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Central AC Cycling or Peak Time Savings?

Peak Time Savings and Central AC Cycling are two ComEd programs that could help you save money–but you have to choose between one or the other. They’re both good programs, but sometimes, consumer ask us which one to choose. We did a deep dive to help you choose the one that’s best for you.

First a little background on why we love these programs. They’re called “demand response” programs because they help reduce electricity demand when it tends to be highest during the year. Reducing demand not only reduces power bills for people who participate in these programs, but it helps to reduce power prices for everyone. Win, win!

Peak Time Savings (PTS) allows customers to earn bill credits by using less energy during “peak time savings hours”. Those are hours on a few summer days–usually on the hottest afternoons of the year–when ComEd will give program participants the option of delaying heavy power usage to earn bill credits.

With Central AC Cycling, you agree to let ComEd periodically turn your air conditioning compressor off for a certain amount of time on hot days. You may not notice a difference because your fan stays on to circulate already cooled air. (There’s also a Nest thermostat option to check out, if you use such a device in your home.)

Weighing your options? This chart shows some important benefits and requirements of each program:

Peak Time Savings (click for more info) Central AC Cycling (click for more info)
  • You can earn up to $40 in summer bill credits, but a credit is not guaranteed, and most customers get between $0-$10.
  • You do NOT have to have central air conditioning to take part in this program, but you must have a smart meter.
  • You cannot be on net metering or AC Cycling to enroll in this program.
  • Use smart technologies and “If This Then That” (IFTTT) to increase your bill credit.
  • Any credit you receive will appear as dollars off your total amount due on your next bill.
  • Your bill credit is guaranteed ($20 for 50% cycling during the four summer months, June-September). Note: Customers with a Nest thermostat are eligible for a $40 bill credit with 100% cycling.
  • You must have a central AC unit.
  • AC compressor requires a switch installation.
  • Any credit you receive will appear as dollars off your total amount due on your next bill.

Tip: Whether you choose PTS or Central AC Cycling, consider also signing up for Hourly Pricing. That ComEd program gives you the option to pay the hourly market price for electricity. Most customers pay a standard electricity rate, which means it remains static throughout the day. But the actual wholesale market price is much lower than that most of the year. Hourly Pricing lets you take advantage of that market price. Savings aren’t guaranteed, but typical participants have saved an average of 15% on their electricity supply costs, compared with standard utility rates.

Read CUB’s fact sheet on ComEd’s Energy Efficiency Programs and visit ComEd’s site for more details.

For Ameren customers, CUB has fact sheets on similar programs, Peak Time Rewards and Power Smart Pricing. (At this time, Ameren does not have a central AC cycling program.)