Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC)
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is a state agency that regulates investor-owned electric and gas utilities in Arizona. The ACC also regulates water and wastewater utilities, telephone companies, transportation companies, and securities broker-dealers. The five Commissioners are elected by the voters of Arizona to serve four-year terms.
Arizona Public Service (APS)
APS is an electric utility company that covers part of the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan area.
Buy Back Rate
This is the rate at which the utility company credits customers per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for sending electricity from their home solar panel system to the utility grid. The utility installs a second meter at every home that goes solar in order to measure the amount of electricity sent to to the utility grid. Customers receive a credit on their utility bill each month for the amount of kilowatt-hours they sent to the grid that month.
Demand is the amount of electricity in kilowatts (kW) that the house is using simultaneously at any given time. The more appliances that are run together, the larger the demand is.
For example, the average air conditioner uses 4 kW of demand and the average clothes dryer uses 3.5 kW of demand. When the air conditioner and clothes dryer are run simultaneously in a home, the demand of the home will be 7.5 kW.
This is a charge that electric utilities include in some of their rate plans. Typically, the utility measures the average demand of a home over a one hour or 30 minute period, and then charges the customer a multiplier of that demand.
For example, if a customer averages 8 kW of demand over the period measured, and the demand charge is $15 per kW, the customer will receive a $120 demand charge on their bill that month.
A demand manager, also known as a load controller, is a device that is often installed with a home solar panel system. This device limits the total “demand” a house can use. Demand is the amount of electricity in kilowatts (kW) that the house is using at any given time. This is not to be confused with kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is the measure of how much electricity is used over time.
The more appliances that are run together, the larger the demand is. In the Phoenix, AZ area, the appliance that uses the most demand is the air conditioner. An air conditioner can use between 1 kW and 5 kW in demand, depending how big and efficient it is. Other appliances in the home use demand as well, but typically less than the air conditioner.
The demand manager has a demand limit setting, and the circuits of the large appliances in the home are hooked up to the device. Say, for example, the air conditioner uses just under 4 kW and the demand limit setting is at 4 kW. If someone in the home turns on the electric dryer, the demand manager will cycle the air conditioner off. This is how the demand manager stops the home from going over a certain demand. The device does not stop people from using the large appliances, it just turns off other large appliances to keep the demand low.
A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of energy: one kilowatt of power for one hour. Kilowatt-hours are a common billing unit for electrical energy delivered to consumers by electric utilities. The kilowatt-hour is a composite unit of energy equal to one kilowatt (kW) sustained for (multiplied by) one hour.
Off-Peak Utility Hours
Off-Peak utility hours are times of day when electricity demand is lower. This is typically on the weekends and in the mornings during the weekdays. As a result, utilities charge less during Off-Peak hours. If you’re trying to save money on your electric bill, one of the best things you can do is use your large appliances, like your air conditioner and clothes dryer, only during Off-Peak hours.
On-Peak Utility Hours
On-peak utility hours are the times of day when electricity demand is at its highest. In most cases, this means during the daytime when people are using lots of appliances and air conditioners. As a result, utilities charge more for electricity during on-peak hours in order to cover the increased demand. If you’re trying to save money on your electric bill, one of the best things you can do is avoid using electricity during on-peak hours. This may mean turning off your air conditioner during the day or doing laundry at night.
Seasonal Energy Rates
Electric utilities typically charge different amounts depending on what season of the year it is. The utilities define the seasons by a period of months.
For example, APS defines Winter as November through April and Summer as May through October.
This refers to a utility plan that charges different amounts per kilowatt-hour depending on the time of day and the day of the week. The typical segments are “On-Peak” and “Off-Peak”, but some utilities may have additional segments. On-Peak times are typically when homeowners use the most amount of energy, in the afternoon on the weekdays. For example, the Arizona Public Service (APS) utility has On-Peak times on weekdays from 4PM to 7PM. APS Off-Peak times are on weekends and certain holidays.
The cost of buying electricity from a utility company, typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
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