I have a new electricity supplier. Not exciting in itself, but this morning I received an electricity monitor from them. It connects to the main electricity cable of the house and remotely transmits the figures to a plugged in display (which uses electricity – the irony). However, it’s a simple thing, showing the usage of electricity as well as the temperature and time. But it’s fascinating to watch what guzzles the electricity. I had to stop my self from going around the house turning everything on to discover how much electricity it used. My boyfriend was brilliant – immediately jumping out of bed (well, it did arrive on a Saturday morning) to set it up and see how much electricity his computer uses. Gadgets may be able to make even turning the TV off standby cool.
I’ve often been dubious about the use of such things. The counter does not reduce energy usage (in fact, it must increase it very slightly). The only thing it can do is show people how much energy they are using. It is then up to people to alter their behaviour based on better knowledge. Carbon Footprint Calculators, electricity monitors, all of these things only show us the situation; it is up to us to Change it.
But I have to admit, seeing it pounds and pence (or kwatts) has already made me much more aware of how much energy (and money) I’m using making breakfast (kettle – check the amount of water, microwave – high or low power). Obviously the real test is in whether it continues. But as an energy saving game for the kids (or adults 🙂 ) I can’t possibly fault it. A neat, clever way of raising awareness, not to mention saving a bit of money.
I am not advertising or endorsing – but for your information – free electricity monitors are available from Southern Electric when you join their ‘better plan’.