Ameren Peak Time Rewards
Most of us pay a rigid rate for electricity that hardly ever changes. Ameren Illinois’ new advanced electric meters open the door for flexible, money-saving electricity opportunities such as the free Peak Time Rewards (PTR) program. It gives participating residential customers a credit on their bill for reducing electricity use during certain “peak” times, usually hot summer afternoons when electricity demand is highest. CUB supports the program because it carries no cost, and customers can earn money off their bill while reducing stress on the power grid.
Who Can Enroll in Peak Time Rewards?
The program is open to Ameren Illinois residential customers who have a new advanced electric meter that is connected to Ameren’s two-way communications network. (New advanced meters have a digital face and a yellow sticker.)
Commercial customers, as well as residential customers enrolled in a net metering program, cannot participate in Peak Time Rewards. If you’re not sure of your eligibility, call a program specialist, at 1-844-787-7874.
How Does it Work?
Under the program, Ameren will notify you of a “Peak Time Rewards event”—typically a few hours on a hot summer afternoon when electricity demand is expected to increase significantly. If you can reduce your electricity during that event, the utility will reward you with a bill credit for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) you save below a personal baseline. The baseline, which is different for each customer, is determined by reviewing your usage on similar days prior to the event. The credit will appear in the “Bill Message” section of your bill.
How big of a credit will I earn?
The rate used to calculate the bill credit earned is determined each spring, based on market rates for electricity. Given prices over the last few years, Ameren Illinois estimates that the credit could fall between 50 cents and $2 per kWh saved.
How Will I Know When a Peak Time Rewards Event Occurs?
When you enroll, you will choose to have notifications sent to you by phone call, text message, email—or all three. You have to maintain at least one working notification method to remain on the program, but it’s a good idea to be alerted through multiple channels. Ameren will send you a message the day before, or, in rare cases, on the day of an event. The utility won’t send messages before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m.
When Does Peak Time Rewards Begin?
Each program year begins June 1. Enrollment for that period is open from October 1 to March 1. Once you sign up, you will participate in the program until you decide to opt out. Even if it’s after March 1, customers are encouraged to enroll to be put on a wait list for the next program year. There is no cost to enroll and no penalty for exiting early.
Can I Enroll in Peak Time Rewards Even if I Have an Alternative Supplier for Electricity?
Yes, if you have enrolled with an alternative supplier for your electricity supply, you are still eligible for Ameren Illinois’ Peak Time Rewards program.
Are There Any Ameren Customers who Cannot Participate?
Commercial customers, residential customers on net metering—whereby they sell the renewable energy they generate back to the utility—and customers without networked advanced meters are currently ineligible for Peak Time Rewards.
How Much Money Can I Save Through Peak Time Rewards?
It depends on the amount of the credit, and how much you are able to reduce power usage during a peak time event. The program is expected to reward participants with a credit of roughly 50 cents to $2 for every kWh they reduce their power usage. Ameren Illinois will determine the total amount of a customer’s credit using a formula based on his or her typical usage history versus what the customer actually used during a designated “peak time” period.
The credit you earn will show up on your bill for the period in which a Peak Time Rewards event occurs. You can also view credits by logging on to your Ameren Illinois online account, at www.AmerenIllinois.com, and going to the “Bill History” tab.
Also, you can view your estimated usage and rewards approximately 24 hours following a Peak Time Rewards event, under the “Usage” tab of your online account.
What Can I Do to Lower My Electricity Usage?
These actions might be helpful during a Peak Time Rewards event:
- In the summer, turn up the thermostat 4 degrees.
- Avoid the use of major appliances, such as the dishwasher or dryer.
- Make use of helpful tools, such as a programmable thermostat and light timers to cut energy usage.
See CUB’s Energy Efficiency page, at www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org, to view other programs Ameren offers to help consumers reduce their electricity usage throughout the year.
What if I Don't Reduce My Electricity Usage During a Peak Time Rewards Event?
Customers who choose not to reduce their power usage won’t be penalized. They simply won’t get a credit for that event.
Remember, customers don’t immediately get a credit—they have to wait until their next bill. Also, each bill could have multiple credits for multiple events.
How is Peak Time Rewards Different From Power Smart Pricing?
Ameren Illinois’ Power Smart Pricing program offers a residential customer a way to save on electricity year round using day-ahead pricing. Customers enrolled in Power Smart Pricing pay an electricity rate that can change by the hour, based on the wholesale electricity market. Under this program, if you can shift heavy electricity usage to lower-demand periods (when prices are lower), you have the potential to save money. It’s an excellent program for households that have the flexibility to shift major power usage to times when prices are lowest.
Peak Time Rewards customers aren’t given special rates according to the time of day. They just receive a credit if they are able to shift their usage on certain days to lower-demand times. If they choose not to do that, they don’t pay a higher rate. They just don’t get the credit.
Ameren Illinois residential electric customers can enroll in both Peak Time Rewards and Power Smart Pricing simultaneously.