Sustainability Tip: All your questions about Holy Cross Energy’s Peak Time Payback program, answered |

Sustainability Tip: All your questions about Holy Cross Energy’s Peak Time Payback program, answered

In 2020, Holy Cross Energy released a new program for their members called the Peak Time Payback program. The goal is to save energy, thereby saving carbon emissions and saving customers money. So what is “peak time” exactly, and how do I get paid?

Peak times occur when the electric grid experiences a large amount of demand for energy, i.e. when everyone comes home from work at the same time and turns on their lights, TV’s, stoves, dryers, etc. During these times, Holy Cross Energy (HCE) must purchase additional power to meet the demand on their system. Most often, this power comes from outside sources, such as backup generation power plants that are powered with fossil fuels, usually coal or natural gas. And the additional power is expensive.

The Peak Time Payback program was designed to help HCE lower their peak demand energy bill by reducing energy consumption during peak times. Here’s how it works.

Save energy at home during Peak Times by turning off the lights, using fewer lights and waiting to run appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers.
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  1. Holy Cross Energy (HCE) customers sign up to be a part of the program. When HCE anticipates there will be a peak demand period, they send out a notification to all the members who have signed up, with the time and date of the peak time event. There are two types of peak events “High” and “Critical” (we’ll learn more about the difference soon).
  2. Holy Cross Energy customers try to reduce your energy consumption during those peak time events as much as possible. This could mean turning off lights, turning back your heat, delaying the start of dinner, etc.
  3. Holy Cross Energy will look at the electricity you used (in kilowatt hours) during the peak time event and will compare it to how much electricity you typically consume during that particular time of the day. HCE takes the average of the past 7 days of electricity consumption as your “typical use”.
  4. Whatever energy you managed to save during the peak time event, as opposed to your “typical use”, you get paid for. Now, the difference between “High” and “Critical” events. During “High” events, you get paid $0.50 for every kWh your save. During “Critical” events you get paid $1.00 for every kWh you save. This money will be credited back to you on your Holy Cross Electric bill each month.
  5. Let’s say, for example, you are hosting a dinner party, or can’t wait one more day to do laundry. These are not times you’re able to reduce your energy consumption. There is absolutely no penalty associated with the program. If you don’t save, you don’t get charged for it and life proceeds as normal.

Businesses and residents can both take advantage of this program and if your home or business has a high electricity bill, it is definitely worth signing up. Sign yourself up today at

Kim Schlaepfer is the Climate Action Collaborative Manager at Walking Mountains Science Center.

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