SmartRate Tips

There are no SmartDays™ currently scheduled.

Great ideas for greater savings

What do people love most about SmartRate™? Saving money, of course! Some customers are saving as much as 20% on their summer electricity bills. Take a look at the fun and easy tips below from other SmartRate customers to see how else you can save.

Get details on the SmartRate program and how to join. Learn More>>

Keeping Cool on SmartDays

"In the cool of the mornings, I have windows that don’t face the sun open and then close them when the temperature inside gets to 75."
—SmartRate™ Customer, Stockton

“Keep cool by staying out of the kitchen -- eat out!”
-SmartRate™ Customer, Davis

“Cutting back was easy. When we arrive home, we’d pack up our gear and head for the local swimming pool.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Clovis

“On the hot days, we closed all the windows and blinds around 11 a.m. to keep the house cool….We also keep the ceiling fan on while the A/C is running and keep the thermostat around 78 to 80 F. Around 9 p.m., we turn off the A/C and open the windows to allow cooler air in.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Stockton

“I found that if I opened the doors and windows early in the morning, got the ceiling fans on, that it helped keep our home very comfortable on SmartDays™.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Oakdale

“Set A/C at 82 when not home and lowered to 78 when in house. This made it feel cooler than outside on those 100-degree days. We also planned to be away on SmartDays™.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Woodland

“We kept the house cool by using blackout drapes and keeping the lights off and using fans. We used a window fan at night to bring cool air into the house. We avoided using major appliances during the day.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, San Leandro

“We get the lemonade ready, shut down the house, and spend the rest of the day in the pool having a blast.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Bakersfield

“Made a pitcher of iced tea (with plenty of ice) before SmartRate™ hours and kept it out on the counter.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Menlo Park

Involving the Household

"We put stickers on major appliances, light switches, and gadgets that can be unplugged to remind and teach our children about saving energy."
-SmartRate™ Customer, Rocklin

"Having Smart Days got the house more active in board games again...Hours of fun because there is no electricity."
-SmartRate™ Customer, Davis

"We made a check list so we would remember everything we needed to turn off from 2-7: timers, TV and computer…attic fans, yard equipment chargers, etc. It helps to be able to go through the list to make sure we will maximize our savings. We print multiple copies on the computer to have one to use each SmartDay."
-SmartRate™ Customer, Riverbank

"Whenever we have a SmartDay, I immediately update a document which gives both Rules (what NOT to do), and Suggestions (what TO do). I then print them out and post them around the house, just to remind people. The whole family participates!”
-SmartRate™ Customer, Granite Bay

“We made a game out of keeping the A/C down and using fans. Also had the kids do a run around the house every hour to check if any lights were on that could be shut off.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Lincoln

“Every time I got the e-mail, I would print it out to bring home to remind me.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, West Sacramento

“Just before each SmartDay™, I posted a bold list on the refrigerator door of all appliances and electrical outlets to refrain from use after 2 p.m.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Fresno

“I made sure not to use any major appliances until after 7 p.m. I had my children outside swimming and playing instead of using the television.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Lincoln

"We have a fun rule of going for a 'family activity' on SmartDays™ (workout at the gym, go to a movie, go out to dinner, etc.), and in a way we have a fun excuse to go out and save energy along the way!"
—SmartRate™ Customer, Bakersfield

"My family used the SmartDays™ to spend quality time together. We would all go around the house, turning off and unplugging appliances. Then, we got ready for a day in the pool. We would spend the whole day together with some cool drinks, fresh fruit, and plenty of sunscreen."
—SmartRate™ Customer, Bakersfield

"We turned off our TV, Internet, and video games, and used the times to play board games with my kids."
—SmartRate™ Customer, San Jose

"When family members began coming home from work, we would meet out on the shaded patio and have magazines or books to read...or other fun things that would not use electricity."
—SmartRate™ Customer, Woodland

"In our house we made the SmartDays™ sort of a contest. Each week we would see if we could find more appliances to unplug and challenged ourselves not to use any appliances on SmartDays. Each week we found more and more ways to save."
—SmartRate™ Customer, Davis

Getting Away on SmartDays

"We take the whole family out to the local pool and then go out to dinner!"
-SmartRate™ Customer, Los Altos

"On smart days we save energy by going to the mall or even to a movie at the dollar theater."
-SmartRate™ Customer, Bakersfield

"We turn off everything that can be turned off, head to the library and enjoy an afternoon of good reading."
-SmartRate™ Customer, Fresno

"I work during the day, so I make sure everything I can possibly turn off is off, including air conditioning. I make sure to go to the gym after work and do not return home until after the peak hours."
-SmartRate™ Customer, Clovis

"SmartRate hours…are a perfect time for a picnic at the park or to find the best shade tree and catch the outside breeze. Doing homework outside is encouraging."
—SmartRate™ Customer, Independence

"Instead of working a normal 8-to-5 day on SmartDays™, I’d work 10 to 7. Not being at home allowed me to set my A/C higher."
—SmartRate™ Customer, Fresno

“When we got the call there was going to be a SmartDay™, we planned to go to the park and have a BBQ with the kids. We had fun on SmartDays and saved $$$$.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Shafter

“I opted to spend extra hours at work on those days. While my house heated up, I was making extra money!”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Fresno

“I always made sure to go to the gym after work. This ensured that I got a great workout in and prevented me from using energy at home.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Davis

“Once notified of a SmartDay™, I would plan to go to a movie or the mall during the heat of the afternoon, leaving the A/C off.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Woodland

“I usually go to the public library or join some community service at the Senior Citizens Center or do some grocery shopping.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Davis

Planning Ahead for Savings

“I plan ahead for a SmartDay by not planning to use the stove or oven to cook dinner. We either cook outside on the grill or reheat something from the freezer in the microwave that is already cooked.”
-SmartRate™ Customer, Woodland

“On smart days I turn the refrigerator and the freezer up about 4 degrees so they run less for the 5 hour period.”
-SmartRate™ Customer, Sheridan

“Instead of heating up the oven to cook a meal on a day when we have to use the air conditioner, I plan ahead by putting dinner in the crock pot. This way the boys get a hot and filling meal, and the house stays cooler cheaper!”
-SmartRate™ Customer, Cloverdale

“I strung a clothesline between a pair of shade trees in my yard. I remembered how great line-dried sheets felt as a child. They still do!”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Bakersfield

“I run appliances in the morning before I leave for work, or after 7 p.m….I planned family outings so we can enjoy the cool air and participating stores.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Bakersfield

“I open my windows and doors each morning, I place box fans in the windows to trap the cool air and close the windows when it starts to get warm.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Manteca

"The night before the SmartDay™, I would walk through every room in the house and unplug EVERYTHING. In the kitchen, I unplugged every appliance. In the living room, I turned off the entertainment center surge strip.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, West Sacramento

“Rescheduled all timers for pool pump, sprinklers (hence well-pump operation), washer, and dryer operation to hours outside of SmartDay™ times.
—SmartRate™ Customer, Acampo

“If I knew the night before, I would make sure to wash a load of clothes, since I would not be able to wash the next day.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, West Sacramento

“Shutting down the printer, scanner, and fax, and using them outside of peak hours, wasn’t inconvenient.”
—SmartRate™ Customer, Fresno

At home on a SmartDay

Shift your chores

  • Perform household chores requiring power-hungry appliances—like clothes washers, dishwashers, pool pumps, and vacuums—before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m.

Pre-cool your home

  • Use less air conditioning during peak hours by pre-cooling your home in the morning and using fans to circulate the cooled air in the afternoons

Seal air leaks

  • Draw your shades to keep the sun’s rays out and seal air leaks around windows with low-cost weather stripping to keep pre-cooled air inside.

Unplug to save

  • Unplug cell phone chargers, small kitchen and bathroom appliances, electronics like computers and printers, and power tools if they’re not being used. Use power strips to turn off multiple devices with the flip of a switch.

Block standby power

  • Even when they’re not turned on, appliances and electronics can continue to draw power. Use energy-efficient power strips to block standby power to unused devices.

Prepare easy meals

  • Prepare afternoon snacks that don’t require opening the fridge or using the stove or oven. Dinner is as easy as a quick microwave meal or a summer- evening barbeque in the back yard.

Reduce non-essential lighting

  • Reduce or turn off lighting in non-essential areas. Consider a motion sensor in areas you use less often.

Out for the day

Take a day off

  • Enjoy an afternoon out—at the local pool, at your local library or park, or even take in a summer movie with the kids.

Unplug before leaving

  • Unplug non-essential devices such as microwaves, computers, printers, and entertainment electronics before you leave. Power strips make it easy to turn off multiple devices with the flip of a switch

Maintain comfort

  • Shut windows and draw the shades to maintain pre-cooled air from the morning or the night before.

Set your air conditioner

  • Set the air conditioning to turn on after 7 p.m. if you use a programmable thermostat.

Use online tools

Place your AC in the shade

  • Position your room air conditioner in a shady part of your home. A unit that is operating in the shade uses up to 10% less electricity than one placed in the sun.

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