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For those of you who didn’t see my ‘first impression’ post, here’s a link for you.
Well, as the text in the title implies, it’s just over a month since we joined Powershop and it’s time to write a follow up on how things are going.
Last time I complained about the start up costs (of going from paying in arrears to paying in advance) and this was aweful, with another ~$150 bill hitting us during this period on our credit card.Â However, in terms of Powershop (and this was the only power company we actually used this month) we managed to spend $200, a drop of about $30.Â This was more to do with power savings than cheaper power (more on that later) but was still good.
One of my goals is to drop our monthly power bill to $150 per month year round.Â I plan to do this by buying power in advance during summer and autumn so that we have a big balance to be used during the winter next year.Â From what I can see, I’m definitely going to be able to do this.
You may also be interested in ‘Final Powershop Review – 1 Year On‘
In terms of power saving, I realised pretty quickly that I needed to know what each of my devices was using.Â “Why isn’t there a device I can just plug everything into and it tells me on a screen how much power it’s using” I said to Megan.Â Literally hours later, while going into Countdown I spotted exactly that, a simple meter for $25.
I came home and proceeded to get completely neurotic about measuring power consumption of heaps of stuff.Â We got power savings from things which used unusually big amounts of power, but also things which we would expect to use quite a bit of power (e.g. our LCD tv) but never really thought enough about to turn off.Â This has changed.
The two most interesting things for me was the PC (which uses about as much power as our 40″ LCD tv even when sitting idle, we’re now using sleep mode in Win7) and our electric heater.
What was interesting about our heater wasn’t that it used a lot (that was pretty obvious) but the impact of using the different switches.Â There are two switches that can be used, so three combinations, left only, right only and both.Â Left turned out to use 822 watts (about 18 cents an hour) the right one used 1346 watts (about 29 cents an hour) and both used 2108 watts, a wapping 46 cents an hour.Â So I suggested that instead of waiting for it to get really cold inside and then using both switches, we should turn the heater on earlier and just use the left switch, it has made a big difference.
So, what’s my conclusion?Â Powershop turns out to do exactly what it says it’s going to do.Â It saves you money, it makes you more aware of how much power you’re consuming and when, and it gives you a desire to use less and less power.
Ari Sargent, head of Powershop made a post a while back to stick his foot into the ‘smart meter’ debate.Â He advocated power users as the ‘smart meters’ using a company like Powershop.Â I believe he is absoloutely right, as my experience has proven out.Â While smart meters still have a place (understanding power consumption on devices I couldn’t get access to and turning off devices according to timings or other patterns) they shouldn’t be seen as the first step to helping people reduce their usage.
It’s pretty scary to think how much less power the country would consume if they were all on Powershop.Â Pretty exciting actually.