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Monday, August 13, 2012

Saving money during Reduce Your Use days

Southern CA is no stranger to power outages. Even in June, I was hearing of rolling and scheduled brown outs in several towns near us. Recently, our power company (San Diego Gas and Electric) started a program where they will alert you to days that are expected to have higher than usual power draws and they request that you "Reduce your Use" on those days.  

Here is an excerpt from the press release in June:

"SAN DIEGO, June 6, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced the launch of Reduce Your Use day rewards. Starting this summer, most SDG&E residential and small business customers are eligible to earn a bill credit for using less electricity on specific days. These Reduce Your Use days may be called on hot summer days when energy demand is high and will last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Customers who are eligible for Reduce Your Use day rewards are encouraged to set up email or text alerts by visiting sdge.com/reduceuse so that they can be notified the day before a Reduce Your Use day occurs. This will enable customers to plan ahead and take steps to save the most energy and maximize their reward.           
SDG&E customers who respond by reducing their energy use from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Reduce Your Use days will see a credit of $0.75 per reduced kilowatt hour (kWh) on their next energy bill. Customers can log into My Account at sdge.com on Reduce Your Use days to view their conservation goal. The online tool will also display how much energy they used and saved during the Reduce Your Use day."
There was a one Reduce Your Use day in July and three so far in August due to the heat wave we are having.  On each of the Reduce your use days if you use less Kwh than your average expected use between 11AM and 6PM you will get a credit on your bill. EASY!!  So in July I tested it out and I didn't run the AC or do laundry or run the dishwasher between 11 and 6 on 7/20/2012 and I got a $4.50 credit on my bill.  

But the real test of my resolve to save money came this past week when the temperatures soared into the high 90s and the humidity was killer.  Could I put off running the AC during the hottest part of the day?  Well on thursday we went out to the coast with some friends for a playdate and when we got home the kids had baths and a nap so they weren't too miserably hot.  I still had to put on the AC by 5 but I had made it most of the day so I thought it was ok.  Friday, we headed over to the Y so I could work out and the kids went to the daycare there. I still had to do diaper laundry but I got it all washed and out in the sun to dry by 11. It was really hot by 4 so I had to turn on the AC.  On Saturday the kids had swim lessons in the morning and then napped for 4 hours (!!) when we got home.  I ran the AC from about 3-430 but then we left to head out to the Fair so off it went. In order to try and keep the house cool, I made sure to keep the house closed up as much as possible and keep the blinds closed on the side of the house where the sun was beating it. 

I thought we did pretty well conserving energy and luckily my efforts were handsomely rewarded!  Check out our energy use chart for the past week.  Disregard the temperature axis.  The real temp were in the 90s

Do you see our savings?  $27.75 in rewards in just three days of not using the AC!  Nice.  We are expecting another week of abnormally high temps here so maybe we'll have a few more of these Reduce Your Use days.  

How do you save energy?  Does your electric company offer these type of rewards for saving energy?

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