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Running major appliances after sundown eases the stress on the grid. In cities like mine (yeah for Los Angeles) we pay less for our power after 7 pm.

Reducing the stressors on the grid can help keep it compact.

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Can you explain more about how this reduces the amount of energy I use? I can see how this would be cheaper, sure - but use less energy??

in June 2008

Sure. If you're fighting to keep your house cool in the summer months running appliances at night would cut down on the heat you're fighting.

Los Angeles (where I live) is subject to rolling brown outs in the summer months because too many of us need too much. By using power during off peak hours you don't stress the grid as much. It might not translate immediately to your own home but it is part of being a good neighbor/citizen.

Further, if you wash dishes at 8pm and then they sit until 7am when you're ready to put them away you don't need heated drying.

in June 2008

During peak hours, the utilities will also turn to their least efficient — and usually most polluting — power plants to meet high energy demand.

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As I understand it, the peak use of energy for New Zealand is between 4-8pm - so doing the dishes after sunset is not the best option. We are mid-winter and most people are coming home and turning on their appliances and making dinner etc (sun is well set by 5pm) Hence I'm a little confused too. Perhaps someone from one of our major utilities with an interest in Celsias could answer this?

in June 2008

Sophie J:
The points you raise show that it is dangerous to transplant experiences from other parts of the world without careful thought.

In most of California summer air conditioning is one of the major power users. Here in NZ very few people use air conditioning and those that do only use it occasionally and at relatively low levels.

It also depends on what you mean by "doing the dishes". If you hand wash then the water is heated when the power company turns on your water heater. You don't get the instant energy demand that you get from a dishwasher.

The basic idea still holds though: find out what your local power patterns are and try to time shift your energy use by:
* Hand wash dishes.
* Use a haybox to cook your meals. Set up the meal in the morning and come home to a tasty slow cooked meal.

in July 2008

Matthew M: It **can** reduce your actual energy usage by considering the generation end rather than your direct usage.

The generating utilities tend to use the most efficient (and cheapest) generating sources for base load. As the load increases they need to fire up more generation which is less efficient (and more expensive). Thus, if you can move your load from peak to off peak then you are effectively using more efficient rather than less efficient generation.

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