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18 November 2008

Meter reading results

Reading our meters gives us a real chance to cut back on our use of precious resources. It's like tracking your money when you start budgeting - you need to know how much you're spending, and on what.

On my first day of meter reading my electricity meter was on 22437, my water meter was 369233.

When I did the second reading after using normally for two days, the meter read 22469 which is pretty dismal for us. It just shows me that we have to watch this all the time and not think it's okay to leave appliances plugged in or lights turned on. The second reading was 22488. Much better but it's not our best. We can get it much lower than that and I'll talk to Hanno later in the week about getting back to our old levels. According to our latest bill, which went up yet again!, that reduction over two days would have saved us about $90 over the course of a normal billing period. That's incredible, but it shows just how powerful a saving tool it is to read the meter.

The reduction in greenhouse gas emission is incredible too. If we can stay on that lower level we would be saving tonnes of gas emissions every billing period.

That was much the same over the four days: we used between 102 and 107 litres each (28.8 gallons) per day.

The thing that really get me about this exercise is that is is SO easy to do. Turning off, unplugging, hanging out, cutting back - it's simple and easy and everyone can do it. We just have to have the will to do it.

I'm pretty sure the cost of utilities is rising world wide. Our electricity cost has risen twice in the past year. Let's do something about it. Let's stop being sitting ducks for the utility companies to rake in profits by taking control of ourselves and our usage of these precious products. Now is the time, my friends. We can all do it.

So how did you go? I hope you saved a lot - both in gasses and money but my wish for all of us is that we will be amazed at how easy it is to cut back and shocked enough by our reductions that we keep them low. Now I'm looking forward to reading all the comments about your reductions.

Hanging laundry

Saving electricity

PS: To all those who asked about the storms here, Hanno and I are fine. We had, and are still having, a lot of rain, but there was little wind here and no damage. Just 50km south, entire streets were wiped out, houses flattened and trees down. It's incredible, as on the same news broadcast we saw those terrible fires in LA. I hope everyone here from that area is safe and sound. Thanks for asking about H and I.


  1. Glad to see you and Hanno are ok. We are getting some of that glorious rain that has travelled up from your way.
    Your electricity challenge has come at a good time 19 year old step daughter has just moved home for a while. Oh boy does that meter fly.
    Hugs to you

  2. I read our meter daily for 5 days and we used 12-13 "whatever they are" daily. Hotwater meter was 5-6. I thought it would have been much more as the pump comes on anytime we use water and I also have had to water some garden plants. Haven't tried turning things off yet. We are a household of two.
    Patricia in North Queensland

  3. Thank you for letting me know your well.
    I am so proud of the example your setting . I have as I said before saved $30. from the same period last year. Plasma TV's use $5. a month, our old tv uses .47 cents a month. Our big cost is the extra refrigerator in the garage. It is old and not efficient. By keeping Ice in the freezer and not cooling empty space one can Make a difference there as well.

  4. p.s.
    We do not own a plasma, just to make the point.

  5. Hello Rhonda,

    Have just found you and I'm thrilled to have stumbled across your Blog. We are living in Sydney and can't wait to live the good life sometime soon. I am really looking forward to catching up on all your previous posts and will comment when I can. I think its so nice to support you good people who take the time and energy to share your life journey.

    Thankyou Gail

  6. Great post! Up until 2yrs old, I was able to read my meters (water/electric) but they have automated and that task was taken from me. I am in the habit of turning off lights and unpluging thing. My grandma used to do that so it stuck. It makes a difference, I tell you. Glad you and yours are safe. Take care.

  7. We are a 2 adult household and reduced our average daily electricity from 18 to 16.5 units and water from 430 to 205 litres.

    We have just moved back to this house and after the first two days we replaced the existing light globes with energy efficent ones. I turned a few things off at the power point and left the blinds open a little longer so the lights were turned on a little later.

    I did a couple of loads of washing on each of the first two days but none on either of the second two. We were also more aware of how long we were in the shower and reduced this on the second two days.

    I look forward to reading other suggestions from your readers.

    Deb, Far South Coast NSW

  8. Over the past 2 days we averaged 18kw per day for electricity and 435L per day for water.

    I think we have a few water leaks but we are renting and the landlord won't do any maintenance so I am not sure what to do. I will keep monitoring over the next week as we cut back our usage.

    I found our electricity bils from eight years ago the other month and we averaged 13kw per day!

    We are a family of 3.

  9. grr blogger, just lost my whole comment!

    ok we used between 11 and 18 power whatever they r
    and about 450 l water
    for a family of 4, who for the most part r home all day everyday.

    we r now working on once daily dish washer and laundry loads
    turning things off
    and not using the plasma as much
    4min showers too

  10. I didn't take the challenge but great job to all who did!

    This week my dd was home from college and I spent 3 days making her birthday cake for her 21st b-day and getting a party togther. She came home unexpectantly lol!

    I was just too busy to take part but it is my loss.

    Thank you for thinking about our Californians who are losing homes to these awful fires. I feel so bad for them sitting here in Texas with my family safe and my home secure.

    It just breaks my heart.

  11. Hi. Am new to this site/blog but have been reading for past several days and I just love it! Came to it via SPA's blog. Our country went prepaid awhile back and gave us choice to switch and so for 3 months i read our power meter every day (every morning) and figured out how & where to cut down and managed to get it down from over 700kw to under 400k - so that when they started giving subsidies for those under 500wats per month I have managed to get subsidy for 3 months running! My son is the only one that I have to constantly work on - he will be good abut not running his air condition all night for awhile then backslide - its a constant issue - I am ready to just take it away. he did NOT die those times he didnt turn it on...

    Anyway, am always trying to reduce so it is great to get more ideas on how to do so. love this site. glad you both are recovering and am also praying for all out there!

  12. Right now we're in a rental house with a suite, and our utilities are divided up proportionally. So any reductions we manage to make would be absorbed by the tenant and we'd not get as much of a discount. However, when we buy our own place I plan to do as you do and read the meter so I can get a handle on usage and see the effects of simple steps on our usage. I think of it the same way as a money budget.

  13. Well, I missed a few days of reading so I have begun again! I know there is room for improvement. We have minimum charges here despite what we use. I am conserving both for the planet and to save money. I look forward to more posts of this nature.

  14. Rhonda,
    I am sad to say that our usage in both water and electricity went UP!! UGH!! But I think that had to do with the first days being during school/work days and the later being weekends when all five of us were home most of the day. I am going to continue to challenge the family to conserve and see what the difference is after a week.
    Thank you for the challenge. I am continuing to push the family to turn things off when not in use!
    shannon B, Monmouth OR

  15. Hi
    I'll keep reading the meter for a few more days yet. We can't quite work out why we have the highs & the lows.

    So will keep a better record of what we are using each day. I know hot water is a biggy for us - we all love a long hot shower blush.

    JUst been grocery shopping & I can't believe how much things are going up. I am soo pleased we price book shop as we are still living/eating well with the price increases

    Love Leanne

  16. glad to hear you guys are safe - the wind was bad - we lost a few trees next door - i think i will take up this challenge - with a house of 5 and a power bill of about $800 per quarter - it will be interesting..

  17. Hello to all,I read our meters for five days. Our electric use averaged about 36 kilowatts a day. The water used averaged from 41 sq.ft. to 19 sq.ft. A sq.ft. of water is approx. 7.5 gallons. The higher use of water was the day three hot showers were taken and two large loads of laundry were done. That same day we used 43 kilowatts of electricity. I'm so glad I did this challenge, it has made me so much more aware of the importance of cutting back and reducing our use of water and energy. Thank you, Donna J.

  18. We Win!!!
    100mms rain
    no power used for 26 hours so no water pump so no water used.

    About 100% reduction!!

    LOL don't you just love summer storms.


  19. I defrosted the larder freezer this week as we have a lamb carcass due soon. We take twice daily meter readings and I can pinpoint EXACTLY what makes the meter whizz round in the evenings and that is the immersion heater. In the summer, with no Hergom stove on (that does heating and hot water) we have no choice but to rely on the immersion for bath water (shower has a newt in the works we fear!) We have now turned the immersion off as my darling OH has lost the booklet which tells you how to alter the timer! So it is manually operated from now on and we hope to have good savings . . . If I have the cooker on, it is never just to cook one thing, but half a dozen!

    As for water (which is free here as we have our own supply), it has been raining and raining and raining . . .

  20. So glad that you are safe and well.
    My average reading was between 18,11,23,17 for the hot water and for the normal power 16,15,13,14kw per day. I can't read our water meter because I don't have access to it. But over the past 5 months I have cut back on our water consumption by purchasing a front loader washing machine, stop using a dishwasher(broken down and don't care if it doesn't get repaired), cut back on our showers, don't have any baths anymore. Our water bill has gone from $30.00 per 3 months to now being in credit by $17.00 and that is over the course of 6 months

  21. So glad that you are safe and well.
    My average reading was between 18,11,23,17 for the hot water and for the normal power 16,15,13,14kw per day. I can't read our water meter because I don't have access to it. But over the past 5 months I have cut back on our water consumption by purchasing a front loader washing machine, stop using a dishwasher(broken down and don't care if it doesn't get repaired), cut back on our showers, don't have any baths anymore. Our water bill has gone from $30.00 per 3 months to now being in credit by $17.00 and that is over the course of 6 months

  22. thank you for the inspiration,you've really given me a push in the right direction,i was shocked snd how much gas and electric i was using and amazed at how much i have already reduced.i live in England so i know the main cause is the tumble drier and just have to organize the laundry around the weather forcast!thanks for sharing your wonderful blog
    alison x

  23. Hi Rhonda your writings inspire me. We have a bit of a veggie patch happening here in suburbia and wondered how do you keep cauliflowers free of white moth caterpillars?


  24. We found it easy enough to get down to 7-8 kWh/day total for two people but got stuck at that level until we got an electricity monitor. Ours is a Wattson (made by DIY Kyoto) because you can log it but there are others around. Watching it becomes compulsive. The risk of course is of becoming a total energy nerd but the meter readings do come tumbling down. We're at 3-4 kWh/ day now but can't get much lower because of the devices that mustn't be turned off - fridge, freezer, CH boiler, fire alarms, etc. It's been an enlightening process.

  25. I've been tracking my Gas and Electricity meters for a few months now and its amazing how much energy is used at different times of the year. Its a great tool for negotiating payments with the utility companies too.

    I take a reading on the first of every month (I have a spreadsheet set up for this) and I phone the companies to tell them my readings too. That way, my bill is always accurate so when price hikes come I'm paying what I owe, not what someone thinks I should be paying.

  26. Love reading how everyone is doing with their challenge; it all helps motivate me ! We decided to do ours over a week to give a better picture; thanks to Rhonda's past inspirations we have already cut down as much as we think we can, so it will be quite a challenge to try & get the consumption lower. Thanks Rhonda.

  27. On my last comment, I meant to say cubic feet not square feet. My mistake. Donna J.

  28. I read the elec. meter for five days now and we average about 45/day. We're a family of nine, though, and I do a lot of laundry. Since it's too cold to dry outside, I now hang in the cellar. We still need to cut back. I'd love some suggestions!

  29. Rhonda, we went from an average of 14 kilowatts per day to 11.5 per day. Hanging clothes on drying racks, using the crockpot, and eating dinner by candlelight, besides unplugging and turning off appliances, were our strategies. We changed over to compact fluourescent bulbs throughout our house a couple of years ago, and that had a significant impact on our kilowatt usage/bill.

  30. Gah, I've been posting the figures on my blog rather than updating here! Oh well, here are the figures;

    Thurs: 15019
    Fri: 15033
    Sun: 15067
    Wed: 15130

    So over the week we have consumed 111 units of Electricity for a family of six. That is a daily average of 15.85.

    Still can't find the water metre :o


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