As a resident of Washington, DC, I am pleased to be able to take advantage of a pilot program run by the local incumbent electrical utility that allows our family to save money by reducing our electricity usage during high-priced hours and shifting activities to times when the prices are lower.

As part of the program, we were given a brand-new programmable thermostat that seems to work well in regulating the A/C. But even more interesting to me was the first monthly "Electric Usage Report" we received recently. The report has information, presented graphically, about our daily usage, the associated cost, and average hourly electricity prices for the month. (We are already doing the laundry after hours — according to this report we should use the delayed start function on our clothes washer so that it turns on at 4 a.m.) 

Although the thermostat has a place on the display for the current kW/hr price, to date it flashes "0 cents" – which even I know is not right. I need to follow-up with the utility to see where the "bug" is, so that even though the cooling season is over I can take full advantage of the real-time information on offer. But I am already impressed with my new bill.  


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