By B.N. Frank

According to proponents, “Time of Use (TOU)” rates – also referred to as “Demand Response” programs – are beneficial to consumers as well as essential for “energy efficiency”.  To be fair, these types of programs may be beneficial to consumers who only use their energy “outside of peak demand times.”  However, many consumers may not want to live like that.

From Utility Dive:

Record-high electricity prices fail to boost residential energy management programs: JD Power

Communication may be the “missing link” and time-of-use rates offer a potential solution, the firm said in a new report.

Robert Walton Senior Reporter

Despite “record high” residential electricity prices, customers are not taking advantage of energy management and conservation programs offered by utilities, J.D. Power said in a report published Wednesday.

Only 14% of residential electricity customers participated in one or more energy management programs in 2022, the firm said, citing internal data. Similarly, only 11% took advantage of product rebates and 22% enrolled in pricing programs.

And those participation rates are largely unchanged from 2020 levels, despite electricity bills rising 13.1% on average last year, the report said.

A growing number of customers are seeking assistance paying energy bills, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association. And utility arrearages nationally were around $16.6 billon as of Jan. 30, according to the group, which represents the state directors of the federal government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

So why aren’t more customers signed up for utility conservation programs?

“The likely driver of these low participation rates is lack of customer awareness,” J.D. Power said. “The nation’s electric utilities have struggled to build awareness for consumer participation in their energy conservation programs.”

Some utilities are finding success, but they are in the minority, according to the report. Utilities with clear sustainability goals, defined plans and support from customers tend to have higher program participation.  “These examples are rare, however, and the vast majority of electric utilities and utility customers are largely in the dark on sustainability and energy conservation initiatives,” J.D. Power said.

Time-of-use rates, which encourage shifting electricity use outside of peak demand times, could be one way to engage customers to participate. But J.D. Power’s report warns there are potential implications for satisfaction levels, if customers are forced to switch or do not understand the new pricing structure.

Ultimately, utilities must “make it easy” for customers to participate in energy savings programs, the report said. “Far too often, products and services that are required to meet clean energy goals are designed to make things easy for the utility, not necessarily easy for the consumer.”

TOU and “Demand Response” programs are associated with privacy invasive and unsafe “smart” meters which proponents also insist are beneficial to consumers and essential for “energy efficiency” though reports say otherwise (see 1, 2, 3, 4).

Opposition to utility “smart” meters – electric, gas, and water – has been worldwide for over a decade due to numerous problems associated with them including

Despite all of the above, utility providers continue to force these awful devices on consumers (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) so they can remotely control and/or ration utility use (see 1, 2) and collect consumer usage data to sell and/or share with 3rd parties (see 1, 2).  Adding insult to injury, consumers that are allowed to “opt-out” of “smart” meters are often required to pay expensive fees as well as accept meters that aren’t as safe as traditional meters.

Activist Post reports regularly about “smart” meters and other privacy invasive and unsafe technologies.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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