Hot House Earned Me $25

xcelhotIt wasn’t even a month ago that the fusebox on our air conditioner’s outdoor compressor fried. I’m talking melted-through, irreplacable, it’s July 4th and nobody can fix your problem for 48 hours, pal. But $250 dollars later the fusebox was replaced with a circuit breaker and that cool, sweet air has been flowing every day since.

So when I came home last night and discovered the a/c fan was running but blowing hot air, I totally freaked. I checked all the circuit breakers, ran outside to see the compressor not running, tripped the new breaker and started sweating how much this was going to cost (pun intended).

It was then my wife reminded me we have Xcel Energy’s Saver’s Switch.

Basically an electrician installs a remote-controlled switch that allows Xcel to cycle your a/c compressor off and on at 15- to 20-minute intervals on super hot days. In exchange for handing your precious climate control reigns to the power company, you get a one time $25 credit.

Apparently 350,000 consumers are using the Saver’s Switch, which claims to help: Preserve natural resources for future generations; Keep electricity available to all communities during periods when demand is very high; and Keep electricity rates low and affordable.

Earlier this week, an Xcel Saver’s Switch snafu in Sioux Falls cut off a/c across the city for almost the whole day! Yowsa.

According to Xcel, “Most customers don’t even notice when Saver’s Switch is activated. ” I’ll tell you what, with the humidity so high this week, we definitely noticed both yesterday and today.

In fact, I would’ve paid Xcel a $25 bonus just to override that stupid box. Anybody else have one?

7 Comments so far

  1. Erica M (unregistered) on July 26th, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

    A one-time $25 credit? Hardly seems worth it.

  2. Kelly (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

    Did the A/C cycle on and off as advertised or just stay off? (Am trying to figure out if the Xcel program isn’t doing what it says or if those cycling off periods are too uncomfortable on a hot day.)

  3. Greg (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

    Our house didn’t start cooling down again until 7 p.m. — two hours later. Not sure if it was cycling, but I know our a/c central fan was running the entire 2 hours b/c the thermostat was trying to bring the temperature down…so I’m really not sure how much power we saved. Normally the whole system would’ve cycled on and off as the house cooled. Good idea for a program, but not worth it for me.

  4. gml4 (unregistered) on July 28th, 2007 @ 7:43 am

    I just signed up for the program this summer. I think it’s a great idea as we can avoid blackouts that often happen on those hot days. The program in our area seems different then yours. Where we get a 15% discount on our bill for the months of June-Sept for taking part in the program.

    We built a new home in 2005, and we put in a very energy efficient Heating and AC system in our home. We have our AC set to turn on when it gets above 78, which we adjust down a couple degrees for a couple hours when it gets really hot, like these last weeks. Our system also has a continuously blowing fan, which keeps the air circulating. We also have ceiling fans in the bedrooms, which help keep bedrooms cool during naptime (for my daughters)

    I don’t think I’ve noticed it when it’s been down. My brother-in-law complains about his however, and I think my father isn’t a big fan of it either. (no pun intended)

  5. Erin (unregistered) on July 28th, 2007 @ 11:54 am

    If you’re going to buy a new AC why would anyone want to join this program?

    My cheapass landlord even managed to get me a new AC (after the motor seized at the end of June) and it has ‘Energy Saver’ mode where it cycles on every half hour for about 5 minutes if the temperature if within 2 degrees of the set value. It also has sleep mode where at night it gradually allows the temp to raise up 4 degrees from the setting and stays there for 7 hours. Considering that I know my landlord is a cheap bastard I don’t know why anyone who would be buying a new AC couldn’t find one with comparable features and yet not be at the mercy of Xcel.

  6. LowFan (unregistered) on July 30th, 2007 @ 11:29 am

    We had the exact thing happen. I was freaked out that our AC was out of commission. But after checking with Xcel and remembering we had signed up for their saver program…it was all good… Other than it heating up to 82 degrees in our house until the 20 minute period ended. With a 2 month old baby at home, I definitely wished we could override the program…

  7. gml4 (unregistered) on July 30th, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

    I’m certain you can opt out of the program at any time. I asked when they came to install the switches on our units (we have 2 ACs).

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