DETROIT – Energy prices are soaring, and you probably notice it on your utility bills which is why DTE is launching a new effort that can help you save, but it depends on when you do things like laundry or the dishes. It’s all centered around the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
If you’ve picked up the mail lately, you will likely receive one of those time-of-day rates notices.
It basically tells you to set the thermostat at one temperature, and leaving it all day may not make the most financial sense for you in the future.
Gwen Ald of Dearborn lives in a stately old bungalow that’s classic and sturdy, but she says it’s pretty leaky regarding energy efficiency.
The wall switches are ornate. The freezer was full, and the air conditioner was waiting for the hot weather.
“Any time you get a raise, it’s pretty significant, so it’s something that will be hard for a lot of people to take,” said Ald.
Technically it’s not a price hike.
Michigan’s Public Service Commission asked the state’s utilities to tell customers more clearly what gets charged and, more importantly, when.
You’re currently paying between 16.9 and 18.6 cents per kilowatt hour. From October to May, between 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the rate will stand at 16.75 cents per kilowatt hour. The rate drops to 15.45 cents per kilowatt hour for the day.
Between June and September, the 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. rate jumps to 20.98 cents in the summer heat.
“Twenty hours a day and then all weekend for all year long, you have a fixed rate which is lower than our current rate, and then what we’re trying to reflect from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. is the most expensive to generate power,” said DTE President, CEO Trevor Lauer.
For Ald and her family, it’s a manageable ask considering they already have a programmable thermostat that she controls from her cell phone app.
“For four hours out of the day, if we can turn it down, if we can turn it after seven, we can start getting the temperature lowered so we can sleep better,” Ald said.
So, doing laundry, running the dishwasher or the pool pump, should you have one, all those kinds of high-energy activities are best reserved for hours other than the afternoon.
If not, well, it’s going to get expensive.