Getting a REALLY Low Power Bill

Oh, this is funny.  I’m doing something at work and manage to find out the average residential customer in Saskatchewan uses about 700 kwh per month of power in 2007.  Since I know I’m a bit more frugal than that I look up my old power bills for 2007.  I’m averaging 323 kwh per month or less than half of the average.

So since I’m insanely lower than everyone else I’ll give you a blueprint to a cheap power bill.

  1. Slowly install lower power consumption products.  Start with switching the regular light bulbs to CFL’s and then keep working down the list of TV, DVD players, fridge, dryer, dishwasher.  You want to keep buying ‘energy star’ products and also compare power consumption when buying big consumers like a fridge.  Also avoid buying red displays which consume more energy, so buy an alarm clock with blue/green lights.
  2. Manage the usage.  It may seem a bit obvious but remember to turn off a light when you leave the room.  If you are not using a charger unplug it.  If you are not using the computer turn off.  Each action in of itself is minor, but when an entire family gets into the habit the savings start to really add up.
  3. Use power bars to cut the connection.  Lots of products today like your TV, computer, DVD player all consume power in their standby mode.  If you plug them all into a power bar and turn off the bar you reduce that load to zero.  If you want to be lazy about this plug the power bar into a timer and shut off everything in the house between when you go to bed and when ever you usually get up.

That’s it.  The super short and easy guide to a cheaper power bill.  Also if your hot water heater is electric consider putting it on a timer as well to cut back the wasted heat.

12 thoughts on “Getting a REALLY Low Power Bill”

  1. Our average is somewhere between yours and the average you posted – usually a little above the midway point. I’m so glad you brought this up, because it irritates me no end to see articles telling consumers to reduce their consumption, without giving any indication as to what is normal, average, high or low.

    Saving 10% on an already low bill, is going to be much less significant than saving even 5% on an enormous one.

    The recent building boom has resulted in the construction of many new enormous new houses with dual heating/cooling systems throughout North America. While these houses are no doubt much better insulated than older models (ours dates from 1952 and is smaller than 2,000 square feet), it seems to me that size matters a lot.

    We open the windows instead of the central air in the summer, except on the few days when it is really unbearably hot. We replaced all our light bulbs with high efficiency ones as the old ones burned out, and noticed a steady reduction in our power bill during the convesion process, which lasted about a year.

    It’s all about perspective, and unfortunately, consumers are not provided with much information about their relative position. At least, that has been my experience.

  2. Good points on how to reduce electricty bills. I’ve done a few things like the CFL’s but I really need to start switching off those appliances by the plug too.

    One thing I did notice when I moved last time is that my power bill actually increased significantly and my friend told me it might be the old fridge, so I really need to check it out.

  3. This reminds me of an old rant of mine, which might help with the ideas for your new job:

    Back when I lived by myself in an apartment, I naturally did all the right stuff to save on electricity: turning devices off when not in use, CFLs, etc. My power bill was so low that the majority of it was the monthly admin charge. I always found it counterproductive to saving energy when my bills were hardly affected by how much I used (~$20 admin charge on a ~$30 power bill).

    Now that I’m using more power in a larger house, etc., conservation measures do have some impact, but a good quarter-to-a-third of the bill is still the monthly admin charge (and no, they can’t just bill me annually — I asked).

    For most families that’s probably not a factor, but it might be something to explore with your new employer (perhaps combine waiving the fixed fee, if you have one out there, with things like remote reporting meters or ToU metering).

  4. Hey, that’s cool info. I checked my SaskP bill and my equalized usage is 464kwh. I know I can do much better b/c sometimes I will realize I have on every light in the apartment, the tv on in the other room, plus, I never turn off the computer. My bad. So I am going to make a concerted effort to get my useage down.
    The only drawback is that I won’t be able to see how I’m doing until the end of the year and they do the ‘adjustment.’
    Oh, I have an idea, it can be one of my New Year’s Resolutions. Power bars, CFC’s, unplug all unused appliances,etc. I’m gonna do a ‘power’ overhaul and take a closer look at everything that I can do to decrease my useage and so how low can I go….

    P.S. Congrats on the new job, I work at the STel and it’s a great thing to work for a Crown, you’re really gonna like it(and hate it hahaha)


  5. Trac,

    Natural gas for the heat and the water heater. Yes, if you use electric power for heat you can do the usual items to reduce your heating bill (turn down the heat, seal everything, heat only the rooms you use, etc).


    I agree that is a beef of mine too. I would personally like to see lower fixed rates and higher consumption rates to encourage people to reduce consumption.


    Like/hate. Yep, I know that feeling already. Everyone is screaming this week “you guys put up the rates by 13% for next year!” Yet they all forgot we didn’t have a rate increase last year and with a boom in population the only option is to use more natural gas to generate the power which is very expensive. *sigh*


  6. We use 2 cards: the President’s Choice card (free of course) for personal stuff pays 1% in groceries, as well as certain bonuses for promoted items, though I seldom find myself buying these.

    For our business usage, we have a TD Gold Elite. While they charge $99, they do pay back 1% in cash annually and also provide Auto Club coverage, which is essentially free auto towing service (I have used this twice, and feel we got more than our money’s worth there). While I don’t like paying the $99, we get way more back in rebates, and I no longer find myself wondering if it’s worth joining the CAA.

    At the end of the day, my decision regarding credit cards has a lot to do with which bank we’re with. Since I never carry a credit card balance, to me it’s important to easily and quickly transfer the balance each month. I have found in the past that this isn’t always easy to do online if you’re transferring money to institutions you don’t bank with.

  7. Oops, silly me! wrong blog! That was my response to a really good post over on Four Pillars, but most of you probably read that blog too …:-(

  8. neat post. i’d add that if you’re not technology-shy, you could get a couple of IR motion detectors hooked up to the lights in the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. i have a couple at home, you forget about having to switch off the lights after a while. helps save on the bills too.

    you got it a bit backwards on “avoid buying red displays which consume more energy” though. red spectrum consumes least energy, being a lower frequency wave ( green will consume a bit more, and blue – the most. regardless, the difference is probably negligible in case of something as little as an alarm-clock. i’d watch for efficiency of bigger items instead, like stoves, fridges, dryers, etc.

  9. We are a family of 5 and use 270kWh per month. We have electric hot water on a timer (4 to 10 pm), 2 laptops and a desktop, no TV, no fridge but a freezer, an European washing machine and all low power lighting.
    The biggest reduction came when I sold our old desktop and replaced it with a new one with flat screen.
    The next big reduction will come from either an on-demand propan or a solar water heater to replace the electric water heater.
    We heat with wood only.

  10. I live in the UK and our power company actually sent us a box for free of power saving light bulbs and also a kettle.

    The biggest offenders of wasting electric are “children” grown or ungrown. I’ve spent many years running around after my two switching off lights and computers in their bedrooms when they’ve gone out for the evening.

    They’ve now got their own places, thankfully and our power bills have gone down.

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