Saturday, October 6, 2012

ComEd Residential Real Time Pricing (RRTP) Program Review


This blog is about my experience with Illinois ComEd's (Commonwealth Edison) Residential Real Time Pricing (RRTP) electrical rate program installation process.  According to ComEd's FAQ page, "The majority of RRTP participants who participated in ComEd RRTP for all 12 months in 2010 experienced electricity savings ranging from 5% to 16% on their annual electricity bill, as compared with what they would have paid with ComEd's fixed-price rate." My friend Steve had also had an electric energy audit done and the auditor highly recommended the program.

The Signup - day zero:

I went to the ComEd website and signed up for the real time pricing program and the air conditioner cycling program on August 26th 2012. There is no charge to participate in either program. The premise is by charging you based on real time fluctuating electric rates and  allowing the utility some control over your air conditioner usage - you can help them to lower the cost of delivering electricity. By doing that they'll share the savings with you on your electric bill.

I choose to go with the 100% option on air conditioner cycling since our house has extremely good tree coverage. Even on the hottest days our house is well protected from the midday sun. The 100% option allows ComEd to "Up to one continuous 3-hour period during any weekday (if needed)".

RRTP Meter Installation - 12 days after signup:

The flashy new meter was installed September 7th (12 days after signup). The meter replacement person needed to come back a second time (left a note on the front door), since my meter was a different style than she had on the truck the first time.
New RRTP Watthour power meter installed by ComEd
New WattHour Meter installed by ComEd for Real Time Pricing Program
The meters are digital and replaced the old mechanical wheel style meter we had. The was no charge for the power meter replacement, but I believe we have to stay in the program for 12 months or they may charge us back for it -or the replacement meter.

Air Conditioner Cut Off Switches - 19 days after signup:

Air Conditioner Cut out switch closeup (regular A/C switch next to it)
ComEd Air Conditioner Cycling Program Switches
In my case the air conditioner cutoff switches (one with big ComEd sticker on it) were installed on September 14th (19 days after signup). We have two air conditioners for our house so they installed two "wireless" cutoff switches. The switches appear to cutoff the power after our manual switch and before it gets to the actual air conditioner. The only visible thing that the home owner can see is a green led light through the switch window.

Site Login Email - 22 days after signup:

On September 17th (22 days after signup) we got an email that gave us login information for the website (https://il.thewattspot.com) with a temporary password and login. This website allows you to make changes to manage program participation, change high watt/hour email alert limits, view predicted and actual hourly prices, and view program savings.

As of October 5th I still couldn't see my electric usage online, but my understanding is it takes billing cycle for everything to be fully in place.

First Bill - 25 days after signup:

The bill that we got on Septemper 20th (25 days after signup) did include a $10 A/C Interruption Option Credit. but didn't appear to be full switched over to the real time pricing.


I hope this blog post help you understand what the installation process for the RRTP program looks like, and gives you a better understanding when you can start enjoying the $ savings from the program. Participation should help lower the total cost of electricity in Illinois - hey for right now, I hope it just lowers my bill.

UPDATE 03/24/2013:
I now know my actual savings -and have saved over $350 in just 5 months on the program. Read my about my six month review here: http://blog.trebacz.com/2013/03/comed-electrical-rrtp-savings-program-6.html

Other web References and information:
https://www.thewattspot.com/ - Comed's Real time pricing website
http://www.frugalnerd.com/blog/2010/02/comed-rrtp-intro/ - Detailed blog post on the costs
http://www.powerstoplight.com - Android app to view power rates
https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/comed-rrtp - Google group on the subject
http://nialljmcshane.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/the-impact-of-real-time-pricing-in-chicago/
http://www.comed.com - Comed's regular website