Energy Talks: 3 Ways to Save Money with Time-Of-Use Rates

This July 2021, most CleanPowerSF and PG&E residential customers will transition to a Time-of-Use rate plan. A Time-of-Use Rate plan means that when you use electricity matters just as much as how much energy you use.

On a TOU rate plan, you are charged a higher rate for energy during “peak” hours from 4-9 p.m., every day. You receive lower-cost electricity during “off-peak” hours, which are all other hours of the day.

CleanPoweSF Utility Specialist and Energy Savings Expert, Justin Pine, joined us to share his top three tips for how households can save money on a TOU rate plan. 

CleanPoweSF Utility Specialist and Energy Savings Expert, Justin Pine.

“Think about simple changes you can realistically commit to. Don’t worry about doing everything on the list, instead think about how you can integrate some of these tips into your daily routine,” shared Pine. “My boyfriend and I walk our dog Duke every evening around the same time. Since we usually get home around 9 p.m., we make it a habit to run any laundry and dishes right when we get home. We put the dog leash away and then hit start!”

Justin Pine (left) and his boyfriend Steven on a hike with their dog Duke.
4 to 9 arrow with lightning bolt.
  1. Power down from 4 – 9 p.m. 

You can save money by making a few simple changes to use less energy from 4 – 9 p.m. when you are charged the peak rate. This doesn’t mean you cannot use any energy during these hours, but you can shift your habits to use less by: 

  • Recharging While You Sleep: Charge your phone, computer, headphones, and other electric-powered devices right before you go to sleep. You will wake up to a full battery! 
  • Holding Off On Chores: Do your laundry and run your dishwasher either during the day (before 4 p.m.) or hit start right before you go to sleep.
  • Pre-Cooling & Pre-Heating: Keep your home temperature comfortable by setting your thermostat to pre-cool or pre-heat outside of peak hours.

Check out this Energy Cost Comparison Factsheet to see the average monthly cost of running various household appliances on peak vs. off-peak rates.

2. Make it a No-Brainer with Timer Settings

Many of the appliances we use at home that use the most energy, such as dishwashers and clothes drying machines, already have built in timers and “delay-start” settings. Program your machines so that when you hit “start,” they wait to run until you are outside of peak hours. 

Don’t have a timer setting? Load up your dishwasher or clothes dryer and hit “run” right before you go to sleep. Set your phone alarm if you need a reminder!

3. Take Advantage of Free Energy Savings Programs 

There are resources available to help you save money and energy. Here are a few of our top recommendations: 

  • BayRENHome+: Free home energy kits and rebates on appliances and other home energy improvements.
  • LIHEAP: Home weatherization and bill assistance for low income customers.
  • PG&E Marketplace: Rebates on energy efficient appliances and smart thermostats

Want to learn more? Check out this recent webinar Pine hosted with PG&E on the TOU Rate Plan Transition.