Can you actually lower your electricity bill?

15 days Hydro Consumption ending 2014 04 02In our #frugalclub efforts, I have recently starting monitoring our hydro usage closely. I was excited to see we only used $2.08 in electricity yesterday. See above. Of course, no-one was home all day or all evening. 2 family members went out for dinner and spent $65 so the $.50 we saved in electricity by not cooking at home wasn’t actually a win-win.

I am in Ontario Canada and I thought our electricity rates are high but here is an actual comparison – Hydro Rates across Canada)
hydro prices across north america 2013

Looks like my sister in California might have it worse than most others on our continent!

But I wanted to know if it was actually possible to lower our electricity bill. My thought was that if we could lower it by $1 per day, that would save us $30 per month. If we spend on average $3.25 per day, we would need to get it down to $2.25 per in order to save $30 per month.

So we spent the month of April finding ways to reduce our Electricity Bill.
Here are the areas I looked into

1. Switching light bulbs, turning lights off etc. – This is the most obvious one to most people, but to be honest, I was skeptical. We already had switched most of our bulbs to flourescents. How can a bulb that uses 7w per hour actually cost very much money?

2. Using timers for our tv, stereo and electronics to turn power off when we are either not at home or asleep. This is one area we were NOT diligent in before. We have 2 desktops and 3 laptops that are left powered on all times. We have 4 TVs in the house that get turned off, but were we a victim of ‘vampire’ electricity loss?

3. Using appliances only during non-peak hours. Due to the fact that no-one is home during the day, this happens somewhat automatically in our household, with a few exceptions.

It was a good month to initiate this project, because Ontario Hydro provides coupons for CFL and LED lights, as well as for power bars with timers and Energy savings light fixtures. We used the coupons to buy LED Pot Lights to replace the pot lights in our kitchen. Costco sold a package for 4 for $13.99 – $5 off coupon. We bought 3 packs to replace 12 lights. ~$30 for LED lights for the kitchen.

I also wanted power bars with timers for 3 locations with multiple electronics. We found power bars at Home Depot that were marked down from $24.99 to $14.99 because they were last year’s model and they were manual timers instead of digital. And we had a $5 off coupon for each. So we bought 3 of these timers, for ~$10 each.

March was a ‘Before’ Snapshot, April is the ‘After’ Snapshot and the numbers so far from May are the – ‘Really??!!’ Snapshot

March
Total for the Month $98.30
Average Daily Cost $3.17

April
Total for the Month $80.64
Average Daily Cost $2.69

May 1 – 11
Total for the Month so far $31.26
Average Daily Cost $2.84

I was frustrated to realize that the rates went up AGAIN as of May 1st, and the Time of Use peak hours changed for the summer months.

Hyrdo RATES 2014 Summer

On Friday May 2, I stayed home with the kids, we did some laundry to go away that afternoon for a quiz meet and the total electrical costs for the day was our highest ever at $4.51. I honestly do not know what people do who are home during the day, or are homeschooling families?

So the net result of our little experiment, is that we invested $60 in an effort to lower our bill. It looks like it might result in a savings about $.25 per day. We may see a return on investment in approximately 240 days, or about 8 months. Still worth it, but definitely not the gains I was hoping for.

What do you pay in electricity per day?
Have you found other ways to save on electricity?

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3 thoughts on “Can you actually lower your electricity bill?

  1. This is one area that we find it hard to lower our spending. My kids still like leaving lights on in rooms that they’re not in or turning on all the lights during the day time. I’ve heard (but haven’t tried) that unplugging things can reduce your bill, like unplugging things before going to bed or going out. It seems inconvenient because you have to plug everything back in, but maybe the savings will be worth the inconvenience.

  2. If you certainly want to lower your electricity bills, you don’t have to make any sacrifice at all. With some simple adjustments and monitoring you can achieve it. We all are aware that, appliances like heater, air-conditioner, dishwasher etc, consume high voltage. So, be planned before using these appliances. I moved into a larger apartment during last summer and when my first electric bill came, it soared to heights I didn’t even expect. Lately, I reduced the way I used my air conditioners, heater and other appliances. I found the difference in my next bill. So, if I could lower my bill by using everything efficiently, with no doubt you can also try the same. I think you can take this blog as reference http://www.theshockdoctors.ca/2014/09/most-common-reasons-for-high-hydro-bills.

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