How Much Money Would It Take To Sacrifice Comfort?

Here in Utah, the average temperature during the summer is only about 86 degrees. The record high is only 107 degrees which pales in comparison to many of the neighboring desert states. So when the major electric company here sent out fliers offering a cut on your electric bill if you signed up for a program called the Cool Keeper, it piqued my interest.

In general, I am not one to worry much about the temperature. I stay pretty comfortable at whatever the natural temperature is in the house, or even outside. Yea, sometimes I get hot when I’m outside in the middle of the day, but I let my body do it’s natural thing which is sweating to cool the body down. I have no problem with a little sweat.

My wife on the other hand comes from a family that loves their AC units like a member of the family. If it’s even a few degrees over what she thinks is comfortable, there is no end to the complaints 🙂 she doesn’t care what it costs to run the AC as long as she is comfortable. We have come to a compromise in the years we have been together and keep the thermostat in a range that is easy on the wallet and keeps my wife happy but she was very standoffish when I told her about the Cool Keeper program.

Let me explain the program in a bit more detail..

Once you enroll in the Cool Keeper program, the electric company installs a device on your air conditioning unit that basically deactivates the cooling process during peak electricity usage. The device only runs during the hottest months of the year, June, July and August. It runs between the hours of 2pm and 8pm and It does not run on holidays or weekends.

Although the device deactivates your air conditioners ability to cool, it does this in 15 minute intervals during it’s time of activation and your air conditioners fan system still runs allowing cold air that is already in the house to circulate.

From the electric companies website, they explain that all the Cool Keepers that are installed in a neighborhood are activated or deactivated in coordination with each other to help keep the energy demand balanced. They say that the temperature in your home may drop between 1 and 3 degrees during the time the Cool Keeper is activated but out of all people surveyed that use the device, most customers don’t notice the change in temperature.

The installation and support of the device is free, and in exchange for having it installed, you are given a $20 “thank you” credit on your electricity bill every Fall. There is no contract to join the program, and you can opt out if you find it too troublesome, plus the company will give you a partial credit if you did have the device during some of the Summer months.

For me, seeing the benefits of the program, the monetary gain, and the fact that 98% of Cool Keeper participants are satisfied with the program according to the electric company, I have been trying to convince my wife to let them install it for about four years now. This past Winter, the electric company was offering an additional $25 in cash for those that signed up. That credit plus the annual credit alone could cover a few of our Winter month electric bills (at about $14 a month during the colder months) so I made the call.

So far, being a participant of the Cool Keeper program has been uneventful and my wife said that there was only one day that she noticed the Cool Keeper running. It was a couple weeks ago, and the outside temperature reached nearly 100 degrees during the time the Cool Keeper would have been activated.

A quick calculation ($20 divided by 270 hours (540 total hours, 15 minute intervals = .074) tells me that we are paid approximately .8 cents for every hour during the peak months as participants of the Cool Keeper program.

Would you join the Cool Keeper program for .8 cents an hour?

Image by Anosmia

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19 People have left comments on this post



» joetaxpayerNo Gravatar said: { Jul 28, 2010 - 08:07:18 }

Let me answer this way – when I lived with my parents, working minimum wage, $3/hr to cool my room, in the attic no less, it cost 10 cents per hour. In the summer, I paid $1/day to run it when I slept.
I'll cut coupons. I'll wear sweaters in the winter. I'll eat rice and beans.
I won't sweat in my house in the summer.
70F in summer, 66F in winter
My recent post The State of the Estate Tax

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jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

🙂 Joe, you make me chuckle. Way to be blunt and stand your ground hah

Any insight into your families thoughts on this? Is your wife hot or cold blooded?

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» joetaxpayerNo Gravatar said: { Jul 28, 2010 - 09:07:24 }

To be more blunt – she's passing menopause, so cold house is great for hot flashes.
I pay extra in summer, save in winter, not too bad.
Strange though, we have issues with the temperature in the car, but that's another story.
My recent post The State of the Estate Tax

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jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ah..understandable 🙂 I would pay the extra if my wife wasn't so understanding and pleasant which as I understand it, menopause can create the opposite effect.

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» Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar said: { Jul 31, 2010 - 05:07:48 }

I'm willing to pay A LOT to be comfortable! I love the SF Bay Area b/c I seldom ever sweat and feel uncomfortable. The downside is living costs. But, you get paid much more out here too.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ah the golden coast…I can understand paying more when you have more, that’s for sure, but comfort is one of the first things I am willing to give up if we are hurting for money, second to convenience.

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» Fumio KataokaNo Gravatar said: { Aug 1, 2010 - 04:08:00 }

In Tokyo it has been hot,86~95F!, for two weeks. Many people have been suffered from heat illness.I myself like hot days, having enjoyed hot summer

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» Fumio KataokaNo Gravatar said: { Aug 1, 2010 - 05:08:00 }

In Tokyo it has been hot,86~95F!, for two weeks. Many people have been suffered from heat illness.I myself like hot days, having enjoyed hot summer days.

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» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 2, 2010 - 10:08:00 }

I enjoy the heat too! I can't take the winter cold…why do I live in Utah again? 🙂 Thanks for commenting K! Take care of yo

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» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 2, 2010 - 11:08:00 }

I enjoy the heat too! I can't take the winter cold…why do I live in Utah again? 🙂 Thanks for commenting K! Take care of yourself

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» Money BeagleNo Gravatar said: { Aug 3, 2010 - 03:08:50 }

I think they did (and maybe still do) have a program like that locally. It's something that I've thought about looking into. This post will get it added to my to-do list!
My recent post Three Ways To Control Impulse Spending

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Get it going! 🙂 After publishing this article, I actually read there was a bill being pushed that would mandate everyone in the state here be signed up for the program and would require them to opt-out if they didn't want it. It would have made a huge impact on the states power usage, but the bill caused a lot of confusion and was put down.

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» stevenabbNo Gravatar said: { Aug 13, 2010 - 04:08:03 }

Thanks for sharing! I like all things piked and would try to come here time and again for more updates. Great Job!! These are the tips when every one need at the time of financial crises..

Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer
My recent post Chapter 13 bankruptcy or debt consolidation – Which is better

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks for commenting on this Steven!

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» Katie Stefan JohnsonNo Gravatar said: { Aug 13, 2010 - 10:08:00 }

Not sure I would do it, considering electricity costs much more in CA than

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» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 14, 2010 - 09:08:00 }

That's the point, the program saves you money but you have to be a little uncomfortable to get

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» Katie Stefan JohnsonNo Gravatar said: { Aug 18, 2010 - 12:08:29 }

Not sure I would do it, considering electricity costs much more in CA than Utah.

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» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 18, 2010 - 12:08:30 }

That's the point, the program saves you money but you have to be a little uncomfortable to get it 🙂

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