Navigating power contract limits in an energy-driven world

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In an ever energy-dependent yet conscious world, it can be tricky to find the correct balance between powering your home efficiently while avoiding overconsumption, which can lead to overspending on household bills and overloading the electrical grid at peak times.

With our busy lives, thinking about which appliances are running at any given moment is often an afterthought in the back of our minds, and simply adds to the mental load for many. Especially as today, the list of electrical appliances just keeps growing; more of us are switching to electricity for heating and cooking, the uptake in electrical vehicles is higher than ever, and that’s just to name a few. Add onto that, that today most of these appliances are also smart connected devices that utilise the internet, which also relies on power.

This is where home energy management solutions (HEMS) come in, by ensuring that electricity contract and physical limits are not exceeded, sustainable practices are achieved, and energy bills remain cost-efficient, all without having you needing to find extra hours in the day to achieve all of this!

Understanding the limits

There are two types of limits that can impact our homes; physical limits and contractual limits.

When it comes to the capacity of the wiring and distribution system, every home has a physical limit; what that maximum is varies in different countries around the world. This capacity limit sets out the maximum electricity supply that can be used at once. Go above that limit and have too many electrical devices running at once, and you could find that your power trips just when you need it not to.

Meanwhile, a power contract limit is a contract agreed with your energy provider, that sets out a maximum amount of electricity available to a household during a set time. In many cases, the higher the power contract limit, the higher the cost to you.

Depending on the contract you are on and the country you live in, going over this limit can have two possible outcomes; it may cause your power to trip and it will almost certainly lead to significant extra charges to your energy bill.

So, when adding new electrical loads onto home that are particularly large, such as EV charging, you’ll likely need to increase your power contract limit with your energy provider to avoid any issues.

When you combine the rising cost of living with our expanding reliance on technology and electrical products, it’s clear that if not carefully managed, there could be some nasty surprises lurking around the corner.

So, how can we make this more easily manageable, so you don’t need to worry?

How HEMS can help

A home energy management solution (HEMS) helps you manage your energy consumption through intuitive automation.

When it comes to avoiding overpowering your limit, HEMS gathers data from around your home to balance loads. This is done by way of distributing consumption across the appliances you’re using without exceeding the power limit. To achieve this, your HEMS might automatically adjust distribution schedules, so that high-load appliances don’t run together at the same time.

One of the common examples now that more of us are opting for electric cars are the EV chargers being installed, as these typically have a high load. At full speed, the charge of the EV is likely to use 80% of your power capacity allowed in the contract, which means you are most probably not going to use your electric stove at the same time.

So, what does this mean for you, without having to compromise on the other appliances you’re using?

One option would be to manually make a schedule to keep track of what loads you’re using when to calculate when you can charge your car, and making sure you stick to it. But who wants to do that? Instead, HEMS can save you time and hassle by determining the best times to charge your car without exceeding the limit. Better yet, it will even automatically start charging your car at the right time without you needing to go around your home switching things on and off.

And the benefits when it comes to staying within your limits doesn’t end there. Once you know that you’ve got your loads all under control, HEMS can even help you understand whether the contractual limit you’re currently on fits your energy demand, because who wants to be paying more than they need to? Based on the information HEMS can provide, you may find you are able to switch to a lower contract to save even more.

While Power Contract Limits exist to maintain a stable grid and motivate us to think more sustainably, the unpredictability and busyness of our lives can make it difficult to manage the loads of multiple devices and appliances. Given that 29% of all energy consumption is created by the residential sector, HEMS can play a pivotal role in supporting you to stay within these limits, not only to ensure savings on energy costs but to contribute to a more energy-efficient world, reducing consumption significantly.

Learn how Home Energy Management Systems like Wiser can support your household’s needs.

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