What is Time of Use?

Wholesale electricity prices fluctuate all the time as customer demand changes throughout the day.  A time of use program helps you take advantage of that.

Time of use programs from electricity suppliers allow you to pay a lower rate when using power during off-peak hours and a higher rate during on-peak hours. That's a big change from the typical structure of paying the same rate for power no matter what time of day. But joining a time of use program can also translate to savings on your electric bill each month.

Check if your electric supplier offers a time of use program in your area.

Thermostat Knob

How does Time of Use work?

Let's review an example to see how time of use works.

You might usually run your dishwasher and washing machine in the evening—but so does everyone else. That increases the demand for electricity in the evening hours like 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. So during those peak hours, wholesale electricity prices can go up.

With a time of use program, you'll be encouraged to do the dishes and laundry during off-peak hours instead, like at night or early morning. The power you use in those low-demand hours will cost less.

Common Program Details

Each energy supplier has a different way of handling time of use programs. It's important to understand your supplier's on- and off-peak timeframes and other details. Here are a few things that most programs have in common:

  • Off-peak hours with lower rates are usually early morning (for example: 6 a.m. - 9 a.m.) and late night (for example: 9 p.m. - 6 a.m.)
  • On-peak hours with higher rates are usually during the day (for example: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and evening (for example: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.)
  • Timeframes for on- and off-peak hours may change on weekends or during different seasons to account for changing customer needs.

How to Save Money with Time of Use

Who can Benefit?

It takes a little extra planning on your part, but a time of use program could lower your bill.

If you have the flexibility to shift your energy use habits to off-peak hours, then this unique pricing structure may be worth the added effort.

Energy-Saving Tips

  • Use electric appliances, like dishwashers and ovens, during off-peak hours
  • Set timers on your thermostat and electric equipment like water heaters and pool pumps to go on during off-peak hours
  • Charge your electric vehicle during off-peak hours
Washing Machine Economy Setting
Electric Vehicle Battery Charging

Time of Use and Electric Vehicles

Most electric vehicles (EVs) drivers tend to charge their cars after they return home from work. That's usually 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. As more people invest in EV technology, that adds to the demand for electricity at those times.

Try charging your electric vehicle during off-peak hours to get ahead of the demand and save.

Which Electricity Utilities Offer Time of Use?

More and more electric utilities in Pennsylvania are offering time of use programs. Check if your power company has a time of use or peak use pricing plan and visit their website for details. Offerings can vary and programs may have eligibility criteria. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is time of use pricing? +
Will I save money with a time of use rate program? +
What are time of use times? +
Will time of use rates lower the cost of charging my electric vehicle? +
How does time of use billing work? +
Does my electric distribution company offer time of use pricing? +
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More Questions?

If you have questions about other cost saving programs or switching electricity suppliers, refer to our FAQ.

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