Demand Charge

Time to save: The demand charge, explained

The installation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) throughout our system has made it possible for CORE to implement a three-part rate structure for most residential and non-residential members. The three-part rate more fairly recovers the costs associated with delivering reliable electricity, and gives members more control over their monthly bills.

The demand charge is one of the three parts of most members’ rates. This page includes important info that will help you understand, identify and manage your demand charge.

Understanding the demand charge

Nearly two-thirds of the costs CORE incurs in providing service are associated with maintaining a system that can meet the demand of our 170,000-plus members at any given moment. Prior to the installation of AMI, costs associated with demand were recovered through members’ monthly energy charges. Our new AMI meters allow us to measure demand and more accurately charge for it. The demand charge helps CORE maintain the grid and deliver reliable power during those times when our members typically consume the most energy.

For residential members, the monthly demand charge is $2 multiplied by your highest amount of usage (in kilowatts) that occurred within one 60-minute period during the “on-peak” hours of 4 and 8 p.m throughout the billing period. This high point in usage is called your peak demand.

For most non-residential members, the demand charge is calculated by multiplying your highest usage over any single 15-minute period by your demand charge rate, which varies by rate schedule.

Your peak demand occurs only once per billing cycle.

Identifying your peak demand and demand charge

Your peak demand for the most recent billing period can be found under Your Energy Use on the first page of your CORE monthly bill. It identifies the peak demand (in kW) and date and time at which it occurred.

Your demand charge appears under the Current Activity portion on the second page of your monthly bill. This line item lists the peak demand value, demand rate and calculated demand charge.

You can use the Usage Explorer in the SmartHub account management platform – available on this website, or as an app for iOS and Android devices – to view your daily demand and other detailed usage info that will help you understand and manage your energy usage. Within the SmartHub portal or app, navigate to My Usage and select Usage Explorer. Select a date range, then Demand (kW) under Usage Type. Your daily demand appears as a yellow line. Look for peaks to identify days on which your demand was high.

Visit the My Usage page for additional info.

Managing your peak demand and demand charge

The simplest way to reduce your peak demand – and resulting demand charge – is to spread out your power consumption. Residential members should stagger consumption during the daily on-peak period of 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Non-residential members should do so throughout the day, and overnight if high-wattage equipment runs after typical business hours.

An example for residential members: You plan this evening to cook a roast and run a load of laundry. It might seem convenient to cook the roast while the laundry dries. Assuming your oven and clothes dryer each have a typical wattage of 4 kW and that you have no other devices drawing electricity, your peak demand over the hour in which both appliances are running would be 8 kilowatts (4 kilowatts plus 4 kilowatts). Your peak demand of 8 kW, multiplied by the residential demand rate of $2 per kilowatt, would result in a demand charge of $16. If you were to stagger your use of the oven and dryer, however, and not turn on the oven until the clothes dryer cycle had ended, your peak demand would be just 4 kW and result in a demand charge of only $8.

An example for non-residential members: You have multiple rooftop units that each cool an area of your building. Consider cooling one area at a time, using only one roof-top unit at a time. By staggering the use of the rooftop units, the peak demand will be less than if you had all the rooftop units on at the same time.

Reminder: Peak demand occurs only once per month for both residential and non-residential members. If your peak demand within a billing cycle is 8 kW, your demand charge will be based on that single 60-minute period – or 15-minute period, for non-residential members – even if your demand reaches 7 kW every other day within that same billing cycle.