Getting paid to procrastinate – Cooperative members may have that choice

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Can you imagine getting paid for putting off doing the dishes or throwing in a load of laundry?

This might seem too good to be true, but it’s not. In October 2017, Basin Electric Class C member Capital Electric Cooperative headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota, began its Peak Time Rebate Program, where members can earn a rebate for reducing their electric use during “peak events” the co-op alerts them to each month.

Peak events tend to occur at times when many people are using a lot of electricity at the same time. So, in a sense, customers would get paid for waiting a couple hours to complete these energy-intensive household tasks.

For example, it’s a really hot summer day. You’ve been at work all day and the kids are at daycare, so you haven’t used much electricity at home. But around 5 p.m., you return home and the house feels hot and sticky so you turn down the temperature and let the air conditioner work its magic. Meanwhile, the kids are screaming that they’re hungry so you turn on the oven to cook dinner and the TV to watch the evening news. During a commercial you run to the laundry room to throw a load of clothes in the washing machine. An hour later, you load and run the dishwasher, transfer the clean clothes to the dryer, and notice the television is still on even though nobody is watching it and the lights are on in every room of the house because somebody forgot to turn them off.

Because this is a common scenario occurring in many households in Capital Electric’s service area, electric rates are being driven upward as a result of so many people are using nearly all their electricity at the same time.

Why does that matter? Don’t we just get charged for the amount of electricity we use? Find out why this is not necessarily the case by reading the full story in the Winter 2018 issue of Basin Today: Capital Electric program provides incentives to delay energy-intensive chores during peak events.

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