Checking our electricity usage

We've been busy here the past week or so. We had plumbers in looking at an ongoing problem, which they finally fixed. A few visitors dropped by and Hanno and I had lunch with the lovely Nannachel  and her son last Thursday. I took advantage of the Down to Earth get-together at Caloundra on Saturday to declutter and sent some of my knitting, crochet and simple living books on to people who would use them. On Friday we found a worker on Airtasker to help us in the garden and clean up the mess after Hanno pulled down the wisteria arbour. The garden is looking good now and in a couple of months time, I'll take a photo of what they did.  At the moment it's very small tube stock, pine bark mulch and little else.

 This was my favourite little knitting book which is now in someone else's library.

Yesterday we met some of our family for lunch at the Cooroy Hotel, about an hour north of here, to  celebrate Shane and Alex's birthdays. Jens and Cathy have just returned from two months in Europe so I enjoyed seeing everyone and catching up with the news. Jamie had a wonderful time with his cousins and I was reminded, again, of how fast they're all growing up.

I gave Gracie a bone to chew on while we were away. She loves bones and protects them like a baby, even when all the meat has been eaten.  She sometimes buries them or hides them in her little outdoor house. But when we came home yesterday after our lunch, the picture below will tell the story.

And the culprit was ...

Now we have a few weeks ahead with no appointments or visitors so the gate will remain shut for a while. Hanno and I will be actively relaxing, gardening and wandering slowly around our yard, while we carry on with getting the garden how we want it, before the hot weather starts again.  I have a few plants to pot up and some to repot, as well as mulching and tidying the bush house. There is still a bit of not so heavy work in the vegetable garden and I'm looking forward to that.  I'm pleased to tell you I picked the first of our large tomatoes on Saturday.  They're still green but starting to turn pink and they'll continue to ripen in the kitchen.


Last week in the comments, Dollie White asked if our electricity usage had increased since we bought our dishwasher two years ago.  I didn't know and had to look it up. Generally our electricity usage is below average. In the year before we installed the dishwasher, and since, we registered:
  • June 2014 - 6.2 kW
  • Sept 2014 - 8.8 kW
  • March 2015 - 8.2 kW
  • June 2015 - 7.7 kW
New dishwasher in July 2015
  • Sept 2015 - 10.21 kW
  • Nov 2015  - 8.81 kW
  • Feb 2016 - 8.22 kW
  • June 2016 - 6.77 kW
  • Nov 2016 - 7.89 kW
  • Feb 2017 - 10.72 kW
  • June 2017 - 8.08 kW
Dollie, as you can see, we had a slight spike when we changed service providers and again at the beginning of this year when we had a long hot summer, but otherwise our usage remained the same.

We have a solar hot water unit and solar panels which earn us between $70 and $80 per quarter. We use our washing machine and dishwasher at night when the rate is cheaper and we always turn off lights and appliances we're not using.

I think we spent wisely buying an energy efficient Miele dishwasher.  I'm glad we invested our money that way because even though electricity costs have risen quite a lot in the past couple of years, the two of us (and many visitors) are still consuming less that the average for one person, which is 10 kW in this area.

What is your power bill like?  


29 comments

  1. Well she told you in no uncertain terms, "That's what you get when you go away and leave me!" LOL Many years ago one of our dog did that to us with a doggie bean bag bed!! When we moved out of that house 2 years later, we were still finding bean bag beans!

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  2. I like that you and Hanno will be "actively relaxing", Rhonda! How lovely:) I was interested to read that you use your dishwasher and wash machine at night because of cheaper rate. I run ours when the sun is on our solar panels during the day so we are using the electricity we generate rather than when we are generating nothing from the panels at night. Our installer recommended that so that we minimised our night time electricity usage and thus what we pay. Must investigate further in case I need to change that pattern of doing things. Our usage spiked too last Summer because it was soooo hot. We used our air con much more than the 5-6days over Summer that we normally would have it on. I hope this Summer to come is less harsh and hot! Meg:)

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    1. Meg, it would depend on how much you're selling your electricity for. We get 44 cents per unit when we sell to the grid. We buy it for much less. The way we use at night makes sense in this context but maybe not in yours.

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  3. Whenever I get our electricity bill it shows a comparison for our house to others around. Our family of 5 always comes in around the same as a 2 person household. I cant imagine how much electricity people must use knowing I am forever running around after the kids switching of lights! We use the dishwasher at least twice a day and I use the washing machine every day. We did spend a little extra buying energy efficient appliances, maybe that is the difference.

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  4. Rhonda, I am glad you mentioned 'Airtasker' as I couldn't remember the name after you mentioned it. We had a lovely, if a tad noisy, get-together on Saturday. I brought home your 'Chicks with Sticks' Crochet Guide'. Naughty Gracie! She does look guilty in the photo :-)

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    1. Oh, I can just imagine the chatter coming from that girls' luncheon. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.

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  5. I know I shouldn't find it amusing but I did get a good cackle looking at Gracie's mess. I'm sure you can't be angry at that little face too long though.
    Compared to other families our size we come in just below the average in electricity usage. I believe our biggest things are computers and lights. I'm forever turning lights off. I keep reminding the little culprit who is aware however forgets. We will get there.
    Since shopping around and changing supplier we have reduced how much we pay too.
    Enjoy closing your gate, sounds perfect to me.
    Kylie

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    1. I find it amusing too, Kylie, but I never let Gracie know that. :- )

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  6. The joys of having a little puppy, ha, ha. Such a delight. We are waiting with interest for our next power bill since having new solar panels installed, having found after an inspection that our other ones were faulty. They had burn marks on them apparently so it pays to have them inspected if you think your rebate should be higher.

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  7. I had friends with a dog like Gracie. As they were in Italy, they lived in an apartment. If they went out without the dog he would open the fridge, eat the butter and cheese, open the cupboards, pull everything out. Did it every time.

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  8. One of my dogs chewed a 30 cm circle out of a brand new rug. It was a huge and expensive thing bought to cover a quarry tiled floor. Did Gracie have the grace to look ashamed?

    Our power usage is below average for our sized family. But we haven't managed a no pay bill for the longest time. We try to limit the use of air conditioners, but we all feel the heat. So if the usage goes up in summer so be it. Probably our biggest power saver is a huge front loader I bought while dad lived at home. I was forever washing sheets etc.

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  9. Austrillia must have different billing then the do in United States. I've never seen a bill quite like that...But it been since 2000 we never had a power bill over a 100 dollars.
    Coffee is on

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  10. I think many of us are happy to close the gate for a while.I am still moving towards the life I want - the slow peaceful active life that you have. I have been reading your blog for many years ane it has helped me through many a bad patch. Off to make your chilli jam tonight!

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  11. Electricity bills are high in my part of the world, particularly in our flat because of air conditioning which is necessary if you really want to sleep well. I need it more than my husband anyway. We've moved into a new home very recently and I am trying very hard to keep electricity costs down. So far we seem to be doing ok.

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  12. Hello Rhonda, is it possible to tell us which electric company you're with. 44cents back seems a lot more than we can get here in NSW. We too were told to use our appliances during the sunniest part of the day.
    Blessings Gail

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    1. We're with Origin, Gail. I think the feed in tariff is set when you sign up with your solar panels. https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/solar/installing/benefits/solar-bonus-scheme

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  13. Hi Rhonda, what is that beautiful pink climber you have growing in your hothouse if you don't mind my asking?

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    1. Hi Leighlum, it's a type of zygo-cactus. I grew it from a cutting so I'm not sure of it's exact name. It's as tough as nails.

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  14. Hi Rhonda Jean, Gracie looks like she was a very busy little lady while you were gone.
    It is always very interesting to me people's power/hydro/electricity consumption is. I believe the average Ontario (where I live) consumption is around 30 kW a day. We average right around where you do. We have a dishwasher too but no clothes dryer. We also have equipped all of our lights with LED bulbs.
    Enjoy your day!
    Robin

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    1. Hi Robin, we're very similar, aren't we. We too have no clothes dryer and have almost finished switching over to LED lights. Every small thing makes a small difference.

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  15. I have never seen a dog who could look so guilty! Good thing she is so cute!

    Years ago we knew a man who worked in research at GE for 40 years. He always replaced their refrigerator every 5 years because he said it would pay for itself in energy savings. Over the last 4 years we have had replace many appliances due to age and wearing out and our electric bill has gone way down.

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    1. Lana, I agree with that. When we replace our electrical appliances, we always buy the highest energy rating we can afford. It does make a real difference to the power bills.

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  16. Had to laugh at the "snow" on your porch. We came home to a similar sight in our family room one of the first times we ever left our dog Mishka alone. He ate some of the batting but fortunately it passed through him. Right now we have a kitten who likes to chew the arms of our office chairs. We have tried everything spicy and bitter on the arms to make him stop but he seems to like spicy and just ignores the taste. So we have surrendered and removed the arms until he gets past his teething stage. He likes to chew on Douglas's big dog cookies so we are trying to distract him with them.

    There is always a huge difference in our electric bill from summer to winter. In the four months of late spring and summer we never use lights because of the nearly 24 hours of daylight and no heat or air conditioning is required. But winter is very different with the running of the furnace and only 5 hours of daylight for about 3 months.

    At the moment we all get a credit of approximately $27 from our power company - we only have one so the lack of competition does make us servants to them alone - because they charged us for years when they built new facilities and the government determined that they were responsible to pay for the changes they made and not pass on the expense to the users. When this credit stops then everyone will have a higher bill and I don't think a lot of people remember this.

    This electric company is not one to advance into the 21st century with sustainable sources. They recently pushed through a liquid gas generator that no one wanted. Fortunately there are companies now coming forward to install solar and wind turbines. We already have several turbines and they suit the Yukon perfectly because there is always wind here and on the mountain tops it blows like mad.

    SunnyMidnight

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    1. Hello SunnyMidnight, lovely to see you again. I hope you're well. xx

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  17. My electric bill is around $11.00 in the winter, and goes up to $40.00 in the summer. I have LED light bulbs, too. I unplug my appliances, which really helps. I learned that on Oprah. I get at least one free month of electricity per year. It's nice.

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  18. Seems as you all had a good day on Sunday especially Gracie.
    Sorry I missed seeing you this trip.xx

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    1. Hi Jude, I hope you had a good time with the gals. I hope we catch up next time you're in town. xx

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  19. Hi Rhonda, I've just finished reading your book 'The Simple Life'.
    I just turned 39 on Monday. I'm single and live in Sydney. I have worked since I was 15 years old and I'm at the point where work has been my life and finally made the decision that something's gotta give. It is going to be a scary time for me embarking on a simpler life but reading your book has given me hope.

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  20. Our energy bill in Canada used to be $360 for two months. Now we're at $180 for two months (or $90 per month) for the two of us. When we had 5 of us living in the house just a few years ago (with the high energy bills) we had 4 TV's, 2 full size fridges & an old freezer. Now we are down to 2 TV's, 1 full size fridge, no extra freezer, a new energy efficient fridge & stove. The washer & dryer are old and I try to hang clothes to dry as much as possible. We are hoping to replace the old furnace and hot water tank this year with energy efficient models. I'd love to get solar panels one day.

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