Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

September 20, 2009

Lowest Electricity Bill … Ever

Category: Household,Save Electricity – Tom Harrison – 11:47 am

My NStar bill came the other day, and it was the lowest bill I have ever had since moving into this house in 1997 — we used an average of 13.1kWh per day; last year for the same period was 14.5kWh per day. That’s a reduction of almost 10%, year over year. Yes, it’s true that we were away for 6 days, which is why this period is historically low, but last year we were away for over two weeks. The vacation is the main reason that our consumption fell from the prior month’s average of 16.8kWh/day.

What did we do? I’m honestly not sure. It was about a month ago that I installed the new TED 5000, but we still have been mostly using the PowerCost Monitor from the year before to keep an eye on our electrical use.

I guess all those little changes we keep making, even in our fifth year of working at it are still adding up.

Here’s a section of the bill. Cool, isn’t it?

The Interesting Part of Our October, 2009 Electricity Bill

The Interesting Part of Our October, 2009 Electricity Bill


  1. So I got my bill this month and it was 50% of last year’s use. 27 kwh last year, 13 this year. Main changes were window replacement, led bulbs in bathrooms and bedroom, and higher day-time temp settings (80F).

    Comment by Eli — September 20, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  2. Eli — way to go!

    So are your numbers kWh per month or per day? (If per month, then … wow!).

    I assume the window replacement affected things by reducing your A/C demand. That’s impressive.

    Which LED bulbs did you find? I had an LED nightlight in our bathroom, but for light for reading, etc. I haven’t found any LEDs that fit standard (medium base) sockets, or produce sufficient light.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — September 21, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  3. Tom,
    Did you compare the average monthly temperature this time last year vs. this year? That could also have an impact. Of course, if the avg. temp from this year was hotter and you still used less energy, than your conservation changes probably had a greater impact than what your bill shows. It would be nice to be able to separate heating/AC on your energy bill just so you could see how much energy use is directly related to outside forces.

    Comment by Chris Kaiser — September 23, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  4. Well, take that back. I just realized you don’t use AC, so unlike me down here in Hotlanta (no, nobody really calls it that) your bill isnt dominated by the AC beast so summer temperature fluctuations probably dont impact your bill that much.

    Comment by Chris Kaiser — September 23, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  5. Chris —

    A fine guy I know pointed me to, a degree day calculator by zip code where I have downloaded the data and loaded it into a spreadsheet, and … well that’s as far as I have gotten. But that’s more about heating for us in Bean Town (nobody calls it that here).

    As you say, AC is not an issue for electricity, although we do have two window units that we no longer use.


    Comment by Tom Harrison — September 24, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  6. The largest user of energy in your house is the heating and cooling system. Just switching to geothermal could do that if you are heating with electric.

    Comment by Charles — September 26, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

  7. […] Lowest Electricity Bill … Ever […]

    Pingback by TED 5000 and Google PowerMeter: Who Needs Smart Meters? | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy — October 6, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  8. Everyone here is going to hate me lol My bill is about $18 /month. I am in Canada and energy is cheap where I am which helps.

    I average between 120-150 kwh per month. I have used a variety of techniques to get such low energy usage. I have replaced every single bulb in my house with either the Phillips 12.5 LED/Phillips 10 watt LED or 13 watt cfl bulbs.

    I have installed 1 watt LED night light by buying a standard night light with 4 watt/7watt bulb and then buying 1 watt led bulbs to replace them at walmart for light at night.

    I have my tv on a power bar with everything hooked up to it and turn off the bar when not in use. It means having to turn it on before watching TV but it saves lots of power.

    I currently unplug microwave ovens, toasters, etc and plug them in when needed. I plan on using either a Belkin Conserve Power Switch or Leviton Power Switch in each outlet so i can just press the switch off instead of unplugging my kitchen appliances.

    I did research and bought a fridge that is energy star and uses about 30 Kwh /month. I do laundry only when I have full loads and will be buying a front load washing machine when I can afford it to save both water and electricity since a front loader also partially drys cloths requiring less drying time in the dryer.

    I try to eat healthier foods that require less cooking time and therefore less energy. When I am away from my house the only things drawing power are my alarm clocks, 1 watt led night light at night, internet equipment (routers), and fridge.

    For anyone wishing to save money on electricity, a good idea would be to have surge protectors/power bars plugged into every outlet and then plug all the devices into them and turn everything off that you dont use on a daily basis and turn the rest off when not in use.

    Additional good ideas to save money/energy is to install a high efficient furnace i.e. 92% or better, XPS insulation or spray foam in the basement (at least R15 more if in a cold environment), adequate attic insulation, and insulate your hot water tank. No i don’t mean insulate with the insulation jackets they sell in stores I mean with standard insulation and radiant barrier (especially if you have an electric water heater ). Also radiant barrier and insulation around ducts and pipe insulation around pipes.

    Comment by Mike — March 23, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

  9. Mike — that’s awesome and is pretty much what we tried to do in our house (although haven’t done LEDs yet) and the new fridge is next on the list.

    It is truly amazing how much we waste electricity … different than over-using, which is a different and real problem. By waste I mean using energy with no benefit at all — it doesn’t help anyone to have the lights on upstairs when no one is up there, for example.

    When I started on my energy saving path in earnest (and when I started writing this blog) around 2005, I realized that in addition to making changes such as replacing lightbulbs, and finding ways to turn stuff off when it’s not in use, the bigger change was in how we changed our habits. That’s a little harder.

    I think it took me a year to finally remember to bring bags with me when I went shopping. And it’s still a work in progress to continue to find (and get the kids to eat) food with a lower energy footprint — mainly eating more vegetable-based meals. I bought a new TV recently, and while all the TV review sites say that plasma provides the best picture, I got an LED TV that uses 1/2 of the power of an equivalent plasma and the picture is incredible. We also went with a “small” model by today’s standards, also which uses 1/2 the energy of the honkin’ 55″ behemoths. Also, the old TV is going to a good home, not just getting junked.

    What I don’t get is that our stupid cellphone bill about the same as our electricity and (Boston area) heating bill combined — how can that possibly make sense? How can our energy (mostly natural gas these days), which is slowly killing our planet be so cheap?

    Anyway, we love you here — well done!

    Comment by Tom Harrison — March 23, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

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