Friday, October 24, 2008
Measuring Energy (2)
Now it's time for the hard part: To measure energy usage regularly.
At the very least you should take meter readings once every quarter, this way you will be paying what you use rather than estimates. Feel free to lie to your utility company if you reckon that they will increase your monthly direct debit during the winter. This is essentially an interest free loan to your utility company. It's a shame that ofgem is such a gutless regulator. Again EbiCo has it right and doesn't provide discounts for receiving interest free loans from its customers (i.e. discounts for paying by direct debit).
You should aim to take meter readings every month. If you are really committed, like myself, you can take them every week. Make sure you take them at the same time each time (this is only relevant for weekly meter readings), as a couple of hours of heavy electricity or gas usage can skew your meter readings significantly.
Once you start taking readings, it is a good idea to put them in a spreadsheet. I personally use OpenOffice, it's free and can handle Micro$oft Office documents. The best idea is to create a plot like this one:
This way you can easily see how much energy you are using and with the plot above as a basis you can create a plot like the one below, which tells you how much it costs.