Over the years, my husband Peter, 62, and I have saved up and visited Malta, Spain, Greece and Turkey. So I try to economise around the home.
Being energy-conscious is part of that and in June we had a smart meter installed as I’d read that they can help people budget.
Peter was chuffed since it takes readings automatically, saving him squeezing past my baking equipment into the cupboard with the torch.
The meter is saving us money as now we’re much more aware of our energy use and how it translates into pounds and pence. The in-home display is in our kitchen and at first I was shocked by how much some appliances cost.
The kettle sends my energy usage right up. I can’t cut down on my cups of tea – but now I boil only what I need. I also use the eco programme on the dishwasher, switching it on before I go to bed. It lasts three hours – far
longer than the normal cycle – but apparently that’s because it uses less water and heats it more slowly.
I’m stricter about the lights, too. We swapped all our bulbs to low-energy ones, but I had a habit of leaving the kitchen light on in the evening as I knew I’d go back to make a cuppa. I’ve stopped that and I’m like a meerkat about the landing light, constantly checking if it has been left on.
My son Wesley, 36, has moved home for a few months, and the other night he went to bed without switching it off. I was on my feet in seconds! I did wonder if Wesley might use a lot of electricity now – I remember
him as a teenager having showers all the time and being on his games console. But now he’s usually at work.
It is funny though as when his son Max, 7, visits, he’s glued to his tablet like his dad was to the PlayStation. The technology just keeps changing. I realised the other day that, with all these gadgets, we must use much more electricity than we did a generation ago. I’ve got a mobile phone which, in fairness, costs very little to charge.
But when you think of all the people with mobile phones, there must be a lot of electricity gobbled up simply charging them.
The other resident of our home is Georgie, the Staffordshire bull terrier. Even he consumes electricity, because I leave the front room light on for him if I go out for the evening. I don’t like to think of him alone in the dark, although I don’t suppose he cares, snoozing away on the settee. In one way Georgie saves me money though – he hates the vacuum cleaner and tries to bite it, especially when I put on the attachment to get into the corners. So
I vacuum less than I would otherwise to avoid stressing him out.
He turns 11 on Boxing Day – and has a grey muzzle to prove it. We always have a birthday party for him, with the grandkids and a pile of presents underneath the Christmas tree. There might even be an extra squeaky ball under there, thanks to the money the smart meter is saving us.
To find out more about getting a smart meter installed click here.
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