The Times mentioned Chicago's Community Energy Cooperative, a project to encourage energy conservation, which saved its members money by letting them know when energy costs are highest.
Judi Kinch, a Chicago apartment dweller, was part of the project, and received email notifications of when electricity costs would be up and by heeding them, she saved money. Examples given: turning down the AC during peak afternoon hours and waiting to turn on the dishwasher until prices drop at night.
Taking this article as a lead-off, we checked out the Community Energy Cooperative site, which in turn pointed us to pages on the ComEd/Exelon site, where you can check hourly energy prices.
We pulled up a random day, and sure enough, the prices fluctuated quite a bit throughout 12/12/06, from 0.02741/kWh at 2AM to 0.080049 at 6PM.
According to the Times article: Consumers would save nearly $23 billion a year if they shifted just 7 percent of their usage to lower cost times and it would also help the environment, by reducing the need for generating stations which can pollute.
We can remember our Mom always waiting until 11PM to turn on the dishwasher, so this is not a new idea, but rather one that has been somewhat forgotten. It seems like it's time to start thinking lean (and green) and learning to control costs again, so here are the links to get started:
NYT article: Taking Control of Electic Bill, Hour by Hour