Updated: Apr 28, 2020
If you pay an electric bill in Colorado, there is a good chance that your utility is Xcel Energy, which serves over 3.4 million customers across Colorado and neighboring states. On January 1st, 2020 the utility company sent an email to its customers stating that beginning permanently on January 1st 2021, all Xcel customers will be billed using it’s Time of Use Billing program.
Time of Use Billing (TOU) is a method of utility billing that charges higher electricity rates during periods of time with higher demand. Xcel is currently slated to increase electricity prices between 3 PM and 7 PM. The Utility tested the program during the summer of 2019, which left many customers who were unaware of the changes with increased electricity bills. Many other utilities such as IREA, PVREA, and United Power are testing TOU metering. Residents in Fort Collins saw an average bill increase of 25% to 30% during the city's TOU billing period.
So what is the best way to lower your electric bill? Decrease electricity use during peak hours and go solar.
As a reaction to TOU metering, many consumers began reducing their electricity usage during peak hours, so as to not increase their electric bill. Homes with solar panels were able to save the most money, as the panels produced energy during peak hours, resulting in a lower net meter reading. According to Xcel’s November 2019 Stakeholder Evaluation, tests for the Time of Use Metering program reduced electricity consumed by those with solar panels by 30% during peak hours and resulted in lower annual bills. The report also shows decreased consumption during shoulder periods and weekend hours.
Save the most on solar by getting a quote from a local solar company.