FRIDAY, MAY 18: Last week my wife had an invigorating cold shower to start her day. She didn’t plan it that way, but we had forgotten to plug the hot water heater back in.

We’re participating in the Energy Limbo: How Low can you Go Contest sponsored by the Government.

We’re half way through the contest now and every month our BELCO bill has been lower than the previous year’s bill. I can’t recall the last time our bill was just $216.

In April we used 18.76 kilowatts per day compared to 22.52 per day the previous year. Traditionally, it’s the month we use the least amount of electricity as we normally are off the island for two weeks.

We only used 17 per cent less electricity during the month and had been averaging 37 per cent prior to our ‘low’ month.

Still, we are pleased considering we weren’t in Bermuda for 16 days.

The biggest things we’ve done to try and save on our BELCO bill is 1) unplug our hot water heaters when they are not in use; 2) switch off lights and electronics when not using them; and 3) start using more LED bulbs (we already have CFLs so we are upgrading as the old bulbs burn out).

There are five months left in the contest and looking ahead I know that our June bill is usually reasonable as we normally don’t start using our air conditioners until May 24, but July through September our BELCO usage is up.

Last year we replaced two of our four air conditioners with more modern, energy-efficient ones.

This year we’ll replace the other two units, one of which is in the guest bedroom and doesn’t get used much.

Last year, I focused on price for the air conditioners, but this year I will look at the energy star rating.

Approximately 25 households are in the competition. Marc Bean, Environment Minister, Director of Energy Jeane Nikolai and permanent secretary for the Environment, Dr Derrick Binns, will also be taking part, but they will only be passive participants rather than competitors.

The winner will get a $600 travel voucher and the top three finishers will get to keep their electronic monitoring devices.