Clock sitting on window ledge

I’m not quite sure how many years I have been doing laundry but let it suffice to say – many! I have to admit that I have rarely, if ever, given a thought to what time I “throw in a load.” It might be while I am working from home or when I get home from a long day of meetings and even sometimes right before we start dinner so I can start drying and folding before the day is done.

Well, all of that is about to change because in January I am switching to Tucson Electric Power Company’s Residential Time of Use plan. Why? Two personal reasons for me: it will help reduce my monthly electricity bill and help do a tiny bit to preserve this great planet of ours. Before I made this decision to switch, I asked a very good friend how she and her family like it and if it requires big changes in habits. She loves it and said they adapted quite easily and now, because it’s been so many years, it’s now just a habit for all of them.

So how does it work? Simply put, the plan includes higher “on-peak” rates during periods when customers typically use the most power (like I pretty much have most of my life – after work) and lower “off-peak” rates the rest of the way. We, the customers, get rewarded for shifting our usage away from on-peak hours.

From where I sit, the advantages are many. I can have more control over my energy costs and have the ability to significantly reduce my monthly bill. No downside. Also important to me is the fact that by switching to this plan, I will be doing my part to reduce the demand on the electric grid, especially during peak usage periods. This, in turn, promotes more efficient use of our overall energy resources and could actually help limit future rate increases.  Translation: I am being a better steward of the planet.

In the back of your mind, are you asking about the disadvantages? I know I was. If I enroll in the plan and use lots of power during on-peak hours, my energy costs could actually increase. I know that I have got to change some habits, inform other family members to do the same and then stick to the plan!

And even though the biggest shift I need to make to realize the biggest savings are the washer and dryer, TEP offers more suggestions on what we can do to beat the peak (so to speak). Here are their suggestions:

  • Operate washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers and other large appliances during off-peak hours.
  • Adjust your thermostat to reduce heating and cooling during on-peak hours or when you are not at home.
  • Install timers on electric water heaters and re-circulation pumps so they operate mainly during off-peak hours.
  • Set timers on pool and spa pumps to run during off-peak hours.
  • Turn off all but essential lights during on-peak hours.
  • Enjoy electricity-consuming hobbies during the off-peak hours.
  • If you have an electric vehicle, charge it during off-peak hours.

I admit I read all of the suggestions and have to familiarize myself with what those off-peak hours are, but I am not at all certain how I will address bullet number six outlined above. Which electricity-consuming hobbies might I enjoy during off-peak hours? HELP! If you read this all the way down, maybe you can post a comment here as to what those hobbies might be. Watching TV? LIstening to music? Playing the electric guitar? Mowing the lawn? (Full disclosure:  I have never mowed a lawn my entire life on this planet so that won’t be a big one.) I think it’s great that weekends and holidays are pretty much all considered off-peak, as Saturday still seems to be laundry day around our house, and while I am still primarily working from home, I can multitask and have a reason to get up from my desk more than I do now.

My call to action is one thing we can all do to start 2022 leaner, greener and friendlier to Mother Earth. Switch to Time of Use! You can read all about it here. And my final thought-provoking question is: wouldn’t it be kind of cool if a small group of us all committed to switching to time of use and THEN spreading the good green word about your steps to living a more sustainable life?

Let’s do this!

Gina Murphy-DarlingFrom about the age of five, Gina has been on the path of being a disruptor for good. A dreamer at heart, Gina is madly and passionately in love with this great planet of ours and is tireless in her efforts to preserve it.