Power companies dangle free nights and weekends

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  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Aug. 18, 2013 5:17 a.m.

    We call this "off-peak pricing," a strategy that can smooth power demand and reduce risks and costs. For example, telephone companies would encourage families to call grandma on Sundays (off peak times) rather than during the week, mid-day (peak times) when most businesses use phone services as to not overwhelm the system.

    The challenge with energy is that peak times (mid to late day usage due to air conditioning use, business and industrial use, etc.), often forces utilities to build massive infrastructure for power to meet those peak loads, only for that infrastructure and power production to sit idle for most of the remaining times. By curbing peak use with price signals -- encouraging residents to wash clothes or dishes late at night or via timers during the wee hours of the morning, power production can be smoothed.

    In Utah, because so much of our power comes from coal, such plants operate continuously 24/7 -- you can't turn them up or down to meet demand, so often power is produced at night when it isn't needed and must be "sold" on the open market, sometimes at a loss.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 16, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    This article fails to even mention two issues with these programs:
    1) Some consider these smart meters to be a violation of privacy.
    2) Municipalities are bargaining for bulk power and automatically signing up residents with an option to opt out of their program.