|This year we pay 8 cents/kWh off peak, 15 cents mid peak, and 20 cents on peak.|
The cost of grid electricity is going up everywhere. Many jurisdictions in North America estimate rates will increase by 50% over the next few years. Converting to carbon-free methods of electricity generation could push that increase even higher. It is a good time to be able to save money on power.
The best way to save money on grid electricity is to not use it. Conservation methods such as adequate insulation, reducing drafts, using heating and cooling systems less, and using more efficient appliances all save money by using less electricity.
Another way to save money is to pay less for the electricity you use. Many utilities offer Time Of Day electric metering. It allows you to pay less for electricity during non-peak load times of the day when generation costs less.
Since we contacted our electric utility to sign on to the Time Of Day (TOD) program, weekends have been a busy time for us. Our cost of electricity on the weekend is half of what it would be without the program, so this is when we conduct activities that use a lot of power.
That means that on weekends we plan for a lot of cooking and baking. It is much more efficient to do several continuous hours of baking rather than reheating the oven to bake things separately over several days.
Yesterday I rolled Linda into the kitchen for a day of co-cookery. It is nice spending a day in a warm kitchen together making yummy foods that will keep our internal furnaces functioning.
We started by baking four loaves of whole wheat bread (one was a raisin/cinnamon loaf). The bread came out to cool on the counter, and a tray of breakfast bars went into the already warm oven. We made enough of these cookie recipe based granola bars to last us a couple of weeks.
Each bar is loaded with germ, bran, oats, raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, sesame and sunflower seeds, flax and whole wheat flower. We prefer these over store-bought granola bars which are always expensive, too sweet, containing dubious ingredients and excessive packaging.
By this time the baking smells were making us hungry, so when the breakfast bars came out, two pizzas went in. One we ate right away, the next saved for the following day.
After the pizza we used the still hot oven to bake a beautiful butternut squash that was a fall gift from a friends garden. 30 minutes later it was done, cooling on the counter. We will use it this week to make a nice, body-warming soup.
In addition to cooking and baking, weekends are also for doing laundry and showering, both high power activities. We will also use this low cost power time to freeze some of the food that we make on the weekend. We will plan to eat that food during times of the day and week when power is most expensive.
Now it is Monday morning, and we are in shut down. During December, January and February we pay extra for electricity between 7 am and noon, and 4pm and 11pm. During these times we try to use as little electricity as possible. It is a good time to power down and take a rest from the busy weekend.
That means Monday morning is a time to snuggle under a blanket and read a book, or go for a walk, have a nap, or write letters by hand. Playing Scrabble takes no electricity at all. Neither does the shoe repair project that has been haunting me for months.
It looks like it will be a busy week, but not just yet.