HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia Power customers will soon be asked if they're willing to do laundry late at night to save some money on their bills.

With an electric scooter as a primary mode of transportation, Ed Julian is certainly aware of what he pays for power every month, and like many Nova Scotians, it's too high for his liking.

"It's quite high, $242 a month is quite high for month-to-month power for a budgeting power bill, right?" Julian says.

After being shelved for a while because of COVID-19, the power utility has ramped up its smart meter replacement program again, with an aim to have half-a-million installed by next year.

The meters feed real-time data back to Nova Scotia Power, but that may only be the beginning of a significant change for customers.

The company has filed paperwork with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, seeking approval for a consultation process to launch widespread time-of-day pricing tariffs.

On Monday, the company said the program it has in mind would be voluntary, and smart meter technology, combined with the time-of-day pricing, would allow customers to manage the energy they use, track it easier, and ultimately save money on their power bills.

"Smart meter technology, combined with the time varying pricing, will allow customers to manage the energy they use and more easily track their use, resulting in an opportunity for customers to save on energy costs," said Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster.

"We are proposing a consultative process where we would work with customer representatives and other stakeholders on the key elements of the pricing plan, ahead of filing the application to the UARB in November. We will look for options that reflect the lifestyle and energy needs of our customers. We are committed to keeping rates stable and affordable for our customers."

The province's consumer advocate points out some customers already have time-of-day rates, but lowering overall costs by shifting loads on the grid during peak periods will ultimately be good for everybody.

"Those peaks cost a lot of money," said William Mahody. "This proposal would make it more broadly available to customers, purely on a voluntary basis where customers would be able to opt into the program if they chose to do this."

It's an idea worth considering, says Julian, who would be willing to sign up.

"I would have no problem making changes to save money on my power bill," he said. "Power bills are getting quite high."

It's an observation made by many as time-of-day tariff talk starts to heat up.

Anyone who wants to share their thoughts with the UARB has until July 24 to make a written submission or get on the list to comment in person.