Combating, Evergy Rate Increase: Evergy’s new Time-Based Energy Plans?
Evergy has recently published its looming time-based billing plans. These plans are currently for Missouri Evergy customers only. The concept is that they are not able to produce enough energy for their customers during peak times, considered June through September, 4 PM to 8 PM as those times. They currently purchase this extra power from other co-ops and sell it to us at a lower price than what they pay for it. This obviously cannot continue. The time-based concept is not a new idea; it is currently being done all over the country.
It’s just new to our area. To be perfectly honest, it was bound to happen to us at some point, and it will continue to spread around our region and our country. Our pocketbooks are being attacked from all sides, and it feels like there is no end in sight. The US Department of Energy states that 40% of energy usage is on indoor comfort appliances. This article focuses on the plans being offered and a wide range of ideas to help combat inefficiencies in our home that increase our usage and thus our bills.
Time Based Energy Plan Options: Information Directly from Evergy
Standard Peak Saver
New default residential rate plan
Under this rate, the time of day you use energy affects your bill. Customers who can reduce energy usage during summer (June-Sept.) peak hours of 4-8 pm on weekdays should consider this rate plan. Customers who shift energy usage to off-peak times on weekdays in the summer are rewarded with discounted rates.
Avoid peak hours on summer weekdays and pay about 2/3 less
The Standard Peak Saver plan features two time periods in the summer from June-Sept. (peak and off-peak)— then two time periods the rest of the year (off-peak and super off-peak).
To avoid paying a higher price for energy during the summer peak period, it’s smart to shift energy usage to mornings, overnight or weekends from June-Sept. The peak price occurs only during the summer months and is about four times as much as the off-peak rate.
Peak Reward Saver
Closest to the current standard residential rate plan.
This rate is the closest to Evergy’s current standard residential rate and has the lowest difference in price between peak hours and off-peak hours. This rate is not seasonal and applies all year. Customers who are not able to easily shift the time they use energy should consider this rate plan
All day, every day prices (with small differences between peak and off-peak times)
Customers get a set rate most of the day, plus earn bill discount credits for electricity used overnight. This plan has a small increase in price from 4-8 pm on energy every day, so minimiz ing heavy energy usage during the peak time-period will help reduce your bill.
Nights & Weekends Saver
Three time periods, overnight and weekend discount
Pay a lower price for energy during off-peak times and on weekends. It’s as easy as shifting energy use away from 4-8 pm to save.
This plan is designed for those who can make a larger effort to shift their energy use to over night hours or weekends to avoid the higher prices during peak times. This means you can save more if you’re avoiding peak times.
Nights & Weekends Max Saver
Three time periods, largest difference in price.
This plan is a whole-home rate plan created with electric vehicle (EV) drivers in mind who want to save even more on vehicle charging without having to have an electrician install a second meter. BUT you don’t have to have an EV to save.
Lower prices most of the day, with the highest peak price and overnight discount
To avoid paying a higher price for energy during peak periods, it’s smart to shift energy use to mornings, overnight or weekends all-year-round with this plan. Peak prices occur all year (instead of just the summer months) with this plan, which also means savings opportunities all year if you’re able to shift energy use to avoid peak times.
This plan is created specifically for electric vehicle (EV) drivers who want to save more. You get big discounts when you charge at home outside of high demand times (when electricity is more costly to produce).To take advantage of this special plan, be aware that some significant steps are required, including home electrical work that must be completed at your cost.
A separate EV meter used only for vehicle charging must be installed in your home. While installation of the EV meter is free, a licensed electrician must perform necessary wiring work and install a new meter-can before Evergy can install your secondary meter. The cost of this electrician work is paid by the customer. Unfortunately, it is not possible to estimate the cost of this work since it varies depending on your home’s electrical setup.
An inspection is required; Evergy will not install your separate EV meter until the electrician’s work has passed city and/or county inspections.This process may take weeks to months to complete and be aware that several home visits will be necessary.Once these steps are completed, you can take advantage of this Separately Metered EV Time of Use plan. Be aware that the rest of your home’s energy usage will be on a different plan of your choosing.
One last consideration when making this decision.
The first and most obvious consideration is to know the most expensive and least expensive times for energy usage according to the plan that you choose. It is a really good idea to choose the plan that best suits your current habits. Wait to pick. This program is a June through September program. If you select today, you start your new plan today. If you delay the choice and let the default take over, it will be after the plan period, and thus you will delay the rate hike. You can change plans whenever you want, so there is no benefit to choosing early.
There is no question that none of us like having our electric rates increased again or having our electric bill increase. However, there may be a silver lining in this storm cloud coming. Currently, our peak demand exceeds what Evergy is capable of producing.
So, they HAVE to buy electricity from other co-ops in order to fill the demand for electricity during peak periods. Reducing our demand for electricity during peak hours slows down the timeframe for which they must build another power plant. Another plant would be very costly, and those costs would surely be passed on to all Evergy customers.
Behavior is not easily changed; it usually takes a pain point that no one likes. This could be the pain point that ultimately changes our behavior enough to start considering greener solutions, and activities that limit our electrical demand. Higher efficient homes, including high efficient, variable capacity air conditioners should be the start of these behavior changes. What it all boils down to is that the longer we can hold off potentially having to build another power plant, the less it will cost us. It is possible for us to hold on long enough for advancements in technology to take over before current technologies overwhelm us with burdensome costs.
If you have been waiting to replace your HVAC equipment, now might be the best time to consider replacing. There are more high efficiency options than ever before. Air conditioners of the past were averaging between 8 and 10 SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Today, the minimum is 14 SEER and there are systems that operate above 28 SEER. The higher the SEER the less energy that they consume for the same output. Air conditioners today also have different temperature settings called stages.
In basic terms, the lower the temperatures outside, the smaller your AC can be. This leads to lower energy con sumption and lower bills without sacrificing comfort. The Summit Heating and Cooling team specializes in this type of equipment, called variable capacity. The systems are also DC pow ered inverter driven equipment, meaning they are significantly more efficient than previous systems.
Historically, Return On Investment (ROI) on high efficient air conditioners and heat pumps was not a helpful conversation or consideration. Going to higher efficient systems didn’t make much financial sense. But as electric rates have increased, so has the consideration of high efficient variable capacity air conditioners and heat pumps.
With the advent of time-based billing plans, which increase the electric rate during peak times, the ROI not only makes sense, it’s an essential and obvious choice. In addition, Evergy is offering their highest rebates in decades: qualifying systems have rebates up to $1200 from Evergy, $325 from Spire, and $2000 in federal tax credits. https://hvacdirect.com/seer-efficiency-savings-calculator.html
Even if you turn the temperature of the thermostat down during peak times, your air conditioner or heat pump will be on. The best way to save money during this time will be with a high efficient, variable capacity condenser.
It has always been a recommendation of utility companies to have and utilize a programable thermostat to try to save on electric usage and thus costs. Now more than ever, a programable thermostat is an essential tool of energy savings. One should consider setting back your thermostat a few degrees when the home is not occupied. It is a worthy consideration as well during the less extreme times. With variable capacity systems, setting the thermostat back will lessen the energy demand and lower your usage.
If you have standard single stage equipment, setting back the thermostat on milder days will give the system a break and not use as much electricity. If one sets the thermostat back during extreme temperatures, there will be two potential negative occurrences happening. First, it will cause an increase in the start/stop cycle. This is the time that is the roughest on the equipment and the time that uses the most electricity in the entire cycle.
Second, what could happen is what the industry calls “losing the house” meaning that there is too much heat in the house for the con-denser to be able to recover during the day. It means that the AC will be running the entire day and night with what will feel like no cooling effect.
This all being said, a programable thermostat can be an essential tool for efficiency, but be aware of the timeframe of your schedule and don’t get too aggressive with the settings.
Another frequently forgotten aid to efficiency is maintenance. The most efficient and most true capacity that an Air Conditioner or Heat Pump will ever have is when it is brand new. It has the indoor and outdoor coil completely free of internal and external debris. The electronics are all operating optimally, filters are clean, and refrigerant levels are spot on. Many people don’t realize how important maintenance is to an HVAC system.
Electrical components work together like a football team. When one part isn’t operating optimally, the other components suffer and wear down. These parts wearing down cause the whole system to require a higher consumption of electricity.
Some DIY homeowners attempt to spray the outside of their condenser, but they neglect the inside of the condenser coil. Some systems even have 2 coils that need to be split to properly clean. Not only does a dirty coil cause the condenser to be less efficient, but it also reduces the capacity (size or the ability to remove heat from the home). This means the condenser will have to run longer to likely remove less heat. Maintaining your HVAC system is an integral part of making it as efficient as possible.
While everyone knows the itchy stuff in the attic is insulation and that it reduces the heat load permeating into our homes, most don’t know the level they have or what the recommended level for their home is. Code for attics is R-38, roughly 12.5”, but it is recom mended by the department of energy for homes to have a minimum level of R-49, or a little over 16” of insulation. It is good practice during your heating maintenance to check your insulation levels and condition of your furnace/water heater flue in your attic.
In the past having a contractor come into your home and add insulation seemed very expensive; however, it has recently become more affordable with increased federal tax credits of 30% up to $1,200. Evergy rebates of $.20/square foot or up to $650, and Spire rebates up to $500. With the coming rate increase, there can’t be a better time to increase the efficiency of your home by increasing the level of the insulation in your attic.
Another consideration for your home’s efficiency is proper attic ventilation. An attic can be as much as 50 degrees warmer than ambient temperatures. If this heat is stuck in your attic, it has the time and potential to infiltrate into your home, meaning your Air Conditioner or Heat Pump will have to remove it from your home. A properly ventilated attic should be within 20 degrees of ambient temperature.
Roofing contractors like Zucca and Daughters and Sons, or other general contractors, can help with proper soffit or gable ventilation. Summit Heating and Cooling also offers solar powered attic vents that can help reduce the heat load in an attic by as much as 40 degrees. Either way you approach correcting the issue, reducing the heat load in your attic is another great way to reduce the electrical demand required to keep your home comfortable.
While setting back thermostats during peak times is one theory of increasing a home’s efficiency, an important part of that theory is precooling your home. It helps to maintain the comfort in your home by precooling your home before you set it back. This is simply lowering the temperature setting on your thermostat while not in peak demand, preferably before the sun rises. This cools off the home and delays the need for the AC for as long as possible.
ADDITIONAL IDEAS TO HELP REDUCE THE HEAT LOAD OR ELECTRICAL CONSUMPTION
- Unplug or put electronics on power strips
- Switch them off when no one is home or during peak times
- Wash dishes, laundry, etc during non peak hours
- Shift chores to non peak hours
- Wash your clothes in cold water
- Don’t shower during peak times
- Use vent fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove humidity and lessen the heat load
- Spend peak time outdoors or somewhere else
- Plant trees or shrubs to provide shade for the home
- Consider not cutting down the ones that provide shade for your home
- Shade trees can reduce a home’s heat load by 10% or more
- Consider UV window tenting which can reduce how much heat a window lets into your home by 78%
- Basically consider anything that can reduce heat load or energy consumption
When deciding what plan is best for you and your family, the main thing to consider is your personal habits. There is no perfect plan, and on average, the differences will be minimal. But consider your family’s habits and when you are most likely to be able to save energy. Think of it more like making an offensive choice, not defensive. How can you save the most electricity usage; ultimately, saving kWh will save you the most money off your bill. kWh saving behavior changes take effort and consideration, but can really save money in the long run.
High efficiency condensers, insulation, proper ventilation, programable thermostats, and maintenance are all ways that Summit Heating and Cooling can help you increase the efficiency of your home. We are always happy to help in any capacity we can. The Summit family is well trained to help our customers in every facet of their home’s indoor comfort and efficiency. Remember, if you are looking for the top, Reach for the Summit.