FRIDAY, JUNE 8: Five months into the Energy Limbo: How Low Can You Go contest, my wife and I stand fifth.

As you can see by the accompanying chart (we are contestant #2), we’ve cut our electricity consumption by 31 per cent.

Most of the 18 contestants have cut their energy usage, but four have actually increased their consumption.

We’re well behind the first place family, who have reduced their BELCO bill by an incredible 43 per cent.

I’m not sure if we can cut the gap in the remaining five months of the contest.  We haven’t received June’s bill and it probably will be less than 31 per cent so we really only have four months to slice into the lead.

I’ve roughly saved $700 off my BELCO bills this year, extrapolating that out for a full year that translates into $1,700.

Something I didn’t know until the contest is I can check my bill online at BELCO’s website (www.belco.bm). If you want to check your own usage, you’ll need your account number and your driver’s licence.

You will set up a five-number PIN and then be ready to access your account.

Besides being able to check your bill, you can figure out what your estimated bill will be; a consumption analysis and you can set it up so you get an eBill rather than having it sent to you in the mail.

I don’t need the bill sent to my house when I can get it quicker through e-mail; I know that’s bad for the post office, but it’s good for me, BELCO and the environment.

We did have some big months of energy usage last year, which we’re hoping we’ll be able to reduce by 40 per cent as we use more efficient air conditioners.

I picked up a new 8,000 BTU unit from Bermuda Gas two weeks ago to replace the 5,000 BTU energy hog we will use the most this summer.

We opted for the best rated energy star air conditioner and ended up with a Frigidaire.

The price was good too. The surprising thing was it is $400 at Bermuda Gas and when I was at Arnold’s Warehouse the same unit was $429.

Just goes to show warehouse shopping isn’t always the cheapest option.

I still have a second unit to replace another older, energy eating air conditioner.

That should help us as we deal with July through September’s bills.

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 — The Energy Detective (TED).

TED is a real time device that can estimate how much your BELCO bill will be with hourly updates.

Highs and lows: 14 of the contestants have had their energy usuage go down since the contest started. *Chart courtesy of the Department of Energy