Video: How is the Residential Demand Charge Calculated on My Bill?

Flathead Electric Cooperative’s residential demand charge collects costs more accurately and fairly from residential members because your Co-op pays a premium for power used during peak hours. It also gives members more control over their power bill because they can reduce their demand by shifting usage to off-peak hours.

Understanding Demand

Peak hours 7 to10 a.m and 5 to 8 p.m (Monday through Friday only and no major holiday's)

  • Electricity that is delivered to your home has to be generated at the same exact time you’re using it.
    • (This is why, for example, if you have solar panels on your house, you also need a backup form of energy for the times when the sun doesn’t shine.)
  • Generally, a population of people are all awake and using electricity at the same time: getting ready for work, preparing meals, etc.
  • This means that during certain times of the day, people are using more electricity than at other times.
  • It costs your Co-op more to purchase electricity during those “peak” times.
  • This extra cost gets passed back to members in the form of a “demand charge” on bills.
  • Demand measures the maximum amount of power (kW) you require each billing period during your Co-op’s peak demand times, when costs are higher.
  • Think of it as an extra little charge to help offset the costs of everyone on the system trying to use electricity at the same time.

How to Reduce Your Demand

Picture collage of home appliances

To reduce your demand (and demand charge) going forward, consider making these adjustments:

  • During peak hours, spread out the use of major appliances rather than running them at the same time.
  • Do laundry and other chores that require significant amounts of electricity outside of peak hours, such as mid-day, later in the evening, or on weekends.
    • Consider setting timers to run your dishwasher, clothes dryer and other appliances outside of peak hours.
  • Purchase a programmable thermostat to reduce heating and air conditioning usage during peak hours.
    • Visit our Thermostat Rebates Page to earn a rebate for the purchase of a smart thermostat which can help you reduce demand by controlling when you heat and cool your home.
If you avoid the simultaneous use of large electrical appliances during the Peak Hours, or use those appliances outside of peak hours, you will save money.

As a member-owned electric Cooperative, our goals are quite simple: to provide reliable low-cost power and to treat all members fairly. We hope that this rate structure is (and will continue over time) helping our members to use energy more wisely. The reality is when we all use less energy during peak hours, we all save money.