If you’ve ever heard a parent or family member refer to “peak time” or “peak hours,” you might be wondering what they’re talking about and why they’re stressed. Like keeping doors closed to avoid “cooling the whole neighborhood,” lowering electricity usage during on-peak hours can help save money.
But when are peak hours and how is that determined?
Energy demand on the electrical grid
First we have to explain demand. We use this term to describe when electricity is in high, or “peak,” demand.
Imagine this: Your kids get home from school around 3 p.m. and you get home from work around 5 p.m. As everyone arrives home, lights come on, technology and appliances get used and your AC is running at full blast to meet the cooling needs of the hottest part of the day. Scenarios like this are happening in homes all around the Valley at the same time, and the result is peak demand.
As you might imagine, the demand for electricity changes throughout the day. During the average weekday, many people live on similar schedules and use energy at the same time. Summer heat is also a major factor when it comes to energy use in Arizona. Meanwhile, mass amounts of electricity can’t be easily stored. Energy is generated, transmitted and distributed as needed.
If you’re not on a time-of-use price plan, you may not even think about these “on peak” energy usage hours, as you pay the same price for electricity regardless of when you use it. However, the cost of producing electricity does change based on the time of day and the demand from the community at large.
To make up for this additional usage all at once, SRP relies on backup generation resources to meet the needs of homes in our service area.
Price plan incentives
With time-of-use price plans, we offer lower prices during off-peak hours and higher prices during on-peak hours. The SRP Electric Vehicle Price Plan™ even has super off-peak hours for electric vehicle (EV) charging overnight. The goal of these plans is to spread out demand for electricity, which is a win-win for SRP and our customers.
Here’s how: When customers use less energy during the highest-demand hours of the day, they save money on their energy bills. It’s a win for SRP because it decreases the likelihood that we’ll have to bring another power plant online during periods of peak demand. This creates efficiency, saves our customers money and helps the environment.
It’s important to be familiar with the on- and off-peak hours of your specific plan so you can maximize your savings. These hours also change from the winter to summer. You can always view the details of your price plan by logging in to your account.