I pay for my Gas and Electricity on a 3 months cycle, I always pass a meter reading to make sure that it is true to life and none of this Estimated stuff as that could leave you with a nasty shock when they do actually read the meters. Due to both the high prices and how much equipment I own that is powered by electricity – I decided to get myself one of those fancy meters that tell you in real time how much is been used and how much it all costs. I Called my Supplier (Souther Electric) and switched to a package which allows the free device.
I Need to say that it took MANY weeks for this to arrive, they claim they had lost the shipment but finally it turned up a few days after I called to complain (funny that). It was simple enough to clamp the device onto the 4th wire which ran to the fuse box, this is powered by battery.
The base unit was white and branded “southern electric” but it was in fact produced by CurrentCost and is called the Envi. The base unit talks to the device wrapped around the electricity supply by wireless of some sort and although there is a RJ45 on the back, I suspect this is not Network but more Serial.
Device in use
Once you have set everything up such as the time, the rate and so forth – basically it tells you how much is been used Now (in Watts), How much per day (In local currency) and per month (estimated of course). I suppose if you could end of getting paranoid and worry about switching things on but the idea was to find out how much juice the computer really takes and also to spot large spikes (and get rid of them) during the day.
When I get the chance, I plan to power everything down and see that it reads Zero. I need to power on the normal stuff that stays on all day and night such as Modem, Router, monitors on Stand-by and so on – this should hive me a rough reading of how much per day I am wasting. The next step is to power on one computer at a time (complete) and leave for a while – see how much each uses.
A graphical example
With the TV + all Media boxes on (Cable, Satellite) and house lights (which are fitted with energy saving bulbs) – I was burning up about 44 Watts or about 12p per day. I booted a Laptop, desktop and 2 monitors and we jumped up to 80 Watts or 22p per day. Now you might say – so what right? What if I started to power down (or get rid) of external drives, surplus Laptops and such or even jumped to a single screen? The goal as I said was to work out if the computers were eating up the electric or in fact hardly making any difference.
I shall post another time a complete break down of each device with per day usage – the result might make interesting reading.