Why has my electricity use increased?

In my last post on this topic I asked you what your reaction is when utility bills arrive and I challenged you to start monitoring your energy use.

I monitor my home’s electricity and gas consumption daily when I am at home.  The idea is that I can see when our power use changes and take suitable remedial action if necessary ;).

This year has proved a challenge, though.  We have had the frostiest winter for 10 years.   We have at least two people working on computers most days, often late into the night.  And we have teens who like to be rather WARM – while wearing very little – and who don’t necessarily remember to turn things off, or open or close the curtains…especially if I’m not around (and I’ve been away a bit this year).

So why was I surprised that our winter electricity consumption was higher this year than last (just like it was last quarter)?  Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me…J

There are, at least, a few of things on the bright side.

  1. Our electricity consumption is still about half that of similar sized households in our area.
  2. Our new photovoltaic system (solar electric panels on the roof) worked a treat.  Cold frosty mornings followed by bright sunny days is what it loves.  So on those days we generated more electricity than we used.  And because there were a lot more of those brilliant winter days than there were of very cloudy or rainy days, our total generation exceeded our total consumption.
  3. Our average daily gas usage was down a little compared with the same period last year.  This is a good result, because some people around here have started turning on the gas booster on our solar hot water system whenever they want a shower…addled teen brains are ignoring years of training and notices about only using it when it has been cloudy!  And it means that we weren’t wasting energy heating the whole of the ground floor unnecessarily and that our extra energy efficiency measures are working.
  4. I have discovered that there is a hole in the insulation above the study, which is only heated with electricity…no wonder it was feeling a little chilly and power consumption was up!  Now to fix it so the study will be cooler in summer and warmer – and thus use less energy – next winter…
  5. I’ve already resumed my old routine of having decent, physically active breaks from the computer – the physical activity is better for me as well as the planet and my hip pocket.  I wonder when my children will start dressing sensibly again?

How did your energy use in your most recent bills compare with the same time last year?  Do you know how it compares with your neighbours, or similar households in your area?  Post your answers in the comments box.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!