Turbine

One of the three wind turbines on the University of North Texas campus.

Not directly. Denton Municipal Electric does not offer any special rates to steer customers away from daytime electrical use or to those who can otherwise help the city avoid peak pricing in times of scarcity on the Texas electric grid.

Generally, electricity is cheaper at night when Texas wind farms tend to produce abundantly. It will be a few more years before Texas solar farms catch up in producing power when the Lone Star State needs it most: on hot, still summer afternoons. In August, some Texas electric providers were forced to buy when electricity was in tight supply — and expensive.

DME does offer an incentive to people who buy electric cars: They can get a rebate in exchange for a pledge to charge their car overnight. The city-owned utility also pays incentives to customers who install “smart” thermostats.

But DME is still a few years away from putting those smart thermostats to their best use: demand response. With demand response, customers who agree can allow DME to remotely operate their thermostat for short periods (usually in times of scarcity) in exchange for a break on their utility rates.

Tony Puente, the city’s chief finance officer and interim DME manager, said the city’s goal is to look at such offers in the future.

“However, any reduction in the utility’s overall peak load benefits all ratepayers,” Puente said. “Therefore, the habit of using electricity in the evening [to wash a load of clothes or run the dishwasher, for example] likely means that the cost of purchasing that power by DME is lower.”

The good of the one in Denton, then, helps the good of the many.

What do you want to know? Send your Insight Denton question to pheinkel-wolfe@dentonrc.com.

Recommended for you