One of the hidden and often forgotten costs of working from a home office is the additional (and sometimes expensive) amount of energy used by that business. Computers, monitors, printers, lights, heating and air conditioning all use energy. Many people who work from home are surprised to discover how much energy they use or what it adds to the cost of doing business — but there’s now a way to find out.
Know How Much Energy Is Used
With a ComEd smart meter installed at your home business, you can go online to track how much energy you’ve used — down to the hour. You can then compare your daily and hourly use to spot trends and identify the times of day you are using the most energy.
Know When It’s Cheaper To Use Energy
Almost all consumers pay a flat rate for their electricity that is based on the average cost per kilowatt hour. Smart meter technology, however, provides you access to online tools that allow you to modify your energy use and take advantage of times when costs are lower. Daily and hourly use can be tracked, and alerts can be received to let you know when demand on the grid is unusually high (and more expensive) or low (and cheaper to use). This can be done by enrolling in ComEd’s Hourly Pricing program. Enrollment is free and allows you to pay the hourly market price for electricity, or “real-time pricing,” and save money by shifting electricity use to times when prices are lower.
No More Nasty Surprises On The Monthly Energy Bill
When an energy company is unable to read the meter at your home business, they sometimes generate a bill based on an average of your history of power consumption. When a meter reader does come out to read the meter, the true amount of energy use is reconciled — and that can often mean a sudden and unexpectedly high bill. Few businesses, especially home businesses, can weather such spikes in expenses comfortably. Smart meters prevent such nasty surprises, as they regularly and accurately report energy use both to the utility company and to you. A smart home business owner who regularly checks usage data online will know exactly how much energy is being used — and how much it is expected to cost.
Smart Meters Let You Plan Your Business’s Energy Use
Smart meters can help home business owners plan ahead. If your work day is flexible, you can plan to work during the hours when there is less demand. By enrolling in ComEd’s Peak Time Savings program, you can earn a credit on your energy bill when you voluntarily use less energy when it is most in demand. You can choose to be notified by phone, text or email when Peak Time Savings Hours occur. There is no cost to enroll and no penalty if you enroll and don’t participate.
Smart Meters Help Keep Utility Costs From Rising
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supports the use of smart meters. As the department reports, smart meters are part of smart grid plans that help utility companies better monitor and plan their production and movement of power. Smart grids contain technology that can immediately let these companies know when there is a power outage, which in turn shortens response time in an emergency. The smart grid also helps utility companies deliver power more efficiently. All of that helps reduce operating costs, which become savings on your home business’s energy bills.
Want to learn more about how smart meter-enabled tools and services can save money? Contact ComEd at 866-368-8326 or visit ComEd.com/BizSmartMeter.
For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit Small Business Pulse Chicago.