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If you’re like most people, you probably use electricity when it’s most convenient. It can seem easier to run the dishwasher right after dinner or do a load of laundry on a Saturday afternoon. But often, the most convenient times to use electricity—in the afternoon and evening—happen to be when the most demand is placed on the electrical grid (around 5pm is typically the highest). The grid is a system of generating stations that produce electricity for customers. When demand on the grid is high, two things happen:

  • the cost of electricity goes up
  • the grid has to get power from less efficient sources, with extra fossil fuels burned to generate the same amount of electricity

So even if you are on a plan that seems environmentally friendly, electricity used during peak hours, it is still likely coming from less efficient sources.

But what if there are some simple changes you can make? That dishwasher that you run after dinner? Wait to turn it on before you go to bed. Start the laundry a few hours later. For every appliance you unplug during peak hours, you can save up to 10 watts of energy, according to powertosave.org, meaning you could save up to $40 a year in electricity by simply unplugging 10 devices. Other ideas include:

  • Keeping lights off when not you are not using them (or even better, using timers or motion sensors)
  • Running your pool pump at night or in the early morning
  • Keeping fans off when you are not in the room

These are all simple changes you can make that save you money.

Most Texans are on fixed rate plans, which limits how much money they can save by making these simple changes. Fixed-rate plans are just like they sound—you pay the same rate per kWh no matter how much electricity you use, or when you use it. With a fixed-rate plan, using less electricity may lower your bill some, but you’re still probably paying near-peak-demand prices even during non-peak hours, meaning you can’t tap into extra savings.

But what if there was a plan that rewarded you for using electricity at off- peak hours by giving you a discount on your rate during those times? This is what is known in the industry as a “Time of Use” plan. You pay a lower kWh rate during low-demand times (such as the evening and morning), meaning you can enjoy extra savings that you can’t on a fixed rate plan. This is what we wanted and it’s why we created the Volt EP Signature Night and Day plan.

Sometimes even simple changes can reward you with big savings.