Money saver: The Energy Detective helps monitor how much electricity a house or business uses. *Photo supplied
Money saver: The Energy Detective helps monitor how much electricity a house or business uses. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, DEC. 23: I’m ready to save money.

Stuart Kriendler from Bermuda Engineering Co was at my house last week to install The Energy Detective (TED) device so I can monitor my electricity usage.

It is part of the Energy Limbo: How low you can you go contest being sponsored by the Department of Energy.

The winner of the contest gets a $600 travel voucher and the top three competitors will get to keep their TED device.

The contest starts in January and runs for 10 months.

The entire installation process was painless.

Bermuda Engineering set up a time, which was convenient for me to be home and told me that the installation process would take about two hours.

They lied.

It was only 90 minutes.

First off I have to commend Mr. Kriendler for his professionalism while he was there.

It’s very refreshing to have service at your house when the person is polite.

He informed me of the steps he was taking while he was installing TED.

I needed an Internet connection, access to my breaker panel and outlet plug for TED.

Mr. Kriendler set up a TED dashboard on my computer which gives me various stats to look at, including an hour-by-hour electricity usage as well as day-by-day.

I can even set it up to monitor up to five devices in my house to see how much energy I am burning on them individually every month.

I’m a stats guy so setting targets always motivates me.

And with some BELCO bills over $700, I can be highly motivated to lose money in these belt-tightening times.

That’s fairly high for a house that has just two people living in it.

Once TED went live I could get a gauge of what various appliances were costing me.

I’ve switched all my light bulbs — and I have 55 in my house — to CFLs and have started to switch over to LEDs as the CFLs burn out so they are not a big expense — about one cent per hour for the ceiling fans.

We had a record cold day of 54 degrees on Monday and that put our heaters to the test. Each one was costing 35 to 45 cents per hour while running.

Last winter we would routinely run three heaters in various rooms while we were home, even if we weren’t in those rooms.

That won’t be happening this year.

While Mr Kriendler was there he was explaining quite often hot water heaters were a big expense and kindly offered to check ours.

While examining it, he said ours was well insulated so it was losing heat and the temperature point was not set too high so we were already off to a good start.

He said one way we could save money was to put it on a timer so for those hours when no one is home it’s not running and costing money.

My wife and I have made a point to buy energy efficient appliances, so I suspect our biggest problem is waste.

TED will help give us a physical reminder to turn things off if not using them.

I’ve been watching TV and seen the energy usage jump from eight cents an hour to 98 cents and jumped up to see what was going.

I’m looking forward to January and the start of the contest proper.