When negotiating rent, having to pay the electric bill came as a surprise to me, but by using a great negotiating tactic, we actually got half a month of free rent in return for this concession.
That more than covers even the highest estimates of our electricity usage, but we still enjoying saving where we can. It’s a choice between keeping the money and giving it to the electricity supplier, and while we enjoy the service they provide, we prefer to have the money in our pockets.
We have a few rules we abide by that save a little bit of money each month, and a couple more changes we employ for larger savings, but we agreed that since in a way, it’s already been paid for and then some (by our one-month discount), we wouldn’t scrimp if it meant negatively affecting our lives.
Some of the small things we do include turning off lights when we leave a room and always shutting off the lights in the apartment when we’re out of the house. I have no idea how much money this actually saves us in a given month, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a good habit to have.
We also unplug the tv and cable if we leave for an extended period of time. Again, I have no clue how much this actually saves, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. This calculator at least gives an estimate (the conversion rate is the same, though rates vary across the country (and world)): http://www.synergy.net.au/at_home/energy_calculator.xhtml
We also use some more interactive techniques to help save. In the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall, we use the air conditioning. A lot. We love it cold (we’ve kept our radiators off so far this season), but leaving the air conditioning on all the time is a little overkill and certainly would suck up that extra savings.
So we cut back by setting timers in addition to using the energy saving mode (which keeps the room at a certain temperature by turning off and on as necessary). I use a timer to automatically shut off my air conditioning after a few hours of sleep. Usually, the air stays cool until I wake up and leave in the morning. If I don’t miss it, why not?
Readers, how do you save on your electricity bill? Should I go crazy and reduce my quality of life to save more money? Should the savings on that half month of rent be irrelevant here?