La Plata Electric ‘Time-of-Use’ off-peak hours adjust May 15

La Plata Electric Association residential customers participating in the WattWatcher® “Time-of-Use” (TOU) program are reminded that seasonal off-peak hours for the summer take effect May 15. The TOU program is designed to help conserve energy and save customers money.

From May 15 through midnight Sept. 14, 2009, the “summer” off-peak hours are Monday through Friday, 10 p.m. to 10 a.m., and all day Saturday and Sunday.

Time-of-Use rates take into consideration seasonal “peak” electrical use periods. LPEA’s wholesale power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, charges LPEA less for purchasing electricity in off-peak hours. LPEA then passes that savings on to customers who have signed up for the WattWatcher® program.

The off-peak rate is considerably lower than the regular residential rate: 4.4 cents per kilowatt-hour on the WattWatcher® program, as opposed to the residential customer rate of 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“Electricity, once it is produced, is something that can’t be stored, so it helps the entire system — because electricity is in increasingly shorter supply — to shift demand for power to the ‘off peak’ periods. We call this demand-side management,” said Mark Schwantes, LPEA manager of corporate services. “Our customers have now ‘shifted’ so much of their electrical usage to the preferable off-peak periods that collectively they have exceeded $1 million in savings. Our TOU customers should be very proud. In essence, they have helped LPEA lower ‘the electric bill’ by more than $1 million.”

Currently more than 4,000 LPEA customers in Archuleta and La Plata counties are participating in the TOU program. LPEA officials note that as more residents sign on, the greater the impact in dollar savings and efficiency of the electrical grid.

“Use of electricity continues to grow around the world, presenting new challenges. How do we at La Plata Electric, meet this growing demand for electricity?” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO. “Not too many years ago, LPEA’s mission and goals focused on how to increase our sales of electricity. Now, our mission and goals center on energy efficiency and using the electricity generated more effectively. The time-of-use program is one way we all can benefit.”

To take full advantage of the TOU program, customers are urged to use those appliances that draw the most power — such the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer or self-cleaning oven — during the off-peak hours. Installing timers on water heaters or changing out the home heating source to electric thermal storage (ETS) units, maximizes the TOU benefit.

For further information, TOU customers or those interested in signing up for the cost-cutting program are encouraged to call 247-5786 or visit