Beat the Peak FAQs

What is Beat the Peak?

Beat the Peak is a member notification system that

  • Teaches members how electricity use varies during the day and across the seasons of the year
  • Helps members understand that they can help reduce electricity use at specific times of the day across the whole electric system
  • Relates individual member choices about electricity use to broader effort to control costs
  • Allows members to voluntarily sign up to receive notices of peak demand periods
  • Sends members notifications (via text, email and/or voice messages) at times when they can help reduce electricity use, that is, when they can beat the peak need for electricity

How and why does the price of electricity vary from hour to hour?

Higher demand for electricity causes utilities to use more expensive fuels. Utilities use their most efficient and least costly generators first. Then, as electricity demand increases, utilities turn on generators that are less efficient or that use more expensive fuels. That's why higher electricity use can mean higher costs for your cooperative.

The demand for electricity is greatest between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. in winter months. In the summer, peak electricity demand occurs between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

How will joining Beat the Peak help the member?

By joining the Beat the Peak program, members are teaming up with the co-op to save power costs for everyone.

Electricity costs during off-peak hours of the day drops to about half that of on-peak costs -- a dramatic difference. And, those higher costs must be passed on to members.

By lowering total energy use when it is most expensive, the co-op can lower total power costs. Because electric cooperatives are not-for-profit companies, the savings can be passed on to members.

Will the participating member get a discount on electricity costs?

No. The savings come from improvement in the system's peak demand, but those savings are real. Since it costs more to generate electricity during peak-use times of the day, it truly helps when we work together to reduce electricity use on winter mornings and summer afternoons.

How does the program work?

Your cooperative and its power suppliers continually monitor the demand for energy. Using weather forecasts and historical energy use data, they predict when peak demand for electricity will occur.

In advance of that time, participating members can be notified:

  • Email
  • Text message
  • Voice message

Member education efforts will explain the benefits of certain actions during Beat the Peak periods.

Those actions could include:

  • Adjusting thermostats by 3 degrees
  • Turning off lights
  • Delaying the use of major appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers until after the predicted peak demand period has passed
  • Postponing hot water use, which will delay the activation of electric water heaters