OG&E Smart Hours

posted in: Random Stuff | 39

I consider myself a pretty conscientious person when it comes to how much electricity we are using. Last summer I even went to such lengths as drying my clothes outside to save money on our electric bill. We had record temperatures! Why not use mother nature as a dryer? She was just as hot!

This winter has been pretty mild so I haven’t been too concerned about it. I never see the bill anyway…it comes in the mail, Dear Husband presses a few magic keys on the computer and it’s paid for.

A few weeks ago we signed up for OG&E Smart Hours. It’s an OG&E program that allows the customer to be on top of how much energy they are using and how to turn that knowledge into saving money on your electric bill. After I signed up online (go to www.smarthours.com to sign up) I made an appointment for new thermostats to be installed. They are “smart” thermostats and are no additional cost to the customer. The guy installed our new thermostats, breezed through the features and left me with the instruction manual. I can read…I wasn’t too concerned that I didn’t quite catch all the features.

You can program it to cool or heat the house at different times of the day. When you wake up, when you leave, when you come home from work and when you go to sleep. It’s called a “smart” thermostat because (among other things) it tells you the price of energy (kilowatts per hour – kWh). Why do I need to know the price of kWh? Because whether you like it or not the price will go up during the summer. Eeeekkk! Not all summer long but during “peak hours” during the months of June – September. Those are the hours during the day that the power plants are being maxed out. This super high-tech thermostat will send you messages before hand to let you know when the price is going up so you can adjust your energy use accordingly. In other words…so your bill won’t go through the roof.

Stay with me here

Here’s the interesting part. When you sign up for the Smart Hours program you log on to a site called myOGEpower.com. It breaks everything down for you. How much energy you are using, your projected bill for the month and why it has gone up or down from the previous month. It even breaks down your energy use by the hour.

This is a screen shot of part of our energy report. The horizontal graph across the middle shows our energy use hour by hour in a 24 hour period.

I thought we were doing good and then I saw that little graph in the top left. It’s comparing our bill to a similar sized home in our area. It’s TWICE as much as a home that is really efficient and about 1/3 more than our neighbors. WHAT?! I turn out lights (most of the time)! Thankfully myOGEpower has tips on how we can lower our bill.

So, I’m off to Home Depot for new light bulbs and I’m having a home energy audit done on the house in a couple of weeks.

If you’re an OG&E customer consider signing up. It can’t hurt to keep a better watch on your electric bill because guess what…the summer is coming and hell’s coming with it. It’s comin’ like Kurt Russell in Tombstone but this time instead of a rifle he’s got a flamethrower. How will your energy bill hold up?

39 Responses

  1. Hans

    Does the thermostat allow you to program it to automatically turn off the AC if the cost per KWh goes above $0.10? Like, from what I understand they charge you 4.5c/kwh except from 2-7 where it varies DAILY based on the “cost for that day”. I live in an older historic house a couple miles north of downtown with very little insulation, so I prefer to keep the ac on if the price is not at the crazy 22cent point or whatever.

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      I just looked through the thermostat manual. There seems to be a couple of options to have your thermostat alert you when the price gets to a certain level. There is also a setting called “maximum savings.” It says your thermostat will change the temp in the direction of maximum energy savings every time there is an increase in the price of energy.
      Hope that helps.

    • Bob Blanchette

      There are 5 “savings modes” on the thermostat to respond to increases in energy prices. For an older house you could use the “savings” or the “maximum savings” plan. The “savings” plan increases the thermostat 5degrees @ 11cents per KWH, 7degrees @ 23cents, and 9degrees @ 46cents. The “maximum savings” bumps 9 degrees for ANY energy price increase.

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      It works through the meter then the meter sends the information through a radio signal (I think) to the power plant. You do NOT need wifi to set it up.

      • Bob Blanchette

        The thermostat uses the Zigbee network to talk to the meter, it’s similar to wifi but uses a different frequency. The meter and thermostat each have a MAC address and your installer will “tie them together” for you. No internet connection is required from the consumer, it’s all done through the smartgrid.

  2. Jimmy

    I’m on smarthours as well. The website and documentation I read indicates that during non-peak hours the electricity cost .045 per/KWH, yet my thermostat ALWAYS shows .06, except when the peak time is .045. What does everyone elses show? Also, what did you get for free for blogging about it?

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      My thermostat always says .06 also even during peak hours. Today it said it was going to up to .11 but the rate on my thermostat didn’t change. Hum.
      For blogging about this I was told that I would get a reduction in my electric bill but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll keep my fingers crossed 🙂

      • Bob Blanchette

        Mine stayed @ 6 cents also, I’ll have to call OG&E and see what’s up. Thermostat was supposed to raise temp 2 degrees and it didn’t…

  3. Hans

    Mine is at 6 cents also, NW OKC, near NW 36th st and Western. Temp did not drop down today.

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      I spoke w/ Customer Service today. If you have been having a problem w/ your smart thermostat display please call SmartHours Customer service. 877-898-3834. They will check to make sure your thermostat is synced correctly. Yesterday the rates went up to .11 KWH during peek hours and my thermostat reading never changed. Customer Service said they did have a problem with thermostats displaying correctly but that snafoo has been fixed.
      This info was also posted on my FB page https://www.facebook.com/hugskissesandsnot

  4. Richard Harrington

    Why are we paying 0.06 when the advertised price for off-peek is 0.45? Customer service gave a long confusing speech about emmbeded fuel cost… Then they should advertise the price I will be charged or would the folks here think I am wrong in my thinking here?

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      I agree. I asked the same thing when I called. They said something about a tax or surcharge…I can’t remember exactly. but they said it adds up to .06. The only reason I can think of them not saying what the exact price is is b/c the fee they tack on fluctuates with the price of gas. Not sure about this one.

    • Bob

      The RATE is 4.5 cents, the PRICE which includes taxes/fees is 6 cents. OGE is working on making it all the same.

  5. Hans

    As of 6-25-12, my SmartHours Thermostat was working. It bumped the temp up 5* to 83* since it was a $0.11/day and should bump it up 7* to 85* tomorrow to since it is a $0.22 cent day. So far my estimated bill from June 11th to July 11th is $106, it was $232 last year at this same billing period with the normal rate. It got to 104* today and my AC was off from 2pm-5pm, however at 5pm it was on intermittently on to maintain the SmartHours temp of 83* inside (+5* of normal). It was pretty toasty at 6pm when I got home, but if it saves me $100+/month, I can deal with it.

  6. Marcie

    Does your thermostat automatically bump up the temp as the price gets higher or do you have control of having it stay at 72 or 75 degrees?

  7. Mark

    This week is the first week that it has been over 100 degrees, and the rate has been at the high level every day and twice we’ve had a critical period of 50 cents/KWH.

    I already have a bad feeling that this will be a frequent occurance.

    Also, about the 4.5->6 cent difference, that’s a 26% tax on your rate that wasn’t advertised! It’s total bull, I knew this was too good to be true.

  8. bratch101 (@bratch101)

    Seems like a cool program. We went a step further and got this new product that cuts your electric bill anywhere from 8% to 20% . Is called an Energy Mizer and all you do is plug in these 2 little boxes. We got ours at http://www.relentless.mymomenits.biz then went to products and EMS residental to get ours. Shows a video there so you can see how it works. Anyway, were excited about it.

    On the thermostats, there were so many people signed up it is 3 weeks till get can get ours installed. Must be a popular plan!!!

    • Bob

      Web link is bad. I’ve never seen these “power saver devices” do anything except possibly correct power factor. Don’t less the “lower amps” fool you. OG&E charges residential customers for WATTS, not Volt Amps. Correcting power factor can save money in commercial applications, but not residential.

        • Bob

          Not for inductive loads. Volts times Amps = Volt Amps. Volts times Amps will always be higher than actual power used. Look up “power factor” for explanation.

      • Catherine

        I have a GOES Energy Management System and it works. We compare our bill to my in-laws who don’t have one and our bills went from being within a few dollars higher than theirs to $20 to $30 less than theirs.

  9. ana cast

    I can’t switch from cooler to heat, i called the compay and they wont help 🙁

  10. Mike

    We signed up about 2 weeks ago. OG&E sent out a technician with the (SMART) thermostats and just as you said, he flew through the instructions after the install. The installer said that the NEW SMART thermostat would not sink up to the satellite, but that it would be fine and would most likely sink up in a day or so. It never did. This last Saturday morning I woke up very cold. I went to the SMART thermostat to see what the temp was set at. The SMART thermostat was set on 71 degrees, but the reading said it 54 degrees. I checked the breakers, nothing tripped. I called a repairman to have him check out the system. The system checked out in perfect working order when bypassed the SMART thermostat. When the stat was not bypassed the unit WOULD NOT RUN. He called the number on the SMART thermostat and got no answer, no recording, nothing. He put the old NOT SO SMART thermostat back in use and the unit has been running perfectly again.
    I called OG&E today to get reimbursed for the service call bill $90. They told me that they are not responsible for the SMART thermostat failure because I did not call the # on the stat. I explained that the # was called and no one answered. They stated that in my Customer agreement it states that they are not liable for any damages or service calls that the SMART thermostat is associated with unless you call the # ON THE STAT. I explained once again that the # was called and there was no response. Their response, after checking with Supervisor and putting me on hold for 20 minutes, was the same. The # number could not have been called because it is manned 24-7. I told them I would be happy to obtain the technicians phone records to prove my case. They told me that would not make any difference, they still would not pay up even then and stated that I should have read my customer agreement more thoroughly. Then I was told that I didn’t even need the SMART thermostat to get the information my old would be fine. If that is the case WHY THE HELL ARE SENDING PEOPLE OUT TO INSTALL THEM!!!! Big businesses can PROMISE you a SMARTER way to do things, BUT THEY DON’T HAVE TO BACK IT UP. RUN FROM THE SMART THERMOSTATS BEFORE THEY COST YOU MORE THAN THEY SAVE!!!!!!!!!! OG&E HAS THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE ON THIS PROGRAM THAT ANY I HAVE SEEN! If we had another option for power WE WOULD DEFINITELY SWITCH TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      That’s a shame Mike. Cruddy customer service can be VERY frustrating. Try contacting them through their Facebook page. For some reason I’ve seen customers get speedy AND helpful responses there. Good luck.

  11. Melvin McCord

    We have an energate thermostat and a gas furnace . I have it set to go to 76 at 6 a.m. From the manual, it says the furnace should turn on earlier and be 76 by 6 a.m. Our low temperature at night is 66. This morning at 8, it was still only 67 degrees. We’ve had problems with the thermostat screen going black. After 4 calls they changed it yesterday and it still was not the right temperature this morning. What is the problem? I hate to call in again.

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