My Sunday column is about Baltimore Gas and Electric's "time of use" plan, which gives discounts if you burn kilowatts late at night rather than at dinnertime, or on holidays and weekends rather than primetime on weekdays. If you're careful and motivated, you could save $200+ a year by signing up for TOU. Especially if you have electric heat and aren't home during the daytime on weekdays.
The column compares a few prices: Summer, off-peak kilowatts are 22 percent cheaper for time-of-use customers than the summertime, round-the-clock price that everybody else pays. In non-summer months TOU customers get an 11 percent discount on off-peak juice compared with what non-TOU folks pay. Etc.
(These are discounts off your COMBINED BGE electricity generation, transmission and distribution cost, even though the generation charge is the main thing that gets substantially reduced. Transmission and distribution charges are also lower for TOU customers, but TOU customers pay an extra customer charge of $4.50 a month ($12 vs. $7.50). The extra customer charge wipes out the transmission & distribution savings -- it's basically a wash -- so the main action is in the generation discounts.)
Here are the numbers behind the numbers, if you're into doing further calculations or seeing the basis for my conclusions. The information is from BGE's rate schedule that starts July 1. The current schedule on BGE's Web site is for June prices, which are close to the July prices but do not reflect a small transmission-charge increase that starts in July. That's why these figures are slightly different than prices posted earlier on the blog. These are the latest rates:
REGULAR BGE PLAN, used by 1 million households:
Total, round-the-clock price per kilowatt-hour, June through September: 13.757 cents
This includes: Generation, 10.992 cents. Transmission, 0.395 cents. Distribution, 2.37 cents.
Total, round-the-clock price/kwh, October through May: 12.901 cents.
This includes: Generation, 10.136 cents. Transmission, 0.395 cents, Distribution, 2.37 cents.
The price to compare for the regular BGE plan, which is the average, year-round (blends the seasonal prices above) generation/transmission use per kwh, is 10.85 cents. Add 2.37 cents for distribution to get the total cost: 13.22 cents/kwh.
BGE TIME OF USE PLAN, used by 90,000 or 100,000 households:
Total price per kilowatt hour, June through September:
Peak (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays): 18.158 cents
Intermediate (7.am. to 10 a.m., 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays): 11.612 cents.
Off-peak (weekends, holidays and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays): 10.364 cents.
Total price per kilowatt hour, October through May:
Peak (7 a.m. to 11 a.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays): 14.743 cents.
Intermediate (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays): 12.965 cents
Off-peak (weekends, holidays and 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays): 11.128 cents
All these TOU prices include distribution cost of 1.97 cents/kwh and transmission cost of 0.369 cents/kwh. To get the generation price just subtract 2.339 cents (1.97 + 0.369 = 2.339) from the total.
As noted, TOU customers pay an extra monthly fee of $4.50, which shaves some of the savings on TOU prices compared with the round-the-clock regular prices quoted here. In other words, you'll see that the TOTAL summertime price for off-peak kilowatts, as quoted above, is 25 percent less than the summertime, round-the-clock price that everybody else pays (13.757 cents vs. 10.364 cents) -- not 22 percent as the column says. But when you factor in the $4.50 it knocks it down.