Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Becoming a Nagging Type Person


Definition of a nag:

 Why do I think I'm a nag? Well, look at the woman above.  She's mad at her partner because he's pretending to be listening to music so she won't nag him. I, on the other hand, nag my partner (and my daughter) because things like headphones, computers & their charging devices, cell phones and their chargers, power bars, iron, table top fountain, LIGHTS, TVs, fans, air conditioning, etc etc etc, are plugged in, turned on and forgotten about. 

So why do I bother to nag?  Because electricity is not FREE!! 

It seems free.  You plug something into a socket and VOILA!! It works, it's like MAGIC!!

I found this handy dandy little chart and added it to my post because I thought you might be as interested in this as I am being as most of you are frugal-type people, and yes, you may be a nag too!  Now you can understand what you're nagging about!


You might  be breathing a sigh of relief when you see that HEAT takes most of the electrical pie chart's money (you've turned your heat off, right?); however, if you are like me you heat with natural gas, mucho cheapo.  So my hydro costs must be from other stuff.

So that takes us to the next slice of the pie - cooling!  Yesterday, here in London (the smog capital of Southwestern Ontario) temperatures rose to 32c, add in the humidex we were at 40c all day (that's about 100F for my American readers)!! Even I, thrifty as I am, had to put the central air on for awhile when I got home from work.  I set it high (27c) and then raised it higher when I went to bed (it didn't run during the night) and then switched it right off and opened up the doors and windows at 6am this morning. (that was me trying to rationalize my use of central air in case you didn't notice :)

The next biggest chunk of $$ goes to the hot water heater though since mine is also natural gas it can't be costing me too much.  Next up - appliances: stove, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher etc. I don't think we're doing too badly in that area since we don't have a dishwasher and our dryer is natural gas.  That leaves our fridge (can't turn that off) and our stove. We use the top of the stove regularly, the oven infrequently. 

After that comes lighting at 12% which really surprises me, I didn't think lighting was that expensive. I don't know if that refers to the older style light bulbs of which I still have a few for my 3 chandeliers or the new compact florescent bulbs of which I have between 25 and 30. Don't know.

Electronics come in at 4%. Again I don't know what the average amount of electronics would be - we might be above average with 3 cell phones, 3 laptops and an old PC (doesn't get used often), 2 TV's, 2 DVD players, 2 VHS players (still watch the odd, and I mean odd, VHS movie), 3 iPods, a Kindle, 2 tuners and probably more but I'm brain dead...  Still 4% isn't as bad as I thought.  

I like having the above info - it will help me figure out where our biggest power  costs are so I (WE) can try to reduce them. Fortunately, Michael is getting on board (I won't tell them about the table top fountain dear) and had the great idea of using our laptops' batteries more rather than having them always plugged in, as well he had all of his chargers and the iron unplugged when I got home today. Love you!

Hurrah for nagging (kidding, really I'm kidding...)

Why the all-consuming urgency?? Well, take a look at.....


The rates weren't put into effect last May as originally planned; our government isn't that good (hardy har har) but rumour has it that they will be taking effect by the end of spring, 2011 which would be June 20th.  The only way my bill won't end up costing more is if we use electricity mostly between 7pm and 7am as well as weekends. So, gotta get creative!!

For some activities this is manageable: laundry can be done on the weekends.... or while we shower! And... we could change up our eating habits by just eating baked beans straight from the can! That would eliminate the need for the washing machine, fridge and the stove! By God I'm smart! I'm a smart-meter-beater!! Woot woot! 

Let's see...what else?

Air conditioning? Let's hope the hottest days occur on the weekends (yeah right!) I know, I know!! We'll make those laundry-washing showers cold ones! We can stay cool, clean and laundered all at the same time. Criminy! I should be the friggin' Prime Minister!  The lights? I guess we could go to bed when it gets dark around 9pm...or use candles...I also have a couple of those flashlights that you charge up by shaking them - kind of an empowering aerobic workout...get it?

Ya gotta hate the government...right now the rate I pay per kwh is 6.4 cents. The LOWEST rate on the new Time-of-use plan is (currently) 5.9 cents. As we HAVE to use power during the mid-peak(8.9 cents) and high-peak(10.7cents) parts of the day (think fridge, freezer, and all the other electrical gadgets that are plugged in and always using power such as my trust alarm clock, TVs, DVD players etc etc) and we're going to have a VERY hard time keeping our hydro bill close to what we're paying now.

An average month at 6.4 cents per kwh is between $60 and $70 for us. During the summer months when we use the central air (only when absolutely necessary) our bills go up another $10 to $20 per month. I REALLY don't want to see our bills going up over $100, especially when I'll have another hydro bill out in PEI to pay.

Does anyone else think I'm getting overly obsessed about this??


Anonymous said...

I stand guilty. I unplugged my sons charger the other day because it was just sittin there. Unfortunatly it was really charging his phone.....

I unplug everything

Niki said...

Oh my you crack me up!

I am an energy waster nag too. The kids have become fantastic at turning things off, only because I would make them give me a dollar if the light was left on. I would give it back, eventually, but they are more conscious of it now. It's my husband with his computer that he continually forgets to turn off. What's a nag to do?

Out My window said...

My dream is to have all the kids leave home. This should come true this fall. Then I will turn off all the lights and they will stay turned off! I will get up in the morning in a totally dark house and only turn on the lights I need! I will only have two showers a day and a load of load of laundry every third day. What a dream!

Christy said...

Here in Eastern Ontario we moved to time of day rates in March. We have shifted as much to off peak times as possible (which was after 9pm weeknights until May). Two thirds of our power use is now at the cheapest rate. I'm not sure how much more we can shift. The Hydro One website let's me look at our power use hourly(!!!) which is highly addictive. (It is a day or two behind.)

laura @ move to portugal said...

No I don't, lol! I'm equally as much of a nag over our energy consumption (I also spend 5 minutes before bed turning every appliance off at the plug!!)

I try to do everything I can to cut our bills and our energy usage...and I think my family should as well so I a fun way though ;)

Mark said...

You want to lose me as a Follower, keep posting more graphs. Seriously, you know I'm easily distracted. And yes, I agree with you, you are getting overly obsessed.
Now, go take photos of flowers so I can look at something pretty. m.

444 said...

I have to tell you that I know what you mean about the air conditioning. I was the last holdout, using fans in my window and sweating a little while everyone else had their apartment closed up tight and their A/C running. But a few days ago it became intolerable (actually it's never intolerable to me but my youngest child becomes unbelievably cranky, sweaty and active as she is.) We have been running that electricity-hogging-beast for days now and I dread the bill. But while I was out in my UN-air-conditioned car yesterday (and I think I got the beginnings of a heat reaction - big red splotches inexplicably on one leg) I saw on a bank sign that the temp was 97! (sorry, I don't know the translation.)

Suzy said...

um you sound maybe a *tad* fanatical LOL! but it does add up and with 3 people in your household..I'm able to roll the a/c up to 85 or so when I leave - I'd turn it off but my dogs draw the line somewhere and it would be anything above 85! plus it's cooler downstairs where they are. I invested in new windows and insulation and attic tent for the attic door and have saved a lot of money. about 8 yrs ago a cousin stayed with me the first half of the year and I was working evenings and she was here in the evening and my electric bill got up to $350 or so! she also washed/dried clothes about every day which ticked me off when I found out about it - unfortunately about the time she went home. I usually try to use the dryer and stuff at night anyways during the hotter months and even on day shift rotation I wake up during the night and switch from washer to dryer if I need to.
I've read that computers suck up a LOT of electricity when left on.

off to bed! 'night!

lanniedee said...

Sister says: Oh, shades of Mother! You are scaring me, ha, ha..I think we saved a lot yesterday, the high winds knocked out the hydro from ll:20 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Jim came home after lunch for the day. I worried about the fish as their pump didn't work..Jim did the yard trimming using the generator, then relented and plugged in the pond pump for a bit. They have us between a rock and a hard place as high rates are when most people cook supper..we will be using b.b.q. all summer..except I HAVE to make some rhubarb pies..yikes, yesterday I did laundry on peak's not ingrained yet, but hope it will be..yes, we must be frugal with two hydro bills and two sets of taxes..and yes, they do ding us L.Dee

Anonymous said...

Jane, I am the same way. You will find rates higher here in PEI, too.

Service Charge:
$26.92 per Billing Period
Energy Charge:
12.05¢ per kWh for first 2000 kWh per Billing Period
9.20¢ per kWh for balance kWh per Billing Period

I swear, it seems like more, but I do know that if we run one extra light in the henhouse, it equals about an extra $25/month! So, off with the lights.

Get them trained NOW!

Great post, btw.

psychsarah said...

I'm at my desk killing myself laughing at the idea of having a cold shower and doing laundry at the same time... it creates quite an image!

This is really going to make me nag at DH to put up a clothesline this year. We're expecting our first little bundle of joy in 5 weeks, and I hear they are little laundry creators. Plus I will no doubt be a nervous new mommy who doesn't want her little angel to get too hot on the dog days of summer, and I'll be home all day (when the programmable thermostat usually changes the temp so we use less energy) so the air conditioning might get used a bit more this year, all while we're on a drastcially reduced budget. I see myself becoming rather naggy in the near future.

You are inspiring me to think creatively now too... perhaps we can all sleep in the basement, where it's always way cooler than the rest of the house... I'm just picturing DH's face when I ask him to move the bassinette down there... hmmm...

Sharon said...

Okay, Jane, you know how I LOVE challenges, let's make this one an electric, let's say, decrease bill by 10%?

I LOVED this post, and it was quite informative. We had replaced our heating and air conditioning unit two years ago, and I'm seeing significant savings just by it's efficiency. But, I'm sure I could cut down even more, and I would love the savings.

I'm up for this challenge...what do you say? :)!

The Borrower said...

I think my nag turns really bad at times. It has to though. There are so many more of them then me and they just waste, waste, waste. and whine... why can't I just wash this one shirt? What do you mean my television wastes more energy in 3 hours than the fridge running 24?

Just do as I say!!! :)

The Witch said...

Hydro went down 14% but you know it is still a very high bill no matter how you try and cut back.
You are lucky to have a Island breeze so you won't be wasting money on AC. while staying at Crofters Lane.
I'm sure you must be getting excited about coming HOME!!

Sass said...

In Alabama its hitting close to 100 every day right now.... and at 10 pm it is still 90! My AC just cut off, and its set at 80 and has been running all day long. My electricity skyrockets during the summer! I'm a super nag about the lights and everything else! So, I don't expect I'll get any kind of reduction in the next few months. Ouch.