Mother and Daughter

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Peak Time of Use (TOU) Pricing Options? +

They're new, voluntary TOU pricing options that reward customers for using less energy when demand and costs are at their highest. Unlike conventional electric rates that charge a fixed fee per kWh of electricity used, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, TOU offers different electrical rates on different days of the week and at different times of day.

Why are the TOU electric rates different at different times of day? +

Electricity costs significantly more to provide during peak demand times – typically business days from 2 to 6 p.m. in the summer, on hot, humid days when AC use is highest. Alternately, electricity costs for the utility drop during nights and weekends when electrical demand is lower. The new TOU rates reflect these varying costs of electricity, and allow customers the opportunity to significantly lower their electric costs by shifting their energy use to times when costs are low, particularly on Energy Savings Days.

What is an Energy Savings Day? +

Energy Savings Days are select days in summer where you can earn extra savings by reducing your energy use. Up to fourteen times per year, on days with the highest electrical demand, Consumers Energy will schedule an Energy Savings Day 24 hours in advance. Customers participating in a TOU plan will receive notification of these days (text, email, or phone) and be prompted to reduce energy use from 2 to 6 p.m. to save even more money.

How can a customer save money with TOU? +

It’s simple. By shifting electricity use to off-peak times – evenings, nights, and weekends – customers pay lower rates than the standard residential electric rate, with energy charges almost 40% less.

How can I shift my energy use to cheaper times? +

You can easily shift your use to cheaper times by raising the set point on your thermostat and delaying the use of electric-intensive appliances during on-peak hours. Good candidates for shifting your use: clothes washing, clothes drying, running the dishwasher, window air conditioners, dehumidifiers, cooking, and bathing/showering (for electrically heated hot water and or water supplied by well pumps). The higher the electric use, the better the savings. Programmable timers can be installed by the homeowner/renter to automatically shift the run time of some appliances.

I have central air conditioning – will this program work for me? +

Yes! By raising the temperature set point of your thermostat during on-peak hours, you can easily reduce your energy use and take advantage of the TOU pricing. A programmable thermostat can help make this an effortless process.

Don’t think TOU is for you? No problem. With a central air conditioner, you’re also eligible for our AC Peak Cycling program, which can provide hassle-free savings. Click here to learn more about our AC Peak Cycling program.

When are the TOU rates in effect? +

TOU Rates are in effect year round. For more details, please refer to our electric rate book.

Which program should I enroll in? Peak Rewards TOU or Critical Peak TOU? +

Peak Rewards TOU is the best fit for a customer who is unsure how much electric use can be shifted, or about participation in Energy Savings Days, as it has no commitment or risk for Energy Savings Day participation. For more aggressive savings, Critical Peak TOU offers even lower rates than Peak Rewards TOU most of the time. However, Critical Peak TOU customers will pay electric costs about eight times higher compared to Peak Rewards from 2 to 6 p.m. on Energy Savings Days. Critical Peak TOU works best for customers confident they can reduce, or already have low, peak time use (2 to 6 p.m.) on Energy Savings Days.

Is the program voluntary? How long is my commitment? +

The Time of Use program is voluntary, however you must commit to a minimum of 12 months.

When will my new TOU rate take effect? +

Your new rate will take effect on the first day of your new billing cycle, after enrolling. For example, if you enroll June 15 and your billing cycle begins on July 2, your rate will take effect July 2.