Time-based Pricing: New Rates, New Opportunities
In 2012, New Hampshire Electric Co-op (NHEC) will launch a two-year pilot program that studies the impact of time-based electric rates on
participating members' energy usage. Using technology made possible by the installation of specially enabled smart meters, some participating
members will be paying a lower electric rate during "off-peak" hours and a higher rate during "on-peak" hours.
All participating members will receive In-Home Displays (IHD), which are portable, wireless devices that display real-time electric usage
and pricing information. Pilot participants will use the IHD to help better manage their energy use and take advantage of the opportunity offered
by time-based rates to save energy and money.
What's a time-based rate?
In short, it's an electric rate that varies by time of day. At present, most Co-op members pay a standard kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate for their electricity,
no matter what time of day it's used. That rate is adjusted seasonally to account for changes in the cost of electricity, but it remains in effect for power
used round-the-clock during that period. A time-based rate varies daily between an "off-peak" rate that is lower than the standard kWh rate, and an "on-peak"
rate that is higher than the standard kWh rate.
What's the advantage?
By putting off or adjusting energy-intensive activities to off-peak hours (clothes washing, dish washing, air conditioning, electric water heating, etc.),
participating members can take advantage of lower rates and potentially save money. It's also good for the regional electric grid and, potentially, the environment.
Reducing electric demand during high-demand hours improves system reliability and reduces the need for additional power generation (and its associated emissions) in
order to meet a few hours of high regional demand.
Who was eligible to volunteer?
In order to participate in the Time-based Pricing Pilot program, you must have received an invitation from NHEC to volunteer. NHEC solicited program volunteers
from a pool of about 6,000 members whose new smart meters were installed and reporting electric usage data to NHEC headquarters via the Communications System
Infrastructure being built to support the new smart meters (learn more about NHEC's Smart Grid project here).
Members invited to volunteer are located in the Meredith and Plymouth areas.
At the end of the two-year pilot program, NHEC will assess the results and the experiences of participating members before deciding whether or not to offer a time-based
electric rate to the entire membership.