4 Tools to View Your Electricity Consumption & Save Money

Sabrina Lopez
August 16, 2016
4 min read

Understanding how much electricity you use and when you use it is the key to keeping your monthly power bills low.  As Arizona Utilities moves to be the first in the nation to implement demand-based rate plans, it will soon be even more critical to fully understand your hour-to-hour usage and your total monthly usage to minimize these new demand fees.

SRP was the first Arizona utility to implement demand pricing when it added fees to solar customers’ monthly bills early last year. During each billing cycle, these new demand fees are assessed from a customer’s highest on-peak 30-minute usage window. Now, APS is following suit as well. Under a proposed new APS rate case currently being reviewed by the Arizona Corporate Commission, beginning in June, 2017, almost all APS customers (both solar and non-solar alike) will be assessed an additional demand fee for their highest monthly one-hour, on-peak usage window.

The challenge for electricity consumers is that most don’t fully understand their total electrical usage and pricing, let alone their demand peaks in shorter 30, or 60-minute timeframes. Here are four tools available right now that will help you better understand your current electricity consumption patterns, hour-to-hour demand, and which household appliances will be the biggest contributors to large monthly demand fees.

1. Create a FREE Online Account with Your Electric Utility: Most utilities offer a customer portal where you have 24/7 access to details that will help you visualize your energy consumption patterns. Most will show you total daily usage in kilowatt-hours and your kilowatt demand by day and in specific time increments.


If you’re on a time of time-of-use plan, such as the APS example below, you can see both your total daily usage as well as hourly demand during on-peak (green) and off-peak (blue) periods.


2. Download FREE APS Utility App: The APS app (for iPhone and Android) gives you even easier access to a graphical view of your electricity consumption and demand. In addition to daily energy use, the app provides graphs of your daily on and off-peak demand and your daily peak usage. NOTE: While accurate, the information provided via the APS online portal and app is not real-time, but instead a backward view delayed by 36-48 hours depending on your electronic meter reading schedule


3. Use a Demand Calculator to Begin Understanding Your Appliance Demand: SRP offers an online demand calculator to understand how each appliance contributes to your total demand (http://www.srpnet.com/prices/home/calculator.aspx). This calculator allows you to configure a typical high-use day in your household by turning on and off certain appliances and seeing the resulting demand spikes. While this tool accurately estimates demand, it is designed to compute associated demand fees for SRP customers ONLY. The proposed APS demand prices will differ, and we expect APS to come out with their tool shortly.

4. Purchase Off-Shelf Home Energy Monitoring SystemFor real-time insight via smartphone or tablet, you might consider an energy monitoring solution like Smappee. Through a reader that connects to your electric panel (professional installation recommended) and a free iPhone or Android app, Smappee detects all electric appliances in your home and provides a graphical representation of how much each appliance contributes to your total monthly demand and consumption. While it does not calculate demand fees, Smappee is a good way to learn more about your appliances and how to mitigate their use before the coming rate changes. 

Knowledge is power, and by gaining insight into your current energy use, you can begin making behavioral changes that will save you money when demand fees become the norm.

APS recently announced that anyone who goes solar before July 2017 will be grandfathered for 20 years under the current rate plan. So if you're an APS customer who has been considering solar and want to avoid the upcoming rate increase, we invite you to contact us today for a free solar energy quote!