Smart Choice Rate FAQs

Smart Choice Rate FAQs

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Three important definitions to help you better understand the Smart Choice Rate

Peak Days
Peak days can occur June through September on hot summer weekdays when Cobb EMC forecasts that it will experience higher energy use that may impact its wholesale power costs. Cobb EMC will notify you a day before the peak day is expected. Peak days will exclude weekends and holidays.

Peak Hours
The period between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. when we are experiencing high peak energy use on peak days. Your Peak Service Charge will be determined by your energy use during this time.

Peak Service Charge
The Peak Service Charge recovers the fixed expense to have power available to use and meet your maximum needs during peak hours. The cost is determined by your highest one-hour consumption of energy during peak hours (Cobb EMC will notify you a day before the peak day is expected).

What is the Smart Choice Rate?

The Smart Choice Rate is a rate under which members benefit from a more balanced bill year round. The rate also gives members a way to save money and lower their annual cost of electric service by conserving energy during peak days each summer.

Breakdown of charges
Service charge* $28.00 per month
Peak service charge  

First 3.0 kWh/hour billed

$0.00 per kWh/hour

Over 3.0 kWh/hour billed

$5.55 per kWh/hour
Energy charge $0.07181 per kWh

*The service charge recovers portions of cost associated with maintaining the physical distribution system such as wire, transformers and poles, as well as business operation costs such as billing, postage and the member care center.

How is the Peak Service Charge determined?

  • The Peak Service Charge is based on the highest one-hour consumption of energy (kWh/hour) established by the member during peak hours, which Cobb EMC will specify one day in advance.
  • For new members, the Peak Service Charge shall be based on the member's highest one-hour consumption of energy during the current billing month until a Peak Day occurs.
  • Peak days will typically occur June through September between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. during weekdays when Cobb EMC forecasts that we will experience high peak use conditions. Cobb EMC will not call for Peak Days during holidays or weekends.

Summary of peak hours:

  • June through September only on peak days
  • Peak hour times: 2-7 p.m.
  • No weekends or holidays

Once my Peak Service Charge is determined, how long will it remain on my electric bill?

Once the Peak Service Charge has been determined during notified peak days, this charge remains the same for up to 12 months or until a new Peak Service Charge is established.

How do I control my Peak Service Charge?

  • Members can control their Peak Service Charge by taking steps to lower energy consumption during Peak Hours, such as not using all appliances at once during peak hours.
  • Improve the efficiency of the house.
  • Between 2-7 p.m., June through September, on specified peak days avoid the activities listed below:
    • Running the dishwasher, electric washer and dryer or electric water heater at the same time
    • Using the oven for cooking, which will heat your kitchen and make your air conditioner work longer and harder
    • Turning all of your electronics on at once, such as the TV, game consoles and computers
  • To save energy, consider the activities listed below:
    • Pre-cool your home before peak hours with a programmable thermostat. Set your thermostat to 80 degrees or higher during peak hours.
    • Enjoy outdoor activities
    • Grill outside
    • Complete a yearly HVAC tuneup
    • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Check out our peak day toolkit, which contains tips and tools for members on the Smart Choice Rate.

What is peak use (demand) vs. energy use?

  • Peak use (demand) is the maximum energy need for an hour – set by the member – for the utility to have available at all times to meet everyone’s maximum needs during peak hours.
  • Energy use, also referred to as consumption, is the total amount of energy used by the member – usually over a longer period, such as a whole month.


If a 100-watt lightbulb is on for 10 hours, it consumes 1,000 watt-hours. The entire time it's on, it demands 100 watts or .01kW from the utility. That means Cobb EMC must have that .01kW ready whenever the member turns on the lamp.

 100 watt lightbulb

Similarly, ten 100-watt lightbulbs burning for 1 hour consume 1,000 watt-hours or 1kWh.

 100 watt lightbulb

Note that in both examples, the energy use is 1kWh, however, notice how the second situation impacts the utility from a demand perspective. Cobb EMC must now be prepared to provide ten times as much capacity in response to the demand of the 10 lightbulbs operating all at once.


How does the Smart Choice Rate allow members to choose to lower their bill?

Cobb EMC’s Smart Choice Rate ensures that members who use a significant amount of energy during peak hours pay for its availability, and those members who use less pay less by lowering their use during peak hours. Every member has a different need for power at different times. Since electricity cannot be stored, we must have available resources on standby to meet the sum of each member’s needs during peak hours. To fairly cover the cost of power production and transmission, utilities use rates like Smart Choice.

What are the benefits of the Smart Choice Rate?

The Smart Choice Rate gives you a simple way to reduce your annual electric bill and makes budgeting easy by minimizing fluctuation in power bills. You also pay a lower energy charge.

Will I save energy/money with this rate plan?

Members can save money by reducing energy use on peak days and taking advantage of a lower energy charge. The Smart Choice Rate allows you to more easily budget expenses and encourages you to watch your energy use during specified hours and take some energy conservation measures to help you save energy and money. If you can shift your use of major appliances during peak hours (2-7 p.m. on specified days), you can lower your annual cost of electric service.

How do I sign up for the Smart Choice Rate plan?

  • Sign up online
  • Call 770-429-2100

How do I access my daily and hourly energy use?

Will my daily and hourly energy use show peak days?

Yes. Use the Usage Explorer tool (sign up or sign in to online account management) to see a marker for peak days. Select the month you wish to view and make sure you're on the Daily Usage view to see all the days within that month. This view will display the peak hour marker.

Peak Day Marker

Hover over the marker to see the date the peak day occurred. You can also click on the green bar for that day to view hourly energy use.

Peak Day Marker Hourly

How will members be notified if it's a peak day?

Members will be notified one day before a peak day is expected via email. Cobb EMC will send an email notification if the peak day is canceled. Peak days occur on certain weekdays during the months of June through September, 2-7 p.m., when Cobb EMC forecasts that it will experience peak use. Peak days will exclude weekends and holidays.

  • Email: Make sure we have your correct email address by logging in to your account. Add Cobb EMC to your safe senders list to avoid spam.
  • Website
  • Cobb EMC app
  • Online account management alert
  • 770-429-2223

How many times a year will Cobb EMC call for peak days?

Peak days are driven by the overall demand for power by Cobb EMC members, and the weather. It’s hard to predict how many peak days will occur each summer between June and September. Cobb EMC will only set peak days when there is a high probability that it will have a very high energy use day that will impact wholesale power costs. Based on historical peak period data, the number of days in which Cobb EMC may identify as peak days ranges from 5-20 days, but can vary depending on weather. 

Why would Cobb EMC cancel a peak day?

Cobb EMC may cancel a peak day due to sudden changes in regional weather conditions, along with larger than expected fluctuations in system load. Cobb EMC will send a notification if a peak day is canceled.

What happens during the weekends and holidays?

Peak days will exclude weekends and holidays. However, we may send a notification if a peak day is expected the day after a holiday or weekend.

How does the Smart Choice Rate affect me if I have an electric vehicle charger?

Smart Choice is an excellent rate for members who have electric vehicles. All energy consumed outside of peak hours is billed at $0.07181/kWh. If you simply avoid charging during peak hours, then you will only be paying $0.07181/kWh to charge your vehicle.

What do all of these items on my bill mean?

Click here for detailed information about your bill.

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