Author Topic: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?  (Read 204780 times)

chopperdave

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Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« on: September 20, 2012, 11:01:20 PM »
My wife and I are electricity gluttons.  I leave a computer (and network equipment) running 24/7 as a media/web server, and we have plenty of lights on, and she uses a blow-drier daily, and our power consumption is 5-8kwh/day.  We live in a small house in Silicon Valley, so we don't really need to heat or cool our home since we wear sensible clothing for the current weather.

Do you use much less than this?  Much more?  How do you do it?

happy

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 04:44:02 AM »
I think 5-8 kwh/day is pretty good. Well done. Do you use gas as well for  cooking or hot water? If all you energy use is electric, then great.

I have a large house, teenagers and am struggling to get below 20kwh/day, but keep chipping away at it, slowly improving.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 06:06:39 AM »
We use, on average (excepting August) 5.6 KW / day. Looking for ways to reduce it, but the easy stuff has all been done...

I should add, this is for a family of 4, and doesn't include heat, hot water, or cooking, all of which are supplied by natural gas.

Unfortunately, due to the high costs of electricity in my area, this low utilization still doesn't get my bill under $50 / month.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 08:21:45 AM by Use it up, wear it out... »

AJ

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 06:21:23 AM »
Ours is closer to 20/day as well for a small house with excellent passive solar and no need for A/C. We don't leave anything on, and indeed aren't even home most of the time. I know the culprit is our water heater, because our bill goes up in cold weather months before we start using heat for the interior of the house. I've started killing the breaker for the water heater when we leave for the day, then flipping it on again when we get home. DH is not thrilled, but we only use hot water for showers and dishes, so it seems like a waste to have it on all day. We'll see how the next bill looks to know if it will be worth doing indefinitely.

But yeah, gas is a much more efficient source of heat.

kkbmustang

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 07:49:30 AM »
Okay, so I'll pipe in as the most extreme electricity glutton and example of WHAT NOT TO DO. Before discovery of MMM in August, we were using 115 kWh per DAY.  I haven't received the electricity bill for September yet, so I don't know where we are for this month. We live in Texas with average daily temps over 100 degrees in the summer and we live in an older home with majorly inefficient single pane windows.

I turned the A/C up three degrees when I read the famous electricity post. Then, the temps started coming down. We have been turning off the A/C during the day and opening the windows to let the cool air in (then shut them when it starts warming back up). I leave the A/C off until it hits 82/83 inside (this is about when I think I am going to suffocate) and then it gets turned back on (usually around 4 to 5 p.m.). (I'm home all day recovering from major surgery.) We've also started unplugging appliances, etc. Since I've been home recovering from surgery, I'm not going anywhere other than to drop my kids off at school or to physical therapy, so there's no need to blow dry my hair or use a flat iron/curling iron. I look like crap, but right now I don't give two shits.

Last weekend was especially mild, so no A/C the whole weekend.  Our heat and cooktop use gas.


tooqk4u22

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 07:58:58 AM »
Ours is closer to 20/day as well for a small house with excellent passive solar and no need for A/C. We don't leave anything on, and indeed aren't even home most of the time. I know the culprit is our water heater, because our bill goes up in cold weather months before we start using heat for the interior of the house. I've started killing the breaker for the water heater when we leave for the day, then flipping it on again when we get home. DH is not thrilled, but we only use hot water for showers and dishes, so it seems like a waste to have it on all day. We'll see how the next bill looks to know if it will be worth doing indefinitely.

But yeah, gas is a much more efficient source of heat.

Do a search for "water heater timer" - for $35-50 these are great for electric WHs especially if you typically shower at the same time.   Set the timer to turn on a bit before and after your showers and you will have all the heat you need for the shower and the tank will stay warm enough for dishes/general washing all day.  I had one in the past, it was great - ours had a button that could turn it on if we needed more hot water at a different time of day.

There may be some that are programable.

twinge

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 08:08:55 AM »
Over the course of 2 years, our average kwh per day was 42--so we're on the glutton side.  But electricity includes EVERYTHING for our family of 4 (heat/ac, cooking, hot water etc.--we're not able to hook up to natural gas) and there's usually somebody working from home during the day and we run a server 24/7. We find the biggest culprit is that we have a bottom-of-the line older heat pump that has a wildly inefficient back-up electric heater that automatically kicks in in colder temperatures and we're not helped by the fact that our 40 year old house still has 90% of its original windows.  In addition to just getting better about energy usage, we aim to replace the heat pump in the next year or two.

We cook everything from scratch in our house and one of the things that has helped us energy-wise I think is to do the majority of day to day oven use in a mini-convection oven and then one day a week do bigger scale cooking in the main oven where we can cook multiple things at once.  We also use pressure cookers which save some energy as well.

igthebold

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 08:12:12 AM »
During the worst of the summer (95F-100F highs most days) we used 25kWh/day. Family of 5 with someone at home all day, with our A/C set to 82F.

We line-dry our clothes as well. Where does the electricity go? I'm guessing washing machine, A/C, stovetop cooking for two meals a day, occasional baking. We're homebodies, so there's usually a light on somewhere, ceiling fan.

I'm planning to invest in warm clothes for my family so we can keep the heat cooler. We're also picking up space heaters from thrift stores. Since I have my windows every night, I've already had many opportunities to educate my children that saying, "I'm cold," while wearing shorts, t-shirt, and bare feet doesn't get much sympathy. :)

Gas is technically not more efficient than a heat pump. Moving heat around is more efficient than converting electricity or gas into heat. However, it is a lot more effective. Not much heat to pump into the house when it's 30F outside.

twinge

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 08:20:09 AM »
No, I know that we're actually in good shape to have a heat pump.  It just is useful to clarify what counts as electricity when comparing usage.  If you have gas for heat and cooking, low elec isn't surprising.

 It's the back-up electric heat that kills us.  We keep our house pretty cold in the winter ( 63-65F) (I'm a big fan of sweaters and blankets and we grew up in colder climes) and we still rack up some crazy heat usage so I'm pretty sure it's the heat pump.  We've only owned this house a few years and bought it as a foreclosure so we're just steadily trying to figure out what to focus our energies on improving.  We put attic insulation in and that cut things down, I think next on the list is the heat pump.

velocistar237

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 09:11:30 AM »
Gas is technically not more efficient than a heat pump. Moving heat around is more efficient than converting electricity or gas into heat. However, it is a lot more effective. Not much heat to pump into the house when it's 30F outside.

The Mitsubishi Hyper Heat ductless mini-split heat pumps have 100% output down to 5 degF, and something like 80% down to -13 degF. I think certain Fujitsu models are similar. At higher temperatures, and therefore lower loads, they're absurdly efficient, and the smaller units, around 9000 BTUH, are also absurdly efficient air conditioners, with SEERs up to 27. I was thinking of getting a pair installed, but I couldn't figure out how to distribute the air into bedrooms without putting in a dedicated ventilation system. With my leaky old house, it might not work anyway. We stayed with the furnace.

If I ever build my own house, it will be air-tight, near-super-insulated, and ventilated, and I would heat and cool it with one or two 12,000 BTUH mini-splits using solar power.

Jamesqf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 03:47:46 PM »
I run about 9 Kwh/day.  That's with electric water heater, well pump for water & irrigation, and computer equipment on most of the day (work at home).

c

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 04:27:46 PM »
Urgh, up until today I had *never* looked at my usage. Electricity is one of those bills that I know I have to have and that some months is higher than the other months, but I've never actually looked at it beyond making sure they were charging me for actual readings not estimates.

Ours averages out to just under 7kw per day/$72 per month. This is for a small, one bedroom apartment. Our stove is electric, but the boiler, washer etc is part of the building.

This is over the 14 months I've had this account.

I'm going to see how low I can get it. Around $35 per month is "delivery charges" and taxes, but my lowest month was $48 (highest $113).

I'm pretty good about power usage - switching off lights, not leaving things plugged in, took out extra bulb in bathroom, the only thing that's on all day other than the fridge is the fish tank, but clearly I can do better.

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 04:56:14 PM »
Hmmmm...cut out most of the A/C this year and dropped from 17.9 to 13.1 kwh per day from mid-August to mid-September.  I'm in the southern SF Bay Area and our summer was cooler this year.  Very few 100 degree plus days and no really hot nights this year.  Someone is home almost all the time and it takes 3 to 4 loads of laundry to get through the week.  Towels, jeans, sheets, and underwear go through the dryer very early in the morning.  Everything else is hung up to dry.  The 14 year-old fridge died and was replaced over Labor Day with a much more efficient model.  The full effect of that should show on the next bill.  We do run lights all night for security, but they are CFL's.  In the summer the grill is used a lot to keep the house from heating up and the windows are open from very early morning until around 11 or 12 depending on the outside temperature.  Also in the evening if it cools off outside. 

The water heater, furnace and cook top are gas.  Everything else is electric.  The really big bills are for heat and lighting in the winter. 

The conditioned space is about 2,500 square feet, single story, with a lot of west-facing glass.  The house is insulated with fiberglass batts and has the original almost 25 year-old dual pane windows.

Tradies wife

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 05:02:35 PM »
Urgh, up until today I had *never* looked at my usage. Electricity is one of those bills that I know I have to have and that some months is higher than the other months, but I've never actually looked at it beyond making sure they were charging me for actual readings not estimates.

Me either. Looked it up. Seems we are doing quite well. It seems to hover around the 5 to 7kWatt range.

We are a very low tech family though.

happy

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2012, 05:32:43 PM »
I really am inspired now to have another look at what we are doing.  I listed what I had done to get from 35kwh/day to 20 in this post:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/electric-usage-for-all-electric-houses/msg13936/#msg13936.
Our off peak hot water is a big tank, I've already turned the thermostat down, but might see if I can figure out how to turn it off every second night. Maybe I should put the power meter on the fridge which is 16 years old.

Bakari

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2012, 07:36:02 PM »
I need to find the Kill-a-Watt I borrowed, and check if the electric meter is really running accurate, and if so, figure out where the leak is...

We don't use any heat or AC anymore, no matter what the temperature is (2 years now)

Stove is gas, water heater is gas (but it is instant / tankless, and is used for showers only - handwashing, dishes etc we use cold water)

All lights and fans, as well as the modem and router, are solar powered 12v DC, and are completely and entirely independent from the 120v grid system.

I have been unplugging the entire TV media center at the power strip for days at a time, watching a couple hours, then unplugging everything again (so no stand-by power draw).

I recently replaced my fridge with a tier 3 energystar model, which (supposedly) uses 309 kWh per year.

And yet somehow, my monthly bill came in at 194kWh for 31 days, or 6.25 per day.

At least I'm below the baseline rate.  Bill is $24.98
Still too high.  Time to start looking for that kill-a-watt...


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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2012, 07:47:33 PM »
Bakari:

It's probably that Smart Meter PG&E recently installed......

Our new fridge is much less badass than yours at 583 kwh per year, but it beats the heck out of the trusty old Whirlpool and it holds a LOT of food.  And the LED lights make it look like a spaceship when you open the door.

Anyone have good ideas for reducing the cost of outdoor security lighting?  The bulbs are 60 watt equivalent CFL's in standard fixtures at all the doors.

Bakari

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2012, 08:02:16 PM »
We don't have smart meters.  They are old.  Possibly the problem.

For outdoor lighting we have a solar powered motion sensor light, $30 from Harbor Freight.
Not that I endorse harbor freight, not the highest quality stuff.

In any event, are your lights motion sensor?  Less power draw when they are off, but more security, because the transition makes them extra noticeable.

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2012, 08:30:56 PM »
I don't know about the Harbor Freight light, but I installed Home Depot motion sensor lights in another house and they failed quickly.  The solar lights don't last through the night, especially in winter.  Back to the drawing board....

keith

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2012, 08:42:43 PM »
Wow, I'm really glad this thread came up and people started sharing numbers for usage. I never paid attention to the cost comparison between people's electricity bills since the cost of electricity varies. Seeing the usage numbers is eye opening so I can see where I can improve.

Having never looked at my own numbers, I pulled up this months bill. Totally awesome they provide this nice little chart:



Environment:
- 3 people living in the residence
- Electric heat (winter months, ouch)
- Several computers (and pieces of network gear) running 24x7, laundry machines that run very frequently.

Bakari

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2012, 09:34:44 PM »
I don't know about the Harbor Freight light, but I installed Home Depot motion sensor lights in another house and they failed quickly.  The solar lights don't last through the night, especially in winter.  Back to the drawing board....

I'm confused by "last through the night".  If its a motion sensor light, it should be off the majority of the time, go on for a minute only when someone walks close to it, then go back off.  Maybe you had the sensitivity set high, or set to "always on"?  In any event, they may use standard size batteries, (AA or C or D), if so it would be easy to replace them with higher quality / capacity NiMH (they probably came with NiCad)

- Electric heat (winter months, ouch)

I used to use electric heat (the gas furnace in the RV has a terribly inefficient heat exchanger), until I read Jacob of ERE's post on heat: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/keeping-warm-during-winter.html

Of all the things I've read on the ERE site and on MMM, this single one was probably the most revolutionary and mind-opening for me personally.  I haven't used any form of heat since, in my home or car (car heat doesn't use any energy, but I have never got around to fixing the leaking heater core).  Granted, it never gets below 32deg (F) here, and rarely goes that low - I'm quite sure I couldn't do it if I lived somewhere it snows (which is why I choose to live in CA) - but it turns out it is quite comfortable at <40 deg (once you get used to it - took a couple weeks), so even people in cold climates could save a lot of energy by turning the thermostat way down

Jamesqf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2012, 10:04:03 PM »
We do run lights all night for security, but they are CFL's.

This is one of those things that IMHO deserves one of those mustachian face things.  Lights on all night don't do anything for security.  Quite the opposite, in fact, 'cause they ensure than anyone with nefarious intentions will be able to see to carry them out.

garden girl

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2012, 11:06:50 PM »
Hi everyone, I have been a lurker here for a while. I felt I had to comment on electricity consumption, we average about 9 kw a day. This is for cooking, cooling ( we live in a hot area) and hot water. Gas is not available here. By the way, our cost is 34.9c per kw. In Australia electricity prices have risen about 40% in the last few years. I wish I could get it for 10c like you guys. This means our quarterly bill is in the region of $400.
We are on the cheapest plan I can find, there are many that are dearer.

kudy

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2012, 11:19:16 PM »
Thanks for the electric water heater timer tip - I might have to get one of those.  Looks like my usage is between 20-30 per day in the summer (no A/C), and can jump to 60-70 running electric heat in the winter.

Is it worth $4,000-$6,000 to get a ductless system?

I'd probably end up using the A/C a bit in the summer and cancel out any cost savings I might get with the heating vs. my electric heaters... I've been debating that with myself for months.

mustachecat

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2012, 01:25:35 AM »
Our high is 9.8 kw/day in August (lots of AC), and our low is 2.6 kw/day in March.

I feel pretty pleased until I realize that, after all, this is for a 650-square-foot apartment, and heat and hot water is separate.

What's the square footage on your places, guys? I feel like that provides a better basis for comparisons.

gooki

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2012, 02:14:33 AM »
We average 22kw a day. Wife a child are home nearly all day, heating in winter is the big killer.

Our home is 1463 sq feet, and not very well insulated.

velocistar237

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2012, 07:16:14 AM »
For last year, we used about 9 kWh/day. We have gas for heating, cooking, and drying, which averages out to $2.15/day, which would be 14 kWh/day at $0.15/kWh. Our total is 23 kWh/day for 1100 sq ft. Wife and 3 kids are home all day.

Last winter, we set our indoor temp to 65 degF, and it was a mild winter. We recently got our house insulated, and I plan to do a better job weatherizing this year. If I can make some Warm Window Shades without spending too much, I'll do that. I'd like to line dry more of our clothes.

MooreBonds

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2012, 09:46:27 AM »
St. Louis, MO
7.2kWh = Average daily usage over past 365 days
1,760 sq ft ranch w/ basement

Includes: refrigerator, oven, A/C, and basement dehumidifier

The dehumidifer is probably one of the biggest energy hogs in the whole damn house! :( Keep it set on 55% or 60% relative humidity. Doesn't run in the winter, and this past summer it's been not running as much due to not as much rain...although the 100+ degree heat waves did run my A/C far more than normal (keep it set on about 83-84). A ceiling fan in the bedroom helps cool things down at night if need be. When I remodeled 3 years ago, I blew the cellulose insulation into my attic to about 16" deep. That, and a few giant, old trees in the front (South facing) and side (West facing) of the house help absorb a lot of sunlight that would otherwise be heating the roof/sides of my house. I keep the water heater set to about 125 degrees. Hardly run the electric dishwasher, and instead use the 'manual' version. :)

Thankfully, the previous owner installed double-pane windows, which I'm sure helps a lot with the energy efficiency of this 53 year old house.

For comparison, average daily natural gas usage over this same timeframe was 1.5 Therms, serving the cooktop, water heater, and furnace.

All lights and fans, as well as the modem and router, are solar powered 12v DC, and are completely and entirely independent from the 120v grid system.

I have been unplugging the entire TV media center at the power strip for days at a time, watching a couple hours, then unplugging everything again (so no stand-by power draw).

I have CFLs everywhere they can be installed (exception: 3 track lights), and also keep the media center unplugged when not watching tv or listening to music...along with every other plug-in appliance.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 09:49:50 AM by MooreBonds »

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2012, 12:02:59 PM »
Here's an interesting article on new "net zero" electricity use homes in Southern California.  The house still uses 33 kwh a day.

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-energy-homes-20120923,0,1367147.story

Reminds me of my neighbor who put a huge solar array on his roof about 10 years ago.  The A/C runs all day and night, the lights and TV are on, and the laundry is done a couple of times a day.  He switched from gas to electric hot water and I think he changed out the furnace as well.  "Free" electricity does not necessarily mean efficient energy use by the recipient.

PJ

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2012, 12:53:09 PM »
I don't have a clue what my electricity consumption is, but I share a house with my sister's family living in an apartment downstairs, and I don't want to analyze things too closely in case it's upsetting ;-)

In my own place, I've been keeping some rarely used things (like the TV) unplugged when not in use.  Over the last few weeks, I've stepped that up, unplugging my bedroom alarm clock (since I tend to use the alarm on my phone anyway), the power strip with my printer, shredder, etc plugged into it, and the microwave.  I think I remember reading somewhere a while ago that unless you use the microwave for at least 5 minutes a day, you're actually using more electricity just having it plugged in than for cooking. 
 
Thanks to this post, I just went and adjusted the setting on our hot water heater slightly (baby steps, to make sure that those downstairs don't encounter a shortage and end up turning it back up!)  It's gas, not electric, but it's all in the same spirit of lowering costs on inessentials, right?

Tradies wife

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2012, 04:33:00 PM »
Hi everyone, I have been a lurker here for a while. I felt I had to comment on electricity consumption, we average about 9 kw a day. This is for cooking, cooling ( we live in a hot area) and hot water. Gas is not available here. By the way, our cost is 34.9c per kw. In Australia electricity prices have risen about 40% in the last few years. I wish I could get it for 10c like you guys. This means our quarterly bill is in the region of $400.
We are on the cheapest plan I can find, there are many that are dearer.

Another Aussie.... just sating but ours is $0.2318 per kWh with TRU energy. Maybe it is time for you to shop around.

zinnie

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2012, 04:57:10 PM »
Ours is 5-9kwh per day all year round. On "reduce your use" days we can get it below 3 if we unplug things while we are out. I live in San Diego, though, so I don't have central air. I have a window unit I put in when it gets above 90 in the house, and it is crazy to see the usage jump up. I used it one day this summer and it was 25kwh for that day!

We have gas heat and a tankless water heater, which is not included in that number of course!

Jamesqf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2012, 09:54:37 PM »
Hi everyone, I have been a lurker here for a while. I felt I had to comment on electricity consumption, we average about 9 kw a day. This is for cooking, cooling ( we live in a hot area) and hot water. Gas is not available here. By the way, our cost is 34.9c per kw. In Australia electricity prices have risen about 40% in the last few years.

Seems as though you'd be a great candidate for a solar hot water system.

CG

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2012, 04:33:52 AM »
Hi everyone, I have been a lurker here for a while. I felt I had to comment on electricity consumption, we average about 9 kw a day. This is for cooking, cooling ( we live in a hot area) and hot water. Gas is not available here. By the way, our cost is 34.9c per kw. In Australia electricity prices have risen about 40% in the last few years. I wish I could get it for 10c like you guys. This means our quarterly bill is in the region of $400.
We are on the cheapest plan I can find, there are many that are dearer.

Another Aussie.... just sating but ours is $0.2318 per kWh with TRU energy. Maybe it is time for you to shop around.

In Australia, the scheduled electricity prices vary by state, so comparisons can be misleading. Are you including the daily supply charge and GST in your per kWh pricing? That, and now the carbon charge too, make a huge difference.

I'm in Victoria. My unit price is 0.1717 per kWh before GST, but the total cost for the month (176 kWhs in August, for my one bedroom flat - includes heating & hot water but not cooking) works out out at 0.31267 per kWh.

The carbon charge of $3.58 (inc. GST) for the month is cancelled out by a credit. I'm with Momentum Energy which uses hydro-power from Tasmania so they don't have to charge it (at the moment!) but are required to show the amount on the bill.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2012, 04:50:01 AM »
I'm sure ours is crazy.. For example, it's 20C (68F) and my house mate is running her ceiling fan at full blast (with her curtains & windows closed, I can see). Now she's just turned on the oven to bake (probably only for about 10mins). Another house mate decides to turn on all 3 lights in the kitchen/dining/hallway whenever she comes home (seriously, one light is enough for our small house), and boil 2 litres of water for every cup of tea.. I swear I'll shoot them one day.

At least they never wash their sheets or towels, so that's saving something ;)

Jamesqf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2012, 12:49:01 PM »
Here's an interesting article on new "net zero" electricity use homes in Southern California.  The house still uses 33 kwh a day.

On the other hand, there are probably a good number of people like me.  I'd like to have solar electric, but with a power bill that runs around $40/month, the only way I could make the numbers work out is by winning a free Tesla.

garden girl

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2012, 01:46:19 PM »
Hi to the other aussies. Yes I am in NSW in a regional area. I would love to get Tru energy but they don't supply to this area. We can get origin, country energy, agl and that's about it. In NSW we have had massive price rises. This cost includes GST, we have a service charge above this. I lived in sydney last year and was charged (from memory) 23c a kw, I know they've had a 25% rise since then.

My contract is finished soon so I will be looking for cheaper, I'll let  you know how I go

PJ

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2012, 06:01:32 PM »
At least they never wash their sheets or towels, so that's saving something ;)
 
 
LOL! 

happy

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2012, 06:13:47 PM »
Nothing like electricity charges to rouse the lurking Aussies! Currently I'm getting 8c kwh for off peak and 24-27c kwh other, with Integral...will have to do some investigating.  Now that I've looked it up, I realise time spent worrying about the hot water on off peak, would be better spent trying to figure out how to cut the rest down since it costs 3 times as much.

Bakari

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2012, 09:21:30 PM »
On the other hand, there are probably a good number of people like me.  I'd like to have solar electric, but with a power bill that runs around $40/month, the only way I could make the numbers work out is by winning a free Tesla.

Sure, if you go the traditional route, with a 5-10kW grid-inter-tie fully inverter-ed system.

What the major solar installers (and tax rebate offers) never tell you is that it is much less expensive to just build a little independent 12V system, which just powers some things:

http://www.instructables.com/id/NON-grid-intertie-independant-solar-photovoltic-/

My 50W of solar powers lights, fans, cell phone chargers, AA / AAA battery chargers, modem, and router, so all those things aren't on the grid power.  Fridge, TV, computer, microwave, kitchen appliances, all still use power company power.
Last bill was $24.98, roughly $15 less than it would be without the solar panels, and solar system cost me $190, so pay back time should be a little over 1 year.

tkaraszewski

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2012, 10:31:14 PM »
I've been averaging about 15kWh/day lately, but I also have an electric car.

Bakari

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #41 on: September 27, 2012, 12:01:05 PM »
And yet somehow, my monthly bill came in at 194kWh for 31 days, or 6.25 per day.

At least I'm below the baseline rate.  Bill is $24.98
Still too high.  Time to start looking for that kill-a-watt...

New bill came today:

76kWh, or 2.5 per day
$9.78
:)

$_gone_amok

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2012, 05:51:09 PM »
We live at Silicon Valley in a 1700 sqft house. We use between 6 to 10 kwH each day over the last 6 months. We have a natural gas water heater.

TLV

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2012, 11:57:38 AM »
We use about 14 kwH/day in spring/summer/fall (no AC), rising as high as 40 in the winter - all heating is electric. Based on a month-long "cold shower" challenge I did last year, at least half of our base usage is from hot showers. Perhaps it's time to do that challenge again...

Jamesqf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2012, 12:08:52 PM »
We use about 14 kwH/day in spring/summer/fall (no AC), rising as high as 40 in the winter - all heating is electric. Based on a month-long "cold shower" challenge I did last year, at least half of our base usage is from hot showers. Perhaps it's time to do that challenge again...

Or perhaps it's time to think seriously about solar hot water?

mustachecat

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2012, 01:58:40 PM »
Last year, we averaged just below 4 kWh/day of electricity use in October. I'd love to knock that down further, but I'm not sure how much more we can cut. We don't use electricity for heat and hot water (or perhaps we do, but in any case, our landlords pay for it).

Most of our lights are CFLs, although we have fluorescents in a candelabra fixture in the kitchen and in two sconces in the foyer. We're getting super vigilant about turning off lights whenever we leave a room.

The only major electric appliance is the fridge, and while it isn't an energy-efficient model, we won't be able to convince our landlords to replace it if it's still working. I'm going to get a fridge/freezer thermometer and figure out if we can dial the settings down.

I've started shutting down and unplugging the computer and modem during the day and overnight. We've also started charging our phones at work.

garden girl

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #46 on: September 28, 2012, 02:37:31 PM »
I have done some research. We were paying 26c/kw, this went up to 34c/kw on July 1st. I have checked for the best deals. The best I can get is with Origin, who I am currently with. If I sign up for a new contract I can get 13% discount : 10% upfront, 2% for paying on time and 1% for direct debit.

Out of interest I tried Tru energy, they told me my post code didn't exist! Seems the options are between Origin, Country Energy, AGL and Integral.

I need to look for more ways to cut back - less time on the internet LOL.

strider3700

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #47 on: September 28, 2012, 04:13:37 PM »
at those types of costs you should seriously be doing the math on first of all improvements that will reduce consumption and second some sort of on site generation, probably solar...  So long as you have good solar exposure I'd be surprised if solar pv didn't turn out to be a good investment.

zinnie

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2012, 04:47:01 PM »
We use about 14 kwH/day in spring/summer/fall (no AC), rising as high as 40 in the winter - all heating is electric. Based on a month-long "cold shower" challenge I did last year, at least half of our base usage is from hot showers. Perhaps it's time to do that challenge again...

Or perhaps it's time to think seriously about solar hot water?

Or a tankless water heater! I have one and it's nice to never run out of hot water without having to heat it when you're not using it. You do have to get used to cold water from the sinks, though...

fidgiegirl

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #49 on: September 28, 2012, 05:52:29 PM »
OMG, I have never really checked!  Off to get my electric bills and look!