How to save on summer utility bills - East Valley Tribune: Business

How to save on summer utility bills

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Kathleen Mascareñas is a media relations representative with SRP, the third-largest public power utility in the country.

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 10:07 am

When Darcy Small’s 4-year-old twin daughters go off to college, they’ll have a stash of cash that came directly from savings on their family’s annual energy bill. The Small family moved from Oregon to Arizona a year ago and went from not using an air conditioner to having a summer bill that topped out at $600 a month. Small learned of the Salt River Project (SRP) Time-of-Day Price Plans and out of necessity signed up for SRP EZ-3.

“We were probably just like typical customers, running our air conditioner all day to keep it comfortable,” Small explained. “We then got an insert in our SRP bill about price plans, and our perception was, ‘I don’t want to be hot for three hours during the day.’ But then we gave it a try for one month, and we were sold.”

With high summer temperatures here, SRP is once again offering customers a guaranteed way to save money. The two Time-of-Day plans are designed to accommodate a variety of lifestyles and are popular with customers who can be flexible with energy usage. The more flexibility customers have, the more they can save.

“It’s actually quite easy once you figure out exactly how to do it. Some people clip coupons to save money; we use the EZ-3 plan,” Small added. “During the hotter months, our thermostat is set at 72 degrees during the day, which is most comfortable for us. At 1:30 p.m., the thermostat is set to go down to 62 degrees, and then at 3 p.m., it turns off. From 3 to 6 p.m., when energy prices are higher, the air conditioner doesn’t run. So by 6 p.m., it’s usually 79 degrees, which is starting to get a bit warm, but then it kicks back down to 72 degrees.”

SRP Time-of-Day plans offer lower prices during off-peak hours to encourage people to use less energy during on-peak hours, when the cost to produce electricity is highest.

“We know modifying energy usage takes a certain level of commitment so we offer a 90-day risk-free guarantee so customers can sample our EZ-3 or SRP Time-of-Use programs,” added Debbie Kimberly, SRP director of customer programs and marketing.

From now through Oct. 31, if you make the switch and your first three utility bills are higher than what you would have paid on the Basic Plan, SRP will credit the difference and switch you back to your original plan — at no charge.

“It’s the easiest money you will ever save,” Small boasted. “Give it a try for one month, and I can almost guarantee you won’t go back to the regular plan. The extra money goes straight into our children’s college accounts … That’s about $500 every year. So over 18 years, it’s a pretty decent college fund. It’s the easiest money you will ever save.”

Kathleen Mascareñas is a media relations representative for SRP, the nation’s the third-largest public power utility, serving more than 950,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

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