Back in September 2011 you may recall that I started using a smart energy meter from Alert Me, you can read my first review of it here. To recap The Alert Me is an energy monitor with a difference. Instead of just connecting to your electricity supply, it also connects to your computer, so it can record all sorts of facts and figures about your electricity usage and you can access this from any computer or smart phone.
Since I first started using the meter I have added in a couple of smart plugs to the set-up. A smart plug is just that – it plugs into a socket and you plug an appliance into that, then the smart plug can then tell you exactly how much electricity that appliance has been using. I have used mine to test a new eco-kettle, as well as seeing how much electricity the television and washing machine uses. While appliances that have ‘standby’ settings may not use a lot of electricity on their own, a house full of them could use plenty.
The smart plug also has a clever additional feature in that you can control it remotely from a computer or smart phone! By fitting your appliances with Smart Plugs and turning these appliances on or off at the socket, either online or using your smart phone, you can control your energy use even if you’re out. How smart is that!
When I installed the Alert Me in September it was British Summer Time and my electricity consumption was relatively low. However, as soon as the clocks went back in October and the days got shorter, I watched my daily electricity consumption rocket. The main source of this massive increase has been the lights in my kitchen which take halogen light bulbs. I knew halogen bulbs were energy hungry but seeing it displayed on a meter has really driven that home. I would say that my electricity consumption in the winter has been double that in late summer. However, because of the complicated way electricity bills are put together coupled with an increase in electricity prices, I am unable to give you a specific figure for the cost of my electricity usage since I have been using the meter compared with not using it.
I still think it is a great idea, particularly when used in conjunction with the smart plugs because it gives me a handy visual aid to wave at the rest of the family when I am shouting at them to turn the lights off!
What do you think of the AlertMe kit, do you think it could help you reduce your energy consumption? Would you find the ‘smart plug’ a handy device to lower your energy bills? Do you have a kit, we’d love to hear what difference it has made to you?
Thanks our very generous friends at AlertMe, we have two AlertMe Smart Energy kits worth £49.99 each to giveaway. For your chance of winning, simply complete the box below when the competition commences on 1st March 2012.