JEA proposal ties cost of power to electricity to when it is used
A pilot program for a new way to bill residential customers for electricity will be considered today by JEA’s board of directors.
SmartSavings would allow customers to control their monthly bill by reducing usage during peak periods of demand and by limiting the amount of electricity they use at a given time.
According to promotional materials available at jea.com, peak periods vary depending on the time of year.
April-October peak demand occurs noon-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; November-March is 6-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.
In addition to deciding when to use electricity in general, JEA also recommends customers change when they use appliances that require the most electricity.
In a typical all-electric home, the central heating and air system can account for up to 40 percent of electric usage. The water heater is nearly 20 percent of the total bill, a clothes dryer nearly 9 percent and a refrigerator or freezer, 8 percent.
By avoiding using a dryer when the heating and cooling system is operating, the household’s peak usage is lower, which would result in a lower cost per kilowatt-hour for electricity.
Customers who enroll in the program could pay less on an annual basis for the electricity they use.
There would be two rate categories and charges on the SmartSavings bill each month: Electricity used during peak hours would be billed at $4.90 per kilowatt-hour while usage during off-peak hours would be $3.75 per kilowatt-hour.
For JEA, having customers use electricity when demand is not at the maximum level can preclude the necessity to build more generating capacity, which would result in more debt for the utility and/or higher rates for customers.
The pilot program would be conducted in two phases.
The first, which could begin as early as April, would involve up to 150 participants comprising JEA employees who volunteer and customers who want to be the first to try the new rate plan.
That phase will be focused on evaluating the customer experience and ways to market the program to the customer base.
In Phase 2, up to 2,000 customers will be chosen to statistically represent the entire customer base in terms of location, household income and usage patterns.