Electricity Usage in 2020

It’s getting to that time in the year; I’m noticing my toes feeling cold as I sit or walk around indoors. It’s not yet time for heating, but perhaps another layer of socks are in order. From the beginning of April to the end of October I have no heating on in my house; this is normal for me and I only realise it’s not normal for everyone when I turn up at a client’s house (say, in the middle of July) and they have the heating on and set to something stupid like 20 degrees C. Maybe when I’m an old man I’ll do the same.

I use Bulb* as my electricity supplier and today, for the second week in a row they’ve emailed me to request a meter reading; perhaps they’re concerned about my abnormal usage, but I confirmed I’d only used 15KwH since last week. Their website also presented me with a graph showing my typical monthly usage:

I’m quite proud of this; I’ve tried to curb my computer/internet usage (my main bugbear) during the summer months and I economise on my oven-usage by hardly ever using it. I sometimes cook Sunday lunch which I share with relatives, but I economise on this by cooking other things at the same time that I can eat during the next few days. Other things are quick and easy under the grill or on the hob; I can’t be doing with spending hours cooking. I also have cold showers (which use a minimal amount of water too). Sitting in front of my computer all day can add a couple of KwHs over the course of a week. Rather than watch lengthy video content on a big screen (unless it would be of benefit) I’ve been downloading them and watching/listening to them on a phone or tablet computer instead.

I’m still contemplating participating in in Einstein@home for the winter months, to add some extra warmth to my home with the use of computers (since SETI@home is no more). I have some computers ready-and-waiting. But I also have a stack of firewood to burn in my stove; I’m looking forward to using that again, but again, I won’t light it “for the sake of it”; it’s easier to do this when living my your own. The graph above’s higher grey bars shows my usage from when I’ve had my computers on searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

It’s also easy to monitor your own electricity usage rather than a who household’s; no smart meter required; I don’t agree with those – they surely just go ignored after a while. I just consider what things use electricity and make a point of both switching things off when I’m not using them (even my main breaker during some nights), and I try to combine the usage of things. Once a week I make a note of my meter reading and calculate how much I’ve used since the last one and I think about what I used during the week that might explain a rise or fall in my expected usage.

*By the way, if you’re in the UK and not using Bulb, you can sign up and get £25-£50 (for both of us). Click here if you’re interested.


    • I thought Simon Sinek was going to have more to say in that video… it seemed he thought so too. “Global warming” does indeed sound quite cozy. Personally I just think it’s a waste (primarily of money for me) to put heating on unnecessarily. Plus, in the coldest part of winter it takes an age to heat the house, then I go to bed, and then the next day I start the process all over again.

      I have considered if these @home things were secretly doing bitcoin mining or something, rather than searching for aliens; I had a similar thought about Windows Updates when they take so long to process.

  1. One of our energy suppliers some years ago supplied us with a gadget that clips on to a meter wire and transmits to a small clock-sized monitor to display electricity use. All we use it for is to check whether someone is in the electric shower before turning on the kitchen tap, so as not to reduce their water supply and alter the temperature. Otherwise we don’t look at it at all. It doesn’t measure gas, of course, but even if it did it would be of no other use whatsoever. Only an idiot would waste gas and electricity at the prices they charge. Anyone would think we go through thought processes such as “Oh no, we can make a cup of tea because we’ve used too much electricity today already”.

    • I boil a kettle for washing up and will often boil it again straight after for a cup of tea/coffee (obviously only filling the kettle up enough for the purpose), rather than leave it until the kettle is cold. Alternatively I could pinch a bit of the full kettle for the cuppa, before washing up with the rest. If energy prices rise too much it might be cheaper to forego washing up and just buy new crockery instead.

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