How to Take Control of Your Energy Bills

Tips that families can use to take charge of energy bills, all year round. Readers living in California and are PG&E electric customers, be sure to learn about PG&E’s Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4-9 p.m. Every Day) rate plan! Sponsored post

If you’re like me, your entire family is home right now – all day, every single day. And that can lead to some higher-than-usual utility bills!

Fortunately, there are some ways you can take control of those bills!

Simple Ways to Take Control of Utility Bills

In my house, we have up to six Zoom calls going at any moment right now. School for the kids, plus music lessons and catching up with friends who they can’t see in person. Work meetings for Mike, and I’m teaching distance learning middle school music classes.

Add in extra lights, and more dishes with everyone eating all of their meals at home, plus needing to keep the house comfortably warm (or cool, depending on the month) all day every day, and it’s all too easy to eat up electricity.

It’s a good thing there are ways to take more control over energy use!

I already wrote up our favorite energy saving hacks, but now there is another way to save!

Introducing PG&E’s Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4-9 p.m. Every Day) Rate Plan

This year, PG&E is transitioning eligible customers to a Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4-9 p.m. Every Day) residential electric rate plan where WHEN you use electricity matters. This is part of a multi-year, statewide effort to create a cleaner energy future for California.

Learn All About PG&E’s Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4-9 p.m. Every Day) Rate Plan

Why? Because it matters! In all sorts of ways.

Paying attention to when and how we use electricity allows us to take advantage of California’s clean, renewable energy during off-peak hours when it is most plentiful on the grid and lower-priced.

On this Time-of-Use rate plan, electricity prices are lower for 19 hours a day during non-peak hours, when renewable energy sources (like solar and wind power) are more readily available.

And remember, following this rate plan encourages a more earth-friendly way to consume electricity!

Will It Help Me Manage My Bill?

Try it to find out! PG&E is offering eligible customers who automatically transition Bill Protection for the first 12 months on this rate plan. If you end up paying more on this rate plan than you would have on your old rate plan, PG&E will credit you the difference. You can still change your rate plan at any time.

When Is the Best Time to Run Appliances?

Running appliances in the morning and mid-day is cleaner and costs less. This is because renewable energy sources like wind power and solar power are more plentiful during the morning and mid-day. So all of those Zoom school sessions run on cleaner, less expensive power!

Late afternoon and early evening – from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day – is peak time. This is the more expensive and the less earth-friendly time of day to use electricity! It’s a high demand time of day, and renewable energy sources are less likely to be available during these hours.

Help keep our earth clean and control your bills as you reduce usage by turning off lights, computers, and TVs that aren’t necessary. Try not to run large appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer during this time period.

Which Appliances Use More Electricity?

These six appliances tend to use a lot of electricity, and so are some of the best choices to avoid running during peak time:

  • Dishwasher
  • Electric Oven
  • Electric Heating and Cooling (A/C)
  • Lighting
  • Electric Clothes Dryer
  • Television and Gaming Systems

Peak time ends at 9 p.m., so you can just delay hitting that start button for a couple hours and then run your laundry or dishwasher overnight.

Remember to turn off lights, appliances, TVs, and computers when they are not being used – no matter the time of day! The savings really do add up, and this is another earth-friendly move!

When Can I Make the Switch?

PG&E started transitioning eligible residential customers in October 2020. This transition will continue with about 2.5 million PG&E customers through early 2022. Additionally, customers can try out this rate plan at any time. Learn more about the transition to Time-of-Use at pge.com/toutransition.

What If I Don’t Use PG&E?

PG&E has partnered with most Community Choice Aggregators throughout Northern and Central California to transition their customers at the same time. If you receive your electricity from another utility provider, many also now have Time-of-Use rate plan options for you to choose from.

Do I Have to Switch?

No. This is a choice you get to make. Customers can keep their existing tiered (E-1) plan. They can also select an alternative plan, including other Time-of-Use options or electric vehicle plans. PG&E customers can change their preferred rate plan any time by calling 1-866-743-7945, or by visiting this site.

Why Is PG&E moving customers to Time-of-Use rate plans in California?

As part of a multi-year, statewide effort to create a cleaner energy future for California, PG&E will move approximately 2.5 million eligible customers to a Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4-9 p.m. Every Day) rate plan. California leads the nation in generating clean energy from solar, wind, and other non-polluting sources. By following the PG&E Time-of-Use rate plan, California residents increase the state’s use of clean energy, creating a healthier environment for everyone.

More Ways to Save on Electricity

PG&E also offers a couple of other tools that can help you save even more energy.

Learn How You Use Energy in Your Home

PG&E offers a bill comparison tool that allows you to see exactly how you are using energy at home. You can compare your bills by month, and see hourly energy use. This tool also helps you understand how your usage changes with weather and temperatures, as well as with peak and off-peak usage.

Run a Home Energy Checkup

Answer a few simple questions online about how you use energy to receive a personalized savings plan.

What are your best strategies for lowering utility bills?

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

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