I’m a relatively happy customer of Southeastern Electric Cooperative. They provide me electricity for much cheaper than I could generate myself and I’m part owner of the company (as is everyone else that gets electricity from Southeastern), but after receiving a bill for $150.00 in the mail for my August electricity, I figured it was time to make some changes.
The first thing I did was take a hard look at all of the things that I leave plugged in 24-7 and decided that there are things that I never use which remain plugged-in, drawing energy all the time. I ended up un-plugging my iPod dock which has my old iPod, a dedicated Skype phone which never worked the best, a radio, and a remote sound station for my surround sound system which has been used exactly twice during the last year and a half of my tenure of homeownership.
The second thing I did was adjust the power settings on my computers. Since my house is a household which consists of two desktops, two laptops, a netbook, and an iPad, I figured they’re probably drawing a lot of energy. I’m not a big fan of power management settings for computers, since they never seem to go into “sleep mode” and back out of it all that well. I opted to make the screens and hard-disks of all my computers turn off after one hour and go into hibernation after two hours of inactivity.
The third thing I did was switch over to compact fluorescent light bulbs for most of my house. I ended up spending about $150.00 at Wal-Mart on the 45 light bulbs in my house. It took a few hours to switch them all over. I figured out that I couldn’t use them in my family room since most CFLs aren’t dimmable. I think you can buy ones that are, but are rather pricy. I’m happy with them for the most part, but the globe bulbs that I purchased for the upstairs bathroom take a while to get to full brightness. These bulbs use about 25% of the electricity that the old ones did, which will be a big help. Supposedly they’ll cut about 25% off of an electric bill, which would place a break-event point between six months and a year.
Another step that I’ve considered taking is buying a “Kill A Watt” device which will determine the electricity usage of anything that’s plugged into the wall. These devices sell for about $50.00 on Amazon. I haven’t bought one yet since I already know that the big energy-users in my house are my Plasma TV and my desktop computer. If the first three steps I took don’t change anything dramatically, I’ll consider that route.
I’m hoping to get the bill down to around $75-$90 per month. I’m sure the seasonal change from summer to fall will be a major step in that direction without having to use the air conditioner on a regular basis, but let’s hope these added measures cut the bill down even further.