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PAGE 6 NOVEMBER 2011 LET’S SAVE ENERGY TOGETHER


Tracking the energy you use Follow the signs for a better way to savings


BY JOHN DRAKE 


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at potato chips straight out of the bag and they’ll be gone in no time. Pour them into a bowl first and they tend to disappear a little slower.


The same goes for electricity. Learning to track how much electricity your home uses is a good way to start managing that electric use, which is billed by your electric co-op in kilowatt-hours (kwh).


Devices are available in stores that provide a constant, digital reading of how much electricity your home or even individual appliances are using. One type, like the Kill A Watt™, fits between an electrical outlet and an appliance to give you an instant reading of how much electricity that particular appliance draws.


Another type connects to your electricity meter and wirelessly relays use information to a small screen inside. Called an in- home display, the device looks similar to a wireless weather monitor and can help make consumers more aware of energy being used day to day. Research conducted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, shows that most consumers who have an in-home display use less energy than those without one. And even after homeowners stop paying attention to the devices, most still use one to three percent less energy than before.


Whether in-home displays catch on and become permanent fixtures in the average co-op member home remains to be seen, but if you’d like to take a proactive approach to understanding your home electric use, the in-home display may be worth a try. You could use the knowl- edge that your in-house display provides to change the way you use electric- ity in your home and save yourself some money.


There’s also the old- fashioned way of tracking electricity use: reading your meter. As your home draws current from power lines, your electricity meter keeps a steady record of every watt being used. Many meters today are digital, replacing the older—though still reliable—design that uses spinning disks and dials.


Digital versions make tracking energy use easy: simply jot down the number you see, and check it again in a month. The difference between the two represents the amount of electricity that has been used for that month, or a typical billing period. Check it more frequently to get an idea of how you use electricity in a given week, or even day by day.


To read an older model meter (with spinning dials), write down the numbers as shown on the small dials from left to right. Some of the dials


spin clockwise, some counter-clockwise, but record each number closest to the dial hand. Once you have the full reading, it can be compared to later readings.


If you have any questions about reading your meter or learning more about how much electricity your home uses, please give me a call at 800-780-6486, ext. 233.


For energy use questions or to schedule a free energy audit, please call John Drake or Mark Zachry at 800-780-6486, ext. 233.


Are sneaky leaks robbing your home of energy?


If so, your cooperative energy detective can help. Choctaw Electric Cooperative’s energy use specialist will complete a thorough energy audit of your home. You’ll find out where your home is losing energy, and how to correct the problem.


Energy audits are always free for co-op members. To take advantage of this service, please give us a call today.


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CEC


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