7 ways I’m using too much electricity

how to reduce electricity consumptionThe connection I have with my friend Small Footprints, across the pond is uncanny.

This week I had a letter from my electricity provider, telling me we had gone £250 over credit and our monthly direct debit was going to increase by £33!

I was standing in the shower (counting down the three minutes I had allocated myself) and thought “I know, I’ll contact SF and ask her if we can do a challenge to reduce electricity consumption”, and hey, guess what?

I hop over there today for an update on our Change the World Wednesday challenge and she writes “This week, find at least one way to reduce energy use in your home. Need some ideas? If you have an incandescent light bulb, replace it with a LED or CFL. If your computer, modem and accessories are always on, try turning them off for a time. Try using table top appliances like a crock pot, toaster oven or steamer instead of your oven. If you use air conditioning or heat, try adjusting it by a couple of degrees. Unplug cell phone chargers, coffee makers or electronic docking stations. The goal is to take one step more to reduce energy use.

See? Who needs words?

I just saved myself some electricity by telepathically connecting across the pond rather than sending an email, right?!

But seriously, an extra £33 per month is virtually doubling our monthly payment. It’s not that the electricity price has gone up that much, but our usage obviously has.

Here are some of the things we’re currently doing that uses a lot of juice and the solutions I can think of:

Energy issue – oven usage

Every day for lunch I bake a jacket potato which takes 1 1/2 hours in the oven.


I’ll eat jacket potato once or twice a week and eat boiled or rice the rest of the week. It’s not difficult during the summer months.

Energy issue – immersion heater

I put the immersion heater on for a bath then don’t bother to use the water.


Just like this morning I’ll hop in the shower – it’s easy this time of year (but don’t keep me from my bath in the winter!)

Energy issue – long showers

Little Miss Green takes 20 minutes in the shower!


I don’t know; it’s taken me 10 years to get her interested in a shower, so maybe I’ll have a gentle word with her but not push the issue

Energy issue – Router

Mr Green insists on 24/7 router and computer peripherals.


I have no idea – after a long day at the computer working, he likes to relax with online radio shows on his smartphone. I’ve asked him to download them but he likes convenience. I’ve asked for weekend-free router days, but he’s not interested. The internet is his life – both for work and pleasure and I don’t know how I’m going to wean him off it!

Energy issue – heating

Last winter we ran out of wood and had to use electric heating; which is where I suspect our consumption increased so much.


I’ve got it! Drag Mr G from behind his computer screen, flick off the router and go out foraging for wood!

Energy issue – LIGHTS!

Each day I go into Little Miss Green’s bedroom once she has left for school and I find the curtains closed and the lights on. Ok, so they’re LEDs, but every little helps, right?


I’m going to switch her pocket money (which she just gets) to a daily ‘earning’ – this one has been coming for a long time because there are numerous bad habits stacking up such as dirty washing mixed up with clean, crockery and cutlery accumulating in her bedroom and lunchboxes left uncleaned at the end of the day. I’m adding “Open your curtains and turn off the light!” to her list of chores for which she can now EARN her pocket money. Ha!

Energy issue – smart meter

I’m totally out of the loop – we’ve not had our real time monitors in use for month, so I’m dis-empowered with what is going on.


Get the energy monitor back on and aim for less than 12 units per day (remember we run a business from home too, so our usage is quite high)

Ok, I’m on it – what about you? Any areas for improvement with your electricity consumption?


  1. Libi on June 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I so need to do this. The smart meter sounds like a great idea I will get on the case. One idea – I have no idea if this would be totally repulsive – can you bake 5 potatoes on Monday and then reheat them in the oven the rest of the week? It can’t be any worse than a microwave tattie can it? although that isn’t really saying much. sigh

  2. Small Footprints on June 29, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Well, let me say … you’ve got some powerful mental telepathy and I love how connected we are. Typically I know in advance what my challenge will be. But this week I had nothing … not a clue! I went for a walk and like magic (or a friend thinking about me), I had it … energy. So thank you, Mrs. Green … you saved the CTWW day!

    Here’s an idea for the potatoes … how about cooking them in a crockpot? Another idea is to steam the potato instead of bake it … nearly the same result.

    Does Mr. Green sleep? My hubby likes being connected, too, but at night, as we head for bed, all computers and peripherals get turned off. To make it easier, everything is connected to a power bar … one click shuts everything down. The next morning, everything is turned on and he’s back to being connected. So if Mr. Green sleeps, there’s an opportunity to reduce use.

    Thanks, Mrs. Green, for this post … and the CTWW mental message!

  3. Rachel Manns on July 1, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Great article and some great points made. I’m working on lowering my electricity consumption too, so this was a big help. Love the pocket money idea! xo

  4. Zoe @ecothrifty on July 3, 2013 at 5:59 am

    Can you get Mr Green to turn the internet off overnight? We have ours on a timer so that it goes off at night and comes back on again first thing in the morning.

    I think we are pretty good with our energy consumption – the only area where we could do better is with our mobile phones. I use the internet on mine too much and the battery runs out quicker than it could. Plus I often charge my phone overnight and I should do it in the day time as we have solar panels.

    Good luck with reducing your electricity bills!

  5. Neil on July 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Here’s a few ideas for Mr.Green.

    Get an Eco Button for the computer. It sits handy to one side gently glowing, with LED light. Finished for a session, just press the button to put the comp into a deeper more eco sleep than hibernate etc. Yet comes back pretty fast when needed again.

    Using the router wirelessly? Move over to Ethernet cable connection. It’s not so energy intensive and a bonus of a bit more broadband speed.

    Get an Eon desktop powerdown. All the comps peripherals are switched off along with comp.

    Every little helps