Xcel Energy Efficiency and Grid Programs
Welcome to the eighth installment of Sterling Ranch's crash course on energy! In this email, we'll be highlighting some of the pricing plans, programs, and rebates that make energy action accessible to Xcel Energy customers.
Understanding Your Pricing Plan
As an Xcel Energy customer, the thing that likely matters the most to you when it comes to your utility is that it does its job well and provides you with stable, affordable electricity and gas. The way that utilities like Xcel Energy price energy for their customers involves a careful balance of keeping energy financially accessible for customers and investing funds to maintain and expand energy grid infrastructure as areas develop.

In 2022, Xcel Energy began transitioning all customers to smart meters over a 3 year period. With the new smart meters, Xcel Energy customers are able to choose between two pricing plans:
Time of Use
(TOU) Pricing
This plan has variable rates for Summer and Winter energy use that change throughout the day with the cost of energy production, allowing residents to
enjoy cheaper rates for concentrating their energy use during off-peak times.
Residential Opt
Out Pricing
This plan allows residents to opt out of TOU pricing and receive flat rates for Summer and Winter energy use instead.
Click the button below to find an information sheet on why Xcel Energy undertook this change and what it means for customers.
Why Time of Use Pricing?

As discussed in more depth in the second segment of Sterling Ranch's crash course on energy, residential energy use tends to increase drastically in the afternoon and evening. Because energy production and demand on the grid must be in near-perfect balance at all times, this energy peak can present challenges for energy producers looking to meet demand in a secure and sustainable way.

Time of Use pricing rewards residential customers for taking energy actions to turn their heating and cooling systems down a few degrees or shift energy-intensive appliance use out of peak demand times to more evenly distribute energy loads throughout the day. The figure to the left illustrates what Xcel Energy's Time of Use rate structure will look like for Non-Holiday weekdays.
A significant impact of Time of Use pricing is that it allows for residential energy demands to more easily be met by renewable sources of energy. Solar energy is produced during daylight hours that for the most part fall before peak demand hours, so shifting energy use to earlier in the day allows for a greater portion of the solar energy generated on the grid to be utilized. If you have your own solar system on your home, making a focused effort to concentrate your variable energy loads during peak solar production hours allows you to get the most bang for your buck!

Energy Efficiency Programs Offered by Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy offers a variety of programs that make it easy for participants to get involved in energy action! Read on below or at Xcel Energy's Residential Services site to learn more about your options.
Saver's Switch
Participation in the Saver's Switch program gives Xcel Energy the ability to cycle your AC off and on at 15 to 20 minute intervals on a few days each year. However, with fans circulating already-cooled air throughout your home, most customers don't even notice when Saver's Switch is activated! This cycling allows Xcel to manage the peak energy demand from AC systems on hot summer days, reducing the strain on your energy infrastructure. 

If you are eligible to participate in Saver's Switch, you will receive a $40 credit on your October electric bill each year you participate in the program.

Home Energy Squad®
Xcel Energy's Home Energy Squad program provides virtual and in-person visits to customers to help them identify key opportunities for efficiency improvements in aging homes. Virtual visits involve video calling an energy professional for a consultation and installing a set of DIY improvement materials that are shipped to you at no cost. There are two tiers of in-person Home Energy Squad visits, both of which involve an energy professional coming to your home to carry out improvements such as replacing lightbulbs with LEDs, swapping out faucets and showerheads for more efficient models, and weather stripping doors.
The Home Energy Squad Plus visit additionally involves the performance of a Home Energy Audit that includes mechanical system inspections, a blower door test, infrared imaging of your home, and more. With the program providing a $600 value in energy testing and improvements for just $150, it's a great option to keep in mind for anyone looking to maintain their home's efficiency over time!

Why Energy Audits are a good idea
Energy Audits allow you to understand your home's energy performance comprehensively as it ages. This is advantageous compared to fixing self-identified problems in your home's envelope as you notice them because a whole-home efficiency approach allows you to identify root causes of leaks and assess what solutions will have the greatest impact on your home's energy performance.
LED Discounts
If you don't already have LEDs in your home, enter your zip code in Xcel Energy's LED Discount Locator tool to find stores near you at which Xcel Energy has discounted the price of a range of LED lighting products. LED bulbs use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so switching to LED lighting is a great way to light your home more efficiently.1
Savings Available Through Xcel Energy
When it comes time to replace old appliances or systems, Xcel Energy provides several savings opportunities for customers interested in choosing energy-efficient upgrades. Follow the links below to learn more about what's available to you.
Insulation and
Air Sealing
Rebates are available for air sealing, attic insulation, and wall sealing.
Water Heaters
Rebates are available for electric and gas water heaters. Depending on whether you have a tank or tankless water heater, it's recommended that you replace your water heater every 6-12 years.2 When it's time to get a new one, consider making the switch to electric and participating in Xcel Energy's Smart Water Heater Program for additional savings!
Whole Home Efficiency
For Xcel Energy customers who have completed a Home Energy Audit, rebates are a available for a variety of appliances and heating and cooling systems.
Xcel Energy Store
Find discounts on lighting, weatherization materials, power strips, climate control devices, and more!
Tips for Energy Action
  • If your home was built recently, you likely won't need any major appliance upgrades or energy audits for quite some time because your home was constructed to highly efficient standards. To help keep your home's energy efficiency in mind as it ages, consider scheduling a reminder for a couple years into the future to schedule a full home energy audit.
  • Even if your home is new, Xcel Energy's Saver's Switch program offers an easy and accessible way to get involved in softening energy demand peaks! Consider enrolling to try it out for a year.
  • Have you opted-out of Time of Use pricing? Consider trying it out for a month to see how changing up some of your energy usage patterns can allow you to receive cheaper energy while supporting a sustainable grid!