A reminder to check out your hourly usage data

A lot of us probably could stand to think a bit more about our electronic usage – it turns out that it’s really quite easy to do so. For all the bad rap that smart meters get, they really provide us with a great deal of information about how and when we use electricity. A quick review of my electrical usage reveals that most of my electricity and gas is used at night. Our house generally has good natural light in the rooms we spend the most time in and we have a radiant heat system that we only run at night, favoring retained heat during the morning and building thermal mass from the sun during the brightest part of the day. The exceptions are not, as I thought, the days I accidentally leave lights on but when we do laundry or run the dishwasher during the day. This is actually surprisingly easy to fix, by just putting laundry and dishes into the list of “late evening or early morning activities” (much like taking the trash out, etc.). Our house has a pool, but we have the filter pump set up to only run during “off peak” hours. My utility – PG&E – will calculate which rate is the cheapest based on 9 months of billing data – unfortunately we haven’t been in this house that long yet, but based on my review of our usage it very much seems in our best interest to switch to a time of use tariff – probably PG&E’s E6 tariff. I’ll do some math in the coming weeks and demonstrate the kind of savings we can expect as a result of using our hourly usage data to select the optimal rate structure for our household.
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One Comment

  1. AmyReardon
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I would also remind solar PV customers, large and small, to occasionally monitor system output to ensure their systems are performing optimally. There sometimes are cases where, for a variety of reasons, a system stops performing without the customer knowing. Also, there are cases in which the system is working but performance data is not being sent to the Performance Data Provider–and that means the system owner does not get their rebate check for the reporting period.

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