Country Living Series

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More power to ya

I've become mildly obsessed lately with saving electricity. We have a home that's approximately 2300 square feet, along with a shop with a home woodworking business. Our average monthly power bill has been about $45. A few weeks ago we learned our electricity rates were going to increase 13.2% starting this month.

So we've been trimming here and trimming there - putting up signs next to light switches advising each other to turn off the lights when not in use, etc.

Sure enough, our October bill reflected the price increase, along (frustratingly) with a $16.50 fee (up from $10) for a "Service Availability Charge" (in reality, we're paying for the electric company's new building). But - the electricity usage portion of our power bill was still $44.29. This meant we managed to trim 13.2% of our usage.

In the bill's accompanying newsletter, I learned an interesting thing. It said the average residential member uses 1000 kWh per month. We use 750 kWh (down from 780 kWh last year at this time).

So even though I'm grumping about the price increase, I guess we're not doing too badly.

9 comments:

  1. Are you on a co-op? We are (in TN), and our electricity runs us nearly $200 a month between the shop, barn and house. We do have 2 fridges and 2 freezers, and an electric water heater, but still, we would be delighted to pay even twice what you pay!

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  2. Patrice, that is awesome! What else do you do besides keep the lights turned off? Do you hang your laundry even in winter? We also have a 2300 sq. ft. house, but I've never been able to get our bill that low. I'm downright amazed! :) Gina

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  3. I feel ya on the powerbill. Thankfully,here in FL. the bill goes down in the winter so I'll have some relief shortly

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  4. Do you have a refridgerator? Freezer? How in the world are you getting by on 25kwh? I thought I was going good at 300kwh/month.

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  5. We have a second-hand fridge and a 25 cubic foot chest freezer (the biggest we could find) which we bought 10 yrs ago when Montgomery Ward's went out of business (meaning, it's not "energy star rated" or whatever). We heat exclusively with wood so that saves us a lot of money. We don't have a hot water heater - the house came with a hot-water-on-demand (propane) water heater. I *never* use our clothes dryer - I have three drying racks I use in the winter (I took photos and will post them soon). I didn't think 25kWh was unusual until I saw the power company's newsletter.

    - Patrice

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  6. After I posted my comment, my husband said, "You do realize that she lives in Idaho and we're in central Texas. That makes a huge difference when you have to use the A/C most months of the year." lol Hadn't thought of that.

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  7. Hi Patrice. Great blog. Enjoy your columns on WND.

    Was the 25 kwh a typo ? Many homes use 1,000 a month or so.

    On our rural ranch home (& business) formerly, we used 900 kwh per month, I did an 'energy survey / audit', (measuring & calculating consumption, etc), to discover possible areas of reduction.

    By switching out lights, appliances, preferring wood heat vs central gas, we reduced from 29 kwh / day to 13 kwh / day. I then installed a solar / wind & diesel off grid system sized for that consumption level - and not cheaply I can tell you. (this was in high desert of CA)

    Reducing consumption, as you've done, is the best solution. It's good medicine, but painful for those who are addicted to comfort (guilty as charged...)but great practice if the 'grid' goes down or becomes rationed.

    Now, we live in humid (East) Texas, and don't have the option of living without AC, which amounts to at least 50 % of our daily power use.

    God bless you all.....David in East Texas

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  8. Ooops - David, you were right. I re-checked our power bill and saw that I made a typo about our power usage (I've corrected it in the posting). We use 25kWh per DAY, not month - my bad. This means we use 750 kWh/month, down from 780 last year.

    Here in north Idaho, we have nasty heat in the summer that lasts about two or three weeks, then things ease back to tolerable levels. I'm not a "heat" person (nor is my husband), which is one of the reasons we chose N. Idaho to settle in. After fighting horrible heat in California and Oregon for so many years, the moderate summers up here are a blessing. I much prefer cooler weather.

    David, reducing your power usage to 13kWh/day is impressive - can you give more specific details on how you did that?
    - Patrice

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  9. Speaking of which...will the person who posted that he/she reduced his or her power usage to 300 kWh per month PLEASE give details as well?
    - Patrice

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