Frugality

Monitoring Energy Usage

Every month my electric company sends me a letter concerning my energy usage. They keep track of your usage over a 12-month period. This letter covers details about how you compare to similar homes in your area, how your usage changes from month to month, and even how your usage compares to that of the previous year.

I must confess that I’ve not paid too much attention to all the information that the letter contains; I usually look at it to ensure that my usage is similar or lower than similar homes (it’s usually a bit lower) for the month and leave it at that.

This month I actually took the time to read more than the little comparison chart on the first page. I discovered that I’ve used 9% less electricity over the past 12 months than I did the previous year!

I had thought that we were actually using more. It seems as if the bills have been a bit higher, at any rate.

As a result of this I plan to start keeping copies of my electric bills so that I can take the time to review them periodically. I would like to see just how much electricity we use over a period of years in this house, and my electric company only keeps records for the previous 12 months. Since I plan to remain in this home for the long haul, that information would show me if I am slowly lowering my energy usage over time or if last year’s energy savings was a fluke.

Do you keep track of your energy use from month to month and year to year? Has the information benefited you? Please share your stories in the comments below.

3 Comments

  • EcoCatLady

    I am a total energy nerd. I’ve made a number of improvements to my home over the years – insulation, weather stripping, better window coverings, new furnace, etc. and I like to track my usage to see how much the improvements are helping. My power company offers lots of tools online to evaluate your usage – including showing your usage in therms (for gas) and Kilowatt hours (for electricity) so you can measure how much you’re using over time independent of any changes in price. They’ll also show you the average monthly temperature so you can see if you saved money because you conserved or because it was a warm winter. My company also offers a service where you can average your bill over 12 months so there aren’t any nasty surprises if there’s a crazy cold month or something.

    Anyhow, I’m in the midst of my annual energy review and I’ll probably do a nerdy post about it soon. But at the moment my monthly averaged bill is only $72, so that’s pretty good.

    I know you rent rather than own, so making big improvements probably doesn’t make much sense for you. But there are a lot of really simple & cheap things that save a ton in energy – like caulking and weather-stripping around windows, installing door sweeps and the like. It’s totally worth it. Attic insulation is the biggie though, and mine has paid for itself several times over. It would totally be worth it to see if you can work something out with your landlord to make whatever improvements you can – it not only saves money, but it also makes it WAY more comfortable in both the cold of winter and heat of summer.

  • Kevin

    My energy bill metrics have prompted my interest in saving money. Besides the obvious of sealing drafts, replacing old windows etc. I’ve considered altering the forced air heat in rooms based on my comfort level. For instance, I like my bedroom on the chilly side , I just sleep better for some reason. So, I close the heat vent “just enough” in that room. My bathroom has got to be warm so that vent stays open. I even have a small heater I plug in at night and unplug after the morning shower.

  • Carla

    Great minds think alike….One of my fave episodes of TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates is the one that makes most folks cringe….but I will chat about it none the less.
    I will post the youtube link at the end of this comment. Basically, Victoria Hunt is a millionaire whose frugality knows no bounds. She forages, dumpster dives, and counts every last megawatt of electricity that her home uses. She uses a spreadsheet to track all her utilities and she’s kept it going and accurate since 1989…. If you watch her video, she starts talking about it at the 3:20 minute mark of the vid. Enjoy “)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp2lREuP7T0