Rate changes for peak power usage - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Rate changes for peak power usage

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A new energy billing program means savings for some and increases for others who own businesses and use Xcel Energy electricity.

There's a difference between On-Peak and Off-Peak electricity and it will soon appear on a business owner's bill.

"Our On-Peak pricing period is from nine in the morning until nine in the evening," says Regional Vice President of Rates and Regulatory Affairs for Xcel Energy Don Reck.

On-Peak means a time period of higher energy usage and higher prices.  Compared to Off-Peak which is at night and on weekends and costs less.

"Our basic is nine in the morning until nine at night.  It falls right in that area," says owner of Mike's Smokehouse, Jeff Anderson.

Which means Xcel Energy's 2014 rate restructure becomes a business balancing act for Mike's Smokehouse.

"Time of day pricing is a more accurate pricing structure and it also provides opportunities for customers to manage and control their electric bills," says Reck.

"For us to control costs?  Well we try to control costs on a daily basis and then to have this lopped on top of it, there isn't too much control with that," says Anderson.

That's because the restaurant business is dictated by when we like to eat.

"You know you can't pass that on to the customer, it's just a hard thing to do," says Anderson.

There's still some time to plan though, since the new rates won't take effect until the new year.

"We're not going to change the rates drastically so that there's huge bill impacts all at once, we would phase in this type of change," says Reck.

"Appreciative of the year delay in it, but we're looking at an increase in the future," says Anderson.

Powering ahead to keep business running at its peak performance.

About 6,500 customers are affected by this change in rates.  The highest demand for power typically occurs on weekday afternoons in the summer.  Residential customers also have the choice to switch to On-Peak / Off-Peak billing with Xcel Energy.

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