ConnectWith: Fellow co-op members saving energy and money
Members shift to time-of-use rates and save
The shift-to-save challenge
Sticky notes filled the Culler house with reminders about when to use and not use certain appliances when the family first began shifting their energy use to off-peak hours. Stacey Culler became increasingly aware of how much energy her family was using, and how much it was costing. A combination of social media posts, newsletter articles, monitoring their energy use with SmartHub and a visit to SYEMC’s Annual Meeting last year convinced her to make the switch to Shift to Save, the co-op’s time of use rate.
She had some concerns up front. Like most skeptics, she thought something was hidden in the fine print. “Could we really make a lifestyle change during those hours?” The real question was “Did I want to make the change and take the chance?”
“We laugh now because it really hasn’t been that big of an adjustment, other than remembering to do normal chores at night or early in the morning,” says Culler.
The Cullers also have an ecobee® smart thermostat that is programmed to adjust during peak hours.
“I thought our biggest challenge would be getting the whole family on board. Surprisingly, everyone has adjusted to the peak hours, and we spend more time together talking as a family,” says Culler. Their adjustment has been almost unnoticeable, since weekends and holidays are not included in the Shift to Save program.
“It’s like a challenge for us all to use less power and see how low we can go,” she says. “We saved $73 in our first month!” Her advice to others is to get everyone on board and compete. SmartHub and a smart thermostat are key. If all else fails, a small investment in a few sticky notes is definitely worthwhile.
Well worth the wait
Charles Nall waited more than 40 years for what he considers a practical plug-in electric vehicle (EV). Lack of battery technology has been the limiting factor until now. Experts predict that electric cars and plug-in hybrids could make up 35 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2040. In addition, 200-mile-range electric cars, like Nall’s Chevy Bolt, will eventually become the norm.
“The only disadvantage is charging on long trips,” says Nall. “But, this is not much of a concern if you plan your stops.” Many hotels have charging stations, like the Fairfield Inn in Elkin and Hampton Inn in Dobson. The Nalls’ 238-mile range is perfect for most of their trips. The Nalls decided to take a chance with SYEMC’s new EV time-of-use rate. “We adjusted easily,” says Nall. “We heat water during off-peak hours and still have plenty when we need it. We turn the dishwasher on at bedtime and, of course, charge the car during super off-peak hours (10 p.m. - 5 a.m., Monday - Friday).” They also adjust their thermostat accordingly.
The change was surprisingly easy for the Nalls. “We also discovered energy was being wasted in some ways,” says Nall.
“I was spending about $250 per month on gasoline,” he says. “I spend none now, and my electric bill has gone down. We are saving about $300 per month overall.” And the $500 rebate Nall received from SYEMC nearly paid for the charging unit he installed in his garage. Nall’s advice to others considering an EV is to go for a test drive and experience how fun they are to drive. He encourages others to “Give it a try! You may save money and help the environment with very little effort.” Whether you have an EV or not, SYEMC offers a time-of-use rate for you. Learn more about time-of-use rates at syemc.com/rates.