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A New Tool for Electricity Savings

It’s now possible to log into your online account with BC Hydro and see on the screen how much electricity you’re using on a daily and hourly basis. I live in a 2-bedroom condo apartment with electric baseboard heaters and an electric hot water tank. Heating the home in the winter always adds up to a higher electricity bill, of course. But now that I can see the hourly electricity consumption, it’s clear that hot water is one of our big electricity hogs too. You can see that in the picture here: that big spike at 8:00 am is mostly because one person took an 8-minute shower! The shower is quick but it takes the electric hot water tank a lot of time and electricity to heat up again. We were out after that and had all the lights off and heat turned down through the afternoon until 4:00, so it’s easy to see the pattern.

The online chart shows each hour’s consumption in kWh and in dollars, reported one day later. In this case, I can see that the cost of our electricity between 8:00 am and 10:00 am was 45 cents, with the shower alone being about 25 cents. Showering like that every day? $15 dollars over two months. So now we know that we could save money by taking a shorter shower or re-thinking that habit of showering every day.

Now I’m trying to figure out if it’s better to cook in a small toaster oven or in the big oven. I can measure the toaster oven’s electrical consumption directly with a little plug-in electronic energy meter, but I can’t do that with the big oven. Given all the lights, hot water and appliances that are in use around dinner time, it’s not entirely clear yet but I’m working on it!

Learn about this new tool here: Using MyHydro

We’re going to see big price hikes with BC Hydro rates in the next few years, so it’s smart to think now about changing habits and making our homes more energy-efficient.