Going solar seems like an obvious way to reduce your utility bills. However, in certain situations, your bill might not decrease as much as you expect, and in some rare cases, it might even increase. Here are three reasons why this might happen and what you can do about it:
You’re using more energy than you used to.
Changes in lifestyle or seasonal changes can impact your electricity use. To avoid increased costs, try running appliances during off-peak times when electricity rates are lower. Check your utility bill or call your local utility partner to find out when those times are.
How to Find the Cheapest Time to Use Electricity in New Jersey
If you live in New Jersey, you may have noticed that your electricity bill varies depending on the time of day and year. This is because many utilities in the state offer time-of-use (TOU) rate plans, which charge different prices for electricity based on the level of demand on the grid. TOU rate plans are designed to encourage customers to reduce their electricity use during peak hours when demand is high and electricity is more expensive. By shifting some of your energy consumption to off-peak hours, when demand is low and electricity is cheaper, you can save money on your bill and help the environment. But how do you know when are the peak and off-peak hours in New Jersey? And how much can you save by using electricity during off-peak hours?
According to ElectricRate, a website that compares electricity suppliers in New Jersey, the current off-peak usage hours are 9 pm to 9 am every day of the week. When daylight saving time ends, the hours change from 8 pm to 8 am. During these hours, you can enjoy lower electricity rates and use appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, or electric vehicles without paying a premium. On the other hand, the current on-peak usage hours are 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, according to FirstEnergy, one of the major utilities in New Jersey. During these hours, you can expect to pay higher electricity rates and face more competition for grid resources. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using electricity-intensive appliances or devices during these hours or at least minimize their use. To find out what rate structure you are on and how much you pay for electricity during peak and off-peak hours, you can check your utility bill or call your local utility partner. You can also compare different electricity suppliers and plans on ElectricRate and see if you can find a better deal for your energy needs.
By being aware of the peak and off-peak hours in New Jersey and adjusting your energy usage accordingly, you can lower your electricity bill and contribute to a cleaner and more efficient grid. You can also consider adding solar panels to your home, which can further reduce your dependence on the grid and provide you with clean and renewable energy.
You just experienced a big life change.
Life changes such as adding a new family member or buying an electric vehicle can increase your energy use. Running appliances or charging your EV during off-peak times can help avoid increased costs. If you’re thinking about going solar now, talk to a local solar dealer about potential changes in your future that will impact your electricity use and size your system appropriately.
How to Adjust Your Solar Needs After a Big Life Change in New Jersey
If you are a homeowner in New Jersey, you may have experienced or are planning to experience a big life change that can impact your energy consumption and your solar needs. For example, you may have:
Added a new member to your family
Bought an electric vehicle
Started working from home
Renovated your home
Retired or downsized
Any of these changes can increase or decrease your electricity use and affect your utility bill. Depending on your situation, you may need to adjust your solar system size, add energy storage, or switch to a different rate plan.
Here are some tips to help you make the best decisions for your solar needs after a big life change in New Jersey:
Review your electricity bill and compare your current usage with your previous usage. How much has it changed? Is it seasonal or permanent?
Contact your local utility partner and find out what rate structure you are on. Do you have time-of-use (TOU) rates that charge different prices for electricity based on the time of day and year? If so, when are the peak and off-peak hours? Can you shift some of your energy use to off-peak hours to save money?
Contact your SunPower dealer and ask them to evaluate your solar system performance and size. Is it meeting your current and future energy needs? Do you need to add more panels or batteries? Can you take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act incentives for solar and energy storage?
Compare different electricity suppliers and plans on ElectricRate and see if you can find a better deal for your energy needs. You may be able to save money by switching to a different supplier or plan that offers lower rates, renewable energy credits, or other benefits.
Your utility rates increased.
Utilities often change rates seasonally and may add new fees to your bill. There’s no real way to avoid these rate increases, but keeping an eye on your bill is always a good idea. Pairing solar with energy storage can help you rely less on the grid and use stored energy when you need it most.
Why Your Utility Rates May Increase in New Jersey and What You Can Do About It
If you are a homeowner in New Jersey, you may have noticed that your utility bill varies depending on the time of year and the rate structure of your utility company. This is because utilities in New Jersey charge different prices for electricity and natural gas based on the level of demand on the grid, the cost of the commodities, and other factors.
According to NJ.com1, millions of New Jerseyans’ energy bills will soon spike by as much as 25% as winter approaches. The state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) unanimously approved the rate hikes for natural gas on September 9, 2022, after companies argued that rising costs forced them to raise prices for their customers.
The BPU also approved a nearly 25% rate increase for PSE&G, the state’s largest utility, which has 2.4 million customers and 1.9 million gas customers2. PSE&G said that the rate increase responds to the 200% increase in natural gas prices and the costs of repairing damage caused by major storms3.
Other utilities in New Jersey, such as New Jersey Natural Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, and South Jersey Gas, also received approval for rate increases ranging from 14% to 22%1. These increases will go into effect starting October 1, 2022.
The BPU president Joseph L. Fiordaliso said that utilities do not profit from these rate increases and that they are allowed by law to recover losses from their customers when the price of gas increases1. He also reminded customers that there are incentives and programs available to assist with their gas and electric bills.
Solar panels are a great way to keep your energy costs low, stable, and predictable for New Jersey homeowners. With electricity rates continuing to rise, now may be the best time to think about going solar. Additionally, New Jersey offers several incentives for homeowners who go solar, including sales tax and property tax exemptions. This means that when you purchase a solar energy system, you will not have to pay any sales tax on it and you will not have to pay any additional property taxes on the value that the solar panels add to your home. Another incentive available to New Jersey homeowners is net metering. This policy allows you to sell excess electricity generated by your solar panels back to the grid at the retail rate.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to keep your utility bills down after going solar, you can reach out to Maxeon Energy for further information on their solar solutions for homeowners by visiting their website at maxeonenergy.com.