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Earlier this week when checking the mail I noticed a letter from our electric company, Duke Energy, about a new program they're rolling out –

Want to Save Money with Your Electric Bill?

It was advertised as a way to save money, help the environment, and it was free.

We signed up and I want to give you a breakdown of it went for us.

EnergyWise: How It Works

It involved having a device installed to our air conditioning system. The energy company went ahead and explained the benefits of the program:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • $25 annual bill credit
  • No cost

It's for residential areas and it's completely voluntary.

It sounded good so we went ahead and examined our energy bills over the past year.

Right now our average bill in the winter is around $75/month and around $80/month in the summertime.

We're curious to see if we could lower it a bit more so the money could be redirected to some of our other financial goals.

They answered some of my questions that I had about the program, including:

If Progress Energy turns my air conditioner off when it's hot, won't it impact my comfort?

EnergyWise is designed to cycle the air conditioner’s compressor off and on at 10-15 minute intervals, not to turn it completely off.  Your system’s fan will continue to operate normally.

An average home can generally expect at least a one-degree temperature rise per hour during a cycling event.

An event will not last more than four hours a day. Depending on the energy efficiency of the home, some customers may experience a more significant temperature rise.

For your convenience, EnergyWise will not be activated on weekends or holidays, except in the event of a system emergency.

PLUS, you may choose up to two days per summer season to override the cycling of your air conditioner.

Won't interrupting my air conditioner cause it to run longer once it comes back on and increase my electric bill?

No, you should not see an increase in your electric bill.

Progress Energy is only changing the time of day your air conditioner runs.

Your air conditioner should run for the same number of overall minutes in a day, so your bill should be the same whether a cycle occurs or not.

Smart Energy Grid – Why It Matters

I checked out the link included in the letter to get some more information about the benefits.

When high electric demand places an unusual burden on the area’s power supply, EnergyWise Home helps to use the available power more efficiently.

This reduces the need for peak-time power that is often generated by fossil-fueled power plants and lessens greenhouse gas emissions. It’s an easy way you and your family can make a real difference.

EnergyWise helps Progress Energy temporarily reduce energy consumption during times of peak demand.

This reduces the need for additional peak-time power that is often generated by fossil-fueled power plants. Participation is free – plus you'll receive an annual $25 credit on your energy bill.

There is no appointment necessary for the program and it would be nice to help out with energy consumption plus save some money.

After discussing it together and weighing the pros and cons, we went ahead and signed up for it.

[Update Added in 2019] We've been using this program for around seven, maybe eight years, both with our previous place and now with our current home.

Overall I have to say it's been a good deal for us. We have never had a problem with it.

We're still cool in the summer and getting a small rebate is a nice reward for helping the environment.

If you have the program in your area, you should go check it out.

If you're looking for how others handle their electric bill, here are some of my favorite posts:

Thoughts on Trying Out EnergyWise

I’d love to get your take on the situation – what would you do and why? Do you think this is a good way to save some money?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

6 comments add your comment

  1. We have a similar program here in Ontario. In theory the idea seems sound but after the gawfaw on the rolling out of the “smart meters” many consumers are not overly keen to let the power company control their cooling systems.

    We already set our A/C (well we used to … no more central air in the new (old) house) to a pretty high temperature and use the programmable thermostat to make sure the A/C didn’t turn on during the day when we weren’t there (unless the house got REALLY warm).

  2. We did the same thing through my electric utility last fall. Since we don’t have poles in our neighborhood they put the box right on my house. They estimate we will save $40 per month in July and August and $20 more in June and September. Since it was free and we don’t really notice it – that’s fine by me.

    • It seems very smart of you to take care about your energy saving. Did you use Energy Wise program already? If yes it would be great to know how many % did it save you monthly. I will take a look at their website