FRIDAY, FEB. 17: “Turn out the lights the party is over” might be a famous line from a Willie Nelson song, but its become the mantra in our house.

I know my grandparents would be proud, but we when leave a room we are turning off the lights, TV and whatever else we may have been using.

It’s helped keep our BELCO bills down the past two months as e are taking part in the Bermuda Government’s Energy Department’s Energy Limbo: How Low Can You Go contest.

Approximately 25 consumers are taking part. 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.

My December KWH usage dropped from 1,782 to 1,010 and my January usage from 1,505 to 1,049.

That’s roughly about 20 KWH per day less. My wife and I ended up using 37.9 per cent less energy in December 2011 than 2010 and 39.3 per cent less energy in January.

Mind you, my BELCO bills have still been pretty close to $400, but better that than $600.

All the contestants have been given a device called The Energy Detective to help give us real time energy usage.

It doesn’t lower your costs, but is a visual reminder that you are using energy.

We have plans to put our hot water heaters (we have two) on timers so when we are not in the house they can be shut off rather than burning unnecessary kilowatts.

We are not running our heaters as much and have opted for sweaters and sweats as the first line of defence against the coldness of winter.

The first results of the contest should be next week.

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