The APS rate case might seem like a distant memory, but with mandatory enrollment for new plans right around the corner for all non-solar customers, it’s time to start thinking about the financial implications again.
In short, the price bump that happened last year after the rate case vote was actually only part of the story. The bigger changes are happening between now and May 1, 2018, when all non-solar APS customers will need to select a new plan. If you don’t select your own plan, APS will do it for you.
APS recently sent out a letter and infographic to help clarify the six new rate plans. The letter invites customers to “Shift, Stagger, and Save.” That’s an admittedly catchy approach for a complicated topic, but what does all that really mean?
Let’s take a second to break it down. I’m going to start with “Stagger” because that’s the new player on the field:
Stagger: This refers directly to the introduction of demand fees into several of the new APS plans. Demand fees are based on your highest energy usage within a 60-minute window during on-peak hours. The best method for avoiding high demand fees is to become familiar with the energy footprint of all your big appliances and “stagger” the use of those appliances during on-peak hours. For example, electric clothes dryers require the most electricity, followed by AC units and then hot water heaters. Firing up all three when you get home from work will create a spike in your demand that will surely cost you money. Stagger your appliances to avoid this problem if you have demand fees on your selected plan.
Shift: Most of us are familiar with on-peak vs. off-peak pricing, so this isn’t entirely new. In essence, by shifting the use of your major appliances into off-peak time periods as much as possible, you’re consuming cheaper energy. Do your laundry on the weekend or turn your AC down during the day because it all adds up.
Save: There are little things you can do daily that will add up and help you save big in the long run. These habits you can practice are as easy as turning off fans once you leave a room, replacing old lightbulbs with energy-efficient LEDs, and using cold water when you do your laundry.
If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to download our free APS “how to” guide that explains how to use the APS rate evaluator to see how your bill will be impacted by the new rate plans. It takes just a few minutes.
Also, don’t forget the value of going solar. Generating your own electricity is the most viable way to reduce your bills and avoid the utility roller coaster in the future. After all, APS solar customers who were installed before the rate case were the only group allowed to remain on their old plans and avoid this confusion all together. If you're interested in making the switch to solar, you can download our free solar whitepaper: "Is Solar Right For You?", or you can contact one of our solar experts for a custom solar quote.