Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green

It has happened once again. The multi-colored NBC Peacock has turned green. It's green week on NBC and all of their networks (it's part of an Earth day thing).

When I turned on the TV this morning, the Today Show was running a story about people in Miami who were saving buckets of money by installing a meter or some sort of device that regulates their energy usage throughout the day. Basically it limits usage during peak times and allows usage during off-peak times.

I don't understand how this works. I get the mechanics of it, I don't get the economics of it.

Back in the day of analog cellular technology there was no such thing as a subsidized phone and you paid by the minute - every minute - for service. You would get a bill showing that you had used X minutes during the day at 50¢ per minute and Y minutes on nights and weekends at 25¢ per minute. I understood, and still understand, that the cellular companies charge more for calls made during the day than in the afternoon. My electric bill isn't like that.

My electric bill says I used X kilowatt hours of electricity at Y cents per. That's all. It doesn't mention peak and off-peak usage. I understand peak usage times (there are more people using more energy during the day) but I don't understand, based on the billing model, how these devices save the consumer money nor why there is a delay button on my dishwasher. Is it just that other municipalities bill differently and do differentiate between peak and off-peak usage? Or am I missing something?

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