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Know Your Bills

I recently switched electricity providers. As a good researcher, I made sure I knew all about the product details, including limitations and benefits.

One of the biggest benefits was my electricity plan came with ‘Peak’, ‘Shoulder’ and ‘Off-peak’ rates. This was a great perk for me since I am the only person living in my apartment, meaning I could control at what times appliances were used and for how long.

The specific times (for my plan) are:

  • Peak (7am – 9am, 5pm – 8pm)
  • Shoulder (9am – 5pm, 8pm – 10pm)
  • Off-peak (10pm-7am)

Now, I know what you are going to say: “but I’m home mostly during the Peak times!” Don’t worry – so am I (the electricity companies engineer it this way). But that doesn’t mean my high energy usage appliances have to run at this time.

I can set my washing machine to begin at 6am (on a 1 hour wash cycle) and it will cost me half as much as it would if I put it on at 7am. This one hour difference saves me 50% in running costs! And all I have to do is push the ‘delay start’ button the night before.

When I am home during the week, I can still run my television and lights and such, but when it comes to washing clothes or using the clothes dryer I use a timer so they run at the off-peak times. Also, I take advantage of weekends to do my vacuuming during the ‘shoulder’ times (9am-5pm). I schedule my slow cooker for night time; 10pm-7am, as I will freeze the cooked meals anyway, I might as well run the appliance for half the cost.

This worked so well in theory. But what I didn’t take into account was the electricity company does not automatically put me on this plan, I have to specifically ask for it.

I found this out when I was issued with my first bill, and noticed I was charged the same rate no matter the time of day. I rang to query the bill, and they replied that I must tell them if I want to be charged at different rates.

So, keep an eye out. Know how you are charged, when you are charged, and at what rate you are charged.

It is your responsibility to know this information – you are the one with the most to lose if you don’t!


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