Time of Use Pricing

Our hydro company has very recently switched to Time of Use Pricing – the price of hydro is based on the day and time of use. There are peak, mid-peak and off-peak hours. Weekends are off-peak. I am excited about this change because our hydro bills are outrageous and I felt I had already done what I could to reduce our energy use. Until now.

Most people can’t win with Time of Use pricing. If you’re working all day, it’s hard to take advantage of off-peak hours. When you don’t have much time to do chores, you’d do them whenever it was convenient. The hydro company tries to smooth over the higher priced peak period by pointing out that 60% of the time is off-peak. True, but most of that off-peak time is during the week between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Not exactly the time I’d want to be doing laundry and baking if I worked all day.

I, on the other hand, can make good use of TOU pricing. I made a list of chores that should be done in off-peak hours, which includes all day on weekends.

  • use of the washing machine
  • use of the dryer (when we have to use it – the better alternatives are line-drying and indoor hang-drying)
  • baking and cooking
  • vacuuming
  • showers and dishes (our water heater is powered by hydro, though our furnace is gas)

I have been doing a load of diapers before we go to bed. In the morning, it’s ready to be hung on the line. All our other laundry is done on the weekend. I can also do the vacuuming on the weekend. I can’t expect us to wait until 10:00 p.m. to eat dinner, but I can wait until 7:00 p.m. and the slight discount of mid-peak pricing to use the oven and if I have any baking to do, that can also wait until the weekend.

Chores I can do during the peak period:

  • dusting
  • folding laundry, hanging laundry, changing linens
  • gardening
  • cleaning and organizing
  • sweeping hardwood floors
  • meal prep (i.e. slicing and dicing, marinating, etc.)

Considering the off-peak price of hydro is 53% less than the peak price, it makes sense to time our use of hydro whenever we can. Even pushing dinner back an hour will save 14%.

Do you have TOU pricing? Do you take advantage of it? What do you do to save on hydro?

2010 goals with April update!



Filed under Frugal Living, Work of the House

4 responses to “Time of Use Pricing

  1. We don’t have time of use pricing, but I think it would work to our benefit. We already do most of our laundry on the weekend and very little actually goes into the dryer. We have always run the dishwasher at night, it’s a habit I got into a long time ago when all dishwashers were really loud. I actually sleep better with the sound of the dishwasher running… goofy I know. It would be interesting to see how much we could save that way.

    • Canadian Home

      We don’t have a dishwasher, but I remember falling asleep to that sound when I was a kid! Also, the theme song to M*A*S*H!

  2. We have TOU pricing here as well. I got the paper insert with one of my bills and it sits on the fridge to remind me to only do laundry at night (after 9pm – Hannah sleeps at 11pm – I know, she’s a night owl!) or on weekends. I try to save the dishes for after 9 as well. I don’t like doing that as that means there are a billion and one dishes to do at the end of the day but I need to save my pennies as much as I can.

    We don’t use the dishwasher since it isn’t an energy efficient model. BOO 😦

    And when I’m at home by myself (when she goes to daycare twice a week) I take a shower during mid peak hours. LOL!

    Not sure how much we have saved as we only started about a month ago and haven’t seen the savings in our bills yet.

    How’s the change working out for you?

    • Canadian Home

      We don’t use a dishwasher either (unless you count ME as the dishwasher). My best chance at doing the dishes is first thing in the morning or while I make dinner, though I might have to switch to doing the dishes at off-peak hours, too.

      Splitting the chores into peak hour chores and off-peak hour chores is helping me, actually. It balances out the week better and I don’t feel guilty when I pick a “fun” chore like gardening during the day.

      It’s nice to know someone else is planning their day around hydro hours! Let me know if you come up with any other clever ways to make TOU work for us!

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