Time of use (TOU) electricity billing is an arrangement in which homes pay more for grid electricity during times of day when demand tends to be high (‘peak’), and less when demand is usually low (‘off-peak’ and ‘shoulder’).
TOU schedules vary depending on where you are and who is selling you electricity, but in all cases it’s possible to save significant amounts of money through strategic timing of energy use.
carbonTRACK makes it easy to make the most of a TOU billing setup – whether you’ve got solar, batteries or neither.
Here’s how our energy management system help you to maximise savings under time of use billing…
1. Use more electricity when rates are low
TOU billing is usually set up so that rates are higher when you’re more likely to be consuming electricity. For residences, this usually means late afternoon, while for businesses it might be more like 9am to 5pm.
The flip side of this is that customers on TOU billing can save money by running appliances and devices when electricity is cheaper – i.e. during the off-peak times (when electricity is at its cheapest – usually overnight) and shoulder times (when electricity rates are in between – usually occurring just before and after peak times).
But shifting your consumption habits can be tricky without 1) the insights to know exactly what’s running and when, and 2) a means to control the devices (preferably by putting them on schedules – and ideally remotely via an app).
carbonTRACK’s energy management platform delivers both monitoring and control of devices in the home or business via our web portal and app.
2. Use your solar energy more cost-effectively
If you have solar panels on your roof, what you do with the energy they produce will have an impact on your electricity bill.
If you are lucky enough to be benefiting from premium feed-in tariff incentive, it generally makes more sense to send your solar energy into the grid, which usually involves minimising energy use during the daylight hours.
If there is little incentive for you to put your solar into the grid, it makes sense for you to directly use the energy that they produce – which is effectively ‘free’. In this case, however, things can still get complicated when solar competes with cheap off-peak grid electricity – especially where battery storage is involved (see below).
carbonTRACK can help you to put your solar where it will deliver the greatest savings – regardless of whether you’ve got a generous solar feed-in rate or a low one.
3. Get more out of your batteries
Installing a home battery storage system on a TOU billing setup opens up a whole realm of money-saving possibilities that would not be possible on a flat-rate tariff.
Firstly, there is the question of whether to self-consume solar energy or to store it for later use. If your off-peak rates are significantly lower than your peak rates, then there might be more savings to be had in sending the energy into your battery bank instead of using it to power devices.
Secondly, there is the is the opportunity to charge up the batteries using cheap, off-peak grid electricity for use later on when rates are higher. This is known as tariff arbitrage, and it’s one of the popular secondary applications of home battery storage.
carbonTRACK maximises the value of your batteries by charging them up with the best possible source of energy available (solar or grid) – and discharging them when it’s most cost-effective to do so.
4. Bonus savings with spot market trading
Spot market trading is another way that solar and battery system owners can earn extra income. With spot market trading, a solar/battery system owner can their electricity into the grid to take advantage of spikes in electricity prices on the wholesale electricity market – potentially earning significantly more than what would be possible with a conventional, flat-rate solar feed-in tariff.
But spot market trading is complicated, and there are many factors that need to be taken into account at any given time to determine whether and when to export to the grid. TOU billing adds to this complexity by injecting more variables into the mix.
carbonTRACK can help you manage the complexities of spot market trading alongside TOU billing schedules and weather forecasts – freeing your time up to do more important things.