28 March 2012

Too early to think about summer?

Okay, it's only late March and we've already run our AC a few days. I don't know about you, but I'm already praying we don't have summer temps like we had last year! And even if we do, I plan on saving on my OG&E electric bill this summer!

Perhaps you've seen the ads on TV or the inserts with your monthly OG&E bill about SmartHours. Along with some other local bloggers, I am joining with them in reporting my personal experiences* with the SmartHours program. It's a energy saving and monitoring program (which can also save you some money!) in which you may enroll and runs from June through September. The idea is that there are peak and off-peak electricity usage hours over these months. Peak hours are between 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. weekdays. Not only are these the hours when more energy is used, it is also the time band in which we are charged more for that power. There is a higher strain on production then so they charge more. Conversely, off-peak production comes at a lower cost per kilowatt hour. (I find myself using the words electricity, energy, and power to mean the same thing. They may technically mean three separate things, but until I learn otherwise, they're all the same to me!)

We enrolled a couple of weeks ago and are scheduled to have our NEW SmartTemp thermostats installed this Friday. I'm excited to have a thermostat I get to learn from the beginning. We have a programmable thermostats that came with the house, but I've never really gotten the knack of them, and probably actually defeat their settings. We are getting two because we have two separate heat/AC units/zones.

Our real-time usage and month's projection
Enrolling also gives us immediate access to MyOGEPower, reports on energy usage, as well as suggestions to reduce usage. What's interesting to me is that through our Smart Meter (the outside one that's been out there for some time—I have no recollection of how long ago or when it went in), I can see reports on many different aspects of power usage. I can see how our usage compares to others in my neighborhood; receive hourly meter update readings; see what our baseload (always on) usage is; projected bill for the month; and so forth.

I also think there may be misconceptions about the program and thermostats. YOU, the customer, retain all control over how much and when you use your power. 'Big Brother' does not make you swelter on 100˚+ days with no AC between 2:00 and 7:00. You are, however, given information and suggestions on how you may use less through those peak hours when fuel costs are higher. OG&E is going to charge you more during the peak hours anyway. Why not learn to use your energy more advantageously to control your costs?

I'm discovering more each time I delve into the information and invite you to join me on the journey, both in reading about my experiences, or signing up yourself and sharing YOUR experiences with me! For all sorts of information, testimonials, and check your enrollment eligibility, go to the SmartHours (click) info page and/or download the PDFs below!

Helpful links:

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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