 On Peak energy used
2111 Off Peak energy used
9.05 Demand Factor

If I paid for this using Residential Service:
$6.75 (service fee) + 3360 x .09678 cents = $325.18

If I paid for this using Time of Use Service All-Energy:
$9.85 (service fee) + 1249 x .16179 (on-peak charge) + 2111 x .04528 (off peak charge) = 9.85+202.08+95.59=$307.52
[17.66 savings over regular plan]

If I paid for this service using Time of Use with Demand (I currently have this rate):
$9.85 (service fee) + 1249 x .05902 (on-peak charge) + 2111 x .04528 (off-peak charge) + $5.02 x 9.05 (demand factor) = $9.85+$73.72 + $95.59 + $45.43 = $224.59
[$100.60 savings over regular plan]

As you can see, the savings with Time of Use with Demand can be very dramatic. The biggest X component is the Demand Factor. Most people are scared to subscribe to this service because their demand factor energy used it unknown.

How I estimated mine:
I cut everything on in the house that could be on at one point. I had the A/C running, the washing machine running, the dish washer going, the stove top on, the TVs on, then I went outside to look at my electric meter and recorded the number. I waited 15 minutes, then went outside to record the next number. That is your max demand factor estimated.

Biggest factors that will add to your demand factor:
Electric Dryers
Electric Water Heaters
Electric Air and Heat

I have a gas water heater and gas electric heater. With this rate, I actually wish I had an electric heater (would save me money), but the water heater being on gas does shave off some peak demand. My big rule is NEVER DRY CLOTHES DURING ON PEAK HOURS. Drying clothes can add 2-3 to the demand factor. Anything else goes.

Go to your local utility websites and start researching your rates. I have seen some locations where the actual rates are very bad, and some that are much better than mine. I seem to be in the middle.

Please ask questions and I will try to answer them. I do not mind giving you more information on my precise bills.

ON ADDED NOTE: your savings on time of use are going to be more impressive the more energy you use. During the winter, I use around 900-1700 kWh a month. During the summer, it peaks around 3500 kWh, but then tapers off to around 2500. If people get serious about switching, I can get more detailed.


[Edited on April 6, 2010 at 4:02 PM. Reason : .]

4/6/2010 3:57:16 PM

Skack
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How does the oven/stove compare with the dryer for energy demands? I figure it has to be a pretty good draw since it is 220v too. I have considered this, but I have a housemate who cooks almost every meal at home and doesn't use the microwave...Therefore lots of oven/stove use.

4/6/2010 4:01:34 PM

CarZin
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It would only affect your demand factor by maybe 1-1.5. Not very significant considering when your roommate is using the stove, you are paying anywhere from 4-5 cents less per KwH then you were before the TOU-D plan.

There is only ONE thing I do not do... I do not dry clothes during on-peak hours. That is left for the weekends or after 9. The dryer will bump the demand factor by 2-3. You'll probably still save money, but you'll be pissed that drying one load of laundry set you back $15. Of course, this is a one time hit per month. If you end up drying once in the month during peak, you might as well do it for the rest of the month, because you'll already be dinged for it.

One other thing... I wouldnt get this meter unless you use a decent amount of energy. My current 12 month rolling savings is about $400. I used about 18744 KwH in a 12 month period. You should look at your bills and see how they compare.

[Edited on April 6, 2010 at 4:09 PM. Reason : .]

4/6/2010 4:05:23 PM

ambrosia1231
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I [tried] to switch us to TOU billing schedule several months ago; PE fucked up and took forever to do so, and so I think I have only one bill I can look at...maybe two. Not enough to run any meaningful numbers.

I had to call in and ask to be put on the TOU. They came out and installed a new meter (snag #1: "Your new meter will be installed on xx/xx/xxxx". Next bill comes, and we're still on the residential billing schedule. I call up: "Oh, you need a new meter for that!" You mean like the one that was supposedly installed on xx/xx/xxxx? "I see no record of that. I'll send someone out to install your new meter"). That was it.

Yes, I have changed the way some things are done around the house: during winter, I took showers during off peak and encouraged other people living in the house to do the same. I run the dishwasher during off-peak; I will only do cold wash loads of laundry during peak; we run the dryer during off peak (for items that I don't line-dry). I try to relegate oven use to off-peak hours; I'm considering building a solar oven to use this summer to a) avoid heating up the house b) reduce the amount of electricity I use for cooking. When I need hot water for something, I microwave it instead of running it from the tap or if it's not a small quantity.

These are not hard changes to make. It gets even easier in summer, because you're not going to want to cook much during the hot part of the day.

The biggest benefit from switching the billing schedule was becoming more conscientious of energy usage.

4/6/2010 4:18:24 PM

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ROLLPACK
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1) what kind of costs are associated with starting up this service (in your experience)?
2) Who provides your power?
3) How competitive are the rates I posted in my first post?
4) I average about 1300-1400 kWh per month, with a peak of 2200 during the coldest month. if it wouldn't make sense for me to start this program, why not?

thx for all the info

4/6/2010 4:21:45 PM

CarZin
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1) It costs nothing. If they charge you to change the meter, that would be new. They should change it out at your next meter reading.
2) Progress
3) I hate simple TOU. I think its garbage for most end user customers. Those rates look like they are charging you more a premium during the on-peak hours than are giving you a discount on off peak hours. If you read my post, you'll see where I give examples of bill breakdowns of TOU versus TOU-D. Some months it will be dissapointing and be something like 10-15, but during the heavy use months, you'll save 60-80.
4) 1300-1400 a month puts you near my consumption. Without knowing all the facts, you stand to save good money on your bill by converting (if your figures are correct).

Is your water heater gas or electric?

[Edited on April 6, 2010 at 4:38 PM. Reason : .]

4/6/2010 4:32:21 PM

quagmire02
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i do this

4/6/2010 4:42:37 PM

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ROLLPACK
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Quote :
"It costs nothing. If they charge you to change the meter, that would be new. They should change it out at your next meter reading."


cool...and hopefully no cost to go off the plan if it doesn't work out

Quote :
"Those rates look like they are charging you more a premium during the on-peak hours than are giving you a discount on off peak hours."


That's what I thought. I just grabbed that off some random internet link...they're sending me literature that should have more accurate info. I'm hoping I'll be able to do the TOU-D thing you're talking about.

Quote :
"Is your water heater gas or electric?"


electric. i have no gas service at all. i'm hoping that by doing dishwashing, clothes washing, and showering off peak that I won't run the hot water much during peak hours

Quote :
"if your figures are correct"


Just ran the numbers and its actually 1269..so not too far off

4/6/2010 4:43:47 PM

CarZin
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Need to get you out of the TOU mindset and into the TOU-D mindset.

First of all, here are all the rates:
http://progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/rates/nctariffs.asp

With a TOU-D, you really dont have to worry about the actual energy consumed, because it is guaranteed to be much cheaper than what you'll get with the standard rate. The current rates are:

6.781 on peak
5.407 off peak
Demand charge of $5.02 during spring-summer, and $3.73 during fall-winter

What you do have to worry about are appliances that will raise your demand factor. The demand factor is the most energy used during a 15 minute time period any point during the billing cycle. For example, if you have: HVAC running, stove on, washer and dryer on, water heater working, dishwasher running all at once, your demand factor of 10 kW. That gets multiplied by the demand charge and added to the bill. That would add about $50 to the bill. However, if you made sure the dryer and dshwasher werent used during the peak, and certainly not simultaneously, you could shave the demand factor down to 6 or 7, saving you 15-20 off the demand charge. The actual energy these devices consumes is really inconsequential. The rates are simply too low for you to care.

You know the water heater is going to be running during peak. No way around it. Peak hours run too late with progress. You have must assume that will be on, and no worry about trying to get around it. You should worry about appliances that you can GUARANTEE will not be used during peak, and make sure they arent run. If they get run once, its likely they'll bump your demand factor, so at that point you might as well run them whenever you want.

Am I making sense?


[Edited on April 6, 2010 at 4:55 PM. Reason : .]

4/6/2010 4:54:05 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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pretty much with the TOU-D it doesn't matter whether you run stuff on or off peak, it just matters how much shit you have running at once

4/6/2010 5:22:38 PM

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ROLLPACK
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^^cool that's helpful information...it's apparently all about the demand factor, and avoiding a large one by no pulling too much power at any one time during peak hours.

4/6/2010 5:23:35 PM

CarZin
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Neuse, perfectly summarized...

4/6/2010 9:50:43 PM

wahoowa
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im following this thread with interest....to get on the TOU-D plan I need to call progress energy and specifically ask for it?

4/6/2010 10:12:42 PM

eleusis
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I miss the good old days when you could just run out the adjustment screw on your induction wheel meter and reduce your meter reading by 10-20%.

4/6/2010 11:13:48 PM

CarZin
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wahoowa: Yes. But before you get it, you really need to get an idea what your demand factor is and run some numbers. This is definitely not going to work for everyone, and may end up costing you more money if you jump into this without some calculations...

4/7/2010 9:27:15 AM

wahoowa
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ok so the easiest way to calculate the demand factor is to write down the number on the meter, turn on everything that will draw power for 15 min, then check the meter number again and find the difference?

oh and I have a gas water heater, gas cooking, and a gas heating system....does this mean I wont save much by switching to this plan?

[Edited on April 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM. Reason : a]

4/7/2010 9:56:04 AM

CarZin
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That is how I measured my demand factor. I was actually on the high side.

As to your gas... I am on gas water heater, and was on a gas only HVAC (not dual fuel). Having a gas water heater is great, because even though it doesnt take a tremendous amount of electricity, it will add to your demand factor. Its a big benefit having that one item on gas. As far as your heating, it will mean during the winter months, you wont save much on TOU-D.

You need to calculate your average energy use. If it is under the 1200-1300 KwH per month average, this plan may cause you grief. If it is above, its almost a slam dunk.

4/7/2010 10:08:46 AM

TKE-Teg
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This is slightly off topic, but here's a question: If I just have standard electrical service is it all the same rate, or does it vary by peak/offpeak times? At the moment my roommates and I usually don't run the W/D or dishwasher except at night. Is this pointless?

TOU+D sounds great but I don't think it'd work well with 2-3 people living together. If one person screws up and exceeds the demand then they're gonna want everyone to split the hit despite the fact that one person screwed up and they should deal with it.

4/7/2010 12:42:04 PM

HaLo
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^ standard electrical service is one rate for any time of usage. this thread is talking about PEs time of use program which is what you're talking about. read Carzin's posts in this thread. he really knows what he is talking about and has made it rediculously easy to understand.

4/7/2010 12:46:45 PM

TKE-Teg
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^thanks for the answer. Also, I already read the entire thread, including the super long posts

4/7/2010 12:53:27 PM

ncstatetke
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well shucks, i'm gonna start doing my laundry at noon now

4/7/2010 12:53:33 PM

CarZin
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Quote :
"I had to call in and ask to be put on the TOU. They came out and installed a new meter (snag #1: "Your new meter will be installed on xx/xx/xxxx". Next bill comes, and we're still on the residential billing schedule. I call up: "Oh, you need a new meter for that!" You mean like the one that was supposedly installed on xx/xx/xxxx? "I see no record of that. I'll send someone out to install your new meter"). That was it."


I actually missed this and have some good personal experience to share...

When I asked to be switched over to TOU-D, they told me they would switch out the meter and put me on the new plan during the next meter reading (this is of course after telling me its unlikely I would save me any money, most people switch back, and did I really think this was wise?). I said great. Next meter reading passes, I go outside and see my new shiney meter. I learned how to read the face to find my on-peak/off peak/demand factor numbers. All month long I was calculating my bill. I determined that with Residential service, my bill would have been $260. With TOU-D, It would have been $165.

The bill comes... $260!!! I called, and the rep said "They installed the meter one day after the meter install, we will not adjust your bill to TOU-D, and you can suck us sideways..."

I called the Utilities Commisioner Office. Took 5 minutes to tell them what was up. 2 hours later I get a call from Progress stating they were going to fix my bill.

It felt good.

4/7/2010 1:15:00 PM

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ROLLPACK
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Quote :
"If it is under the 1200-1300 KwH per month average, this plan may cause you grief."


can you explain this a little more, or did i miss it in one of your earlier posts?

4/7/2010 7:24:30 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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did the rep actually say "you can suck us sideways"?

cause it would be pretty stupid to put quotation marks around something that isn't a direct quote

4/7/2010 9:28:45 PM

hondaguy
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Quote :
"can you explain this a little more, or did i miss it in one of your earlier posts?"


the less energy you use, the less you will save from the reduced rates. As your consumption decreases, the amount you save from the reduced rate is negated by the increased cost from the demand factor.

If you look at the equations he posted above and assume that the demand factor only goes down to about 8 ish, then a total consumption of about 1000 kwh would give you about the same bill.


The basic difference in TOU and TOU-D is that TOU is good if you need to use high amounts of energy in short periods of time but can keep almost all of your consumption to off peak hours. TOU-D is good if you need to use energy during peak hours but can spread it out so you have a relatively flat usage and not something with a lot of ups and downs.

[Edited on April 7, 2010 at 10:33 PM. Reason : ]

4/7/2010 10:29:04 PM

eleusis
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it would have been awesome if the sales rep called back and said "We're changing your bill to the TOU-D rate. We're also replacing the fuse on the transformer serving your house with a 1K rated fuse so that your power goes out every time your heat pump turns on."

4/7/2010 10:36:24 PM

CarZin
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They really were rude about it. They missed the install date, and it was costing me $100. The lady was actually quite rude about it, and she did say that there is nothing they can do about it. It was fun getting it read again.

4/7/2010 11:29:27 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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[Edited on April 7, 2010 at 11:42 PM. Reason : i'm gonna bite my tongue and be nice]

4/7/2010 11:31:45 PM

CarZin
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Thanks, so much

4/8/2010 9:07:44 AM

OmarBadu
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bttt

7/10/2011 2:21:14 AM

CalledToArms
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CarZin, you did a good job of summing up the TOU/TOU-D. I've never found it to be beneficial for me but I agree with what you said.

However, just out of curiosity, I have to ask how you use so much energy per month. I noticed you mentioned an electric car earlier, are you charging one of those at home frequently? It seems like you have updated your major appliances to efficient equipment and I assume along with that you have programmable thermostats. Maybe my wife and I are just weird but we average a lot less energy every month and I don't feel like we are a-typical users.

7/10/2011 8:35:48 AM

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