Why the secret to lowering energy bills could be in your kitchen drawer

ByLance T. Lee

Nov 12, 2022

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(Splash)

Everyone has one of those drawers full of random things like tape, thumbtacks (why?!), mystery keys, watch batteries, and other accessories that “might come in handy one day.” I suspect many people also have the secret to anticipating their energy bills in this drawer – especially if they’ve had a smart meter installed within the last 10 years.

If, like many people with smart meters, you’ve placed the little monitor (called In Home Display (IHD)) in “that drawer”, now is the time to dig it up. If you can’t find it, all is not lost – just ask your power supplier how to get a replacement (it’s usually on their website).

So how can this little device help? Most people get their energy bills monthly – sometimes even quarterly – which means we have to wait a long time to find out how much the energy we used cost us. Unfortunately, more Energy supplier systems are not like banking systems – they do not ingest data daily and provide a live balance. And with rising energy prices and increasingly unpredictable winter weather, it can be difficult to rely on past bills to predict future ones.

An IHD provides real-time information about the energy you’re using – whether it’s historical data showing the last day, week and month, or live data showing current energy consumption (and the cost). Most IHDs also have a useful budgeting feature that allows users to set their own spending threshold and track their usage against it. Your energy supplier is required to keep the tariff information on your meter and IHD up to date so that the costs you see are aligned with the charges on your bill. This means you no longer have to wait for your bill to find out how much you are spending.

In addition to providing an up-to-date view of costs, the technology lets you see the tangible impact changes can have on your bill, like turning your thermostat down just a degree or two. In my case, I was able to see how much energy my kitchen spotlights were consuming, which led me to invest in much more efficient LED versions despite the initial expense.

Many energy providers now offer online tools that use smart meter data to detect your home energy usage and provide personalized recommendations on how to reduce it. A small number of providers also offer a live balance feature so you always know exactly what your account balance is.

So go dig into “that drawer” and use your IHD, or order a new one and be sure to log into your online account to see how you could get smarter with your energy use and save money. crucial this winter.

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