Time-based electricity programs encourage you to use energy when the demand is low by giving you a lower price for electricity during those times.
To help reduce their peak power demands and save money, many utilities are introducing programs that encourage their customers to use electricity during off-peak hours. The programs pass on the savings to you, the customer, through rebates or reduced electricity rates.
Smart meters and home energy management systems allow customers to program how and when their home uses energy. Such programs might charge you the actual cost of power at any one time, ranging from high prices during times of peak demand to low prices during off-peak hours. If you are able to shift your power use to off-peak times -- such as running your dishwasher late in the evening -- these programs can save you money while helping your utility.
Time-based rates are very attractive to owners of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles since typically these vehicles are recharged at night. See the Transportation tips for more information.