Electric Banking: Option or Obsession?

Change is coming to your electricity bill, especially if you live in Ontario as local utilities move to new metering systems. The promise with "Time of Use" (ToU) billing is that you can receive an electrical discount during the time of day that rates are low - in some communities during the night when large stores and factories shut down and in others at night when electrical heating devices and consumer electronics come online. It doesn't really matter which community you are in because there is always the possibility that most users will fail to see the incentive.

Banking is a common practice among those of us that use solar electricity, store a surplus during the day and use it at night. Some solar users underestimate the surplus required leading to 4am blackout, which is frustrating before a busy day. This is an issue for people on and off the grid, power is stable while the price typically isn't stable. So adopt solar energy while the prices are good with a grid-tie inverter and energy bank.

Most energy banks are composed of batteries, and its best to stick to that while the mad scientists figure out how to build a cheap electrolysis and fuel cell combo. During the cheapest hours it will bank as much energy as possible and if you know when the pricey hours are you can switch over to lower rates. It can be quite expensive at first. If you do it right this will become an investment - with a return. If you pay down the energy bank through your financial institution you can count new use as a gain.

Seems a little too easy right? Thats why there are some barriers in different regions. Some places have laws against electrical banking and storage, this mostly relates to their practices at the generating level and their attempt to predict and chart energy use. Also this is potentially a weapon against predatory billing systems, which some utilities use as a crutch to prop up a defective system. Allow me to explain how banking helps in three ways. Energy Banking lowers your bill. Energy Banking lowers system demand during peak times. Energy Banking opens the opportunity for the best kind of privatization - the DIY kind. If you live in one of these areas or not, ask your local politicians to protect your right to generate, store, and buy electricity freely.

Grid-tie banking will still have additional government, business, and "misc" surcharges unrelated to your consumption. These flat rate fees continue until you can pull the plug. Some of these fees are justified for a power grid, and these fees didn't exist when public funds went toward energy infrastructure. The consumer is now losing money and paying more whenever someone wealthy goes off the grid. Of course these fees are small, and they add up over time. To illustrate, a bucket can be filled drop by drop fairly quickly. Drop the fees off of your electricity bill and save money by making improvements to how you are delivered energy.

Here is the process: Shave off $10 a month, is $120 a year, and on a street with 20 houses that's $2400 a year, in a city of 50000 that is $6 million a year or $60 million a decade. Now think of your whole $67 average bill being gone. Considering the number of high demand energy users this could be more than a billion dollars that people and businesses in your city saves after liberating itself from recurring electricity costs from outside.

If your utility chose to use solar electricity, and banked it, and returned to a flat rate billing system then you wouldn't need energy banking for your house and they could save money. It is unlikely that utilities will without special grants for capital projects. Even then it has been pretty tough to even start a public project with the growing number of NIMBY groups. Again, if you want it done right (or at all) then you should do it yourself.

This solution may seem be for idealists, and capitalists, and people looking to liberate public funds (cut taxes or balance the budget). if you don't want to save money, make jobs, or liberate your local economy from energy companies - you can decide that doing nothing keeping your bills high is right for you. Some people pay more than $100 per month for celluar service too because they love paying more.

Additional Note: For the people concerned that disconnecting from a local utility will lead to higher fees - fight for the other extreme with "free" electricity entirely paid for by local and other governments with no bill. Every house that joins an affordable local energy group can reduce costs for those less fortunate. The establishment of an energy quota is now possible with the advanced power monitoring systems. Think of it as 'pay as you go' for electricity. I've published this article because it is time to use technology to reduce how much we pay. Businesses and individuals can operate faster than most governments for the time being by choosing to ignore the buzzing NIMBY swarm.