President’s Message – February 2023

Beat the Peak

Jimmy Black headshot
Jimmy Black

Look around your home. You likely have more devices and equipment that require electricity than ever before. Our connected lives increasingly rely on more electricity to function. At the same time, as demand for electricity rises, Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative must deliver an uninterrupted 24/7 power supply—regardless of market conditions or other circumstances.

As you would expect based on your family’s habits, electricity use fluctuates throughout the day based on consumer demand. Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative must be able to provide enough electricity to meet the energy needs of all members during times of highest energy use, known as peak hours. These peak times are typically in the morning as people start their day and in the evening as they return home.

What you may not know is that electric utilities, including Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, typically pay more for electricity during those morning and evening energy rush hours. The demand for electricity is even higher when it’s especially cold outside, when heating systems must run longer to warm our homes.

If the peak times concept is a bit puzzling, compare it to a major concert. We know costs go up when there is strong demand for tickets (or electricity), and both are subject to the basic economic laws of supply and demand. When many people want the same thing, it’s more expensive. When they don’t, it’s cheaper—like a bargain matinee or an early bird special at a restaurant.

During peak periods when the cost to produce and buy power is higher, we encourage you to take simple steps to save energy. Try turning down your thermostat a few notches, turning off unnecessary lights and using large appliances only during off-peak times.

You can also save energy by plugging electronics and equipment such as computers, printers and TVs into a power strip, then turning it off at the switch during peak hours. If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the settings to sync with off-peak periods. When everyone works together to reduce energy use during periods of high electricity demand, we can relieve pressure on the grid and save a little money along the way.

Another benefit of this time-of-use approach to electricity use allows greater control over your bill. Reducing the peak impacts the power-supply cost to every co-op member. This is particularly noticeable as energy costs have risen across the United States. Collectively, everyone conserving energy and making small changes can truly make a difference.

Remember, taking simple steps to save energy throughout the day and shifting energy intensive chores to off-peak hours is a smart choice for you and our community.