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Save Money on Electricity Ideas That Will Make You Smile

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

There are many ways to save money on electricity. These ways can be divided into categories which  has an easy to remember acronym: - SMILE. If you follow this acronym you will save money and if that doesn't make you smile I don't know what will.

Here's the acronym explained:

Switch supplier, how much could you save?
Measure, where are you leaking electricity?
Insulate your home to make it more energy efficient.
Lower your electricity consumption.
Earn by generating your own electricity.

Let's look at each of these categories to save money on electricity in more detail.

Switch supplier, how much could you save?

If you have not looked to switch supplier in recent years this is potentially the easiest and most effective way to save money on electricity. It has been well publicized that you should regularly shop around to make sure that you have the best deal. Many people remain loyal to the same supplier. This loyalty is misguided. Energy suppliers are in business to make money, if you do not shop around you are effectively lining their pockets at your expense.

There is no need to fear switching supplier. There are many independent websites that will tell you how much you could save and arrange to make a switch. You can do this in minutes, all you need is an internet connection and your last few electricity bills. You should review all your utility suppliers at least once per year. Its easy and you could save hundreds.

Measure, where are you leaking electricity and money?

This can be a fun exercise to do with the whole family. You will need to know how to read your meter and how much you pay per unit consumed. Surprise your family when everyone is at home and you think that the house is using a lot of electricity. Show the family the meter and calculate how much electricity is being consumed and how much this would cost per day, per month and per year.

Ask each member of the family to select one item to switch off and then see the impact on the meter and how much this would save per day, per month and per year.

Keep repeating this until the meter stops or the movement is negligible. It might take longer than you think to find every source of electricity consumption. Don't forget about appliances on stand by.  When the exercise is complete agree with the family what steps you will all take to stop wasting electricity. You could even agree an incentive scheme where allowances are linked to electricity savings!

Reading a standard meter is the low-tech solution to measuring electricity consumption. You could have a Smart Meter installed. There has been a lot of controversy about Smart Meters. If you are into numbers, determined to minimize your electricity costs and believe that you get what you measure then a Smart Meter would be useful. In any case the governments in the USA and Europe seem keen to roll them out to every household.

Insulate your home to make it more energy efficient.

Basic insulation such as loft insulation, floor insulation, draft excluders and cavity wall insulation is relatively cheap and can have a significant impact on heating costs. The payback for such projects is very quick (typically less than 2 years) and in addition you may be eligible for government grants.

Lower your electricity consumption.

There are many ways to lower electricity/energy consumption. The following ideas are easy to implement and will not have a significant impact on your lifestyle. I have focussed on the top 3 easy to implement ideas. Taken together they could you save you over one quarter of your electricity bill.

1. Fit low energy light bulbs. An average household's lighting accounts for 10-15% of total electricity consumption. Low energy bulbs consume 80% less energy. So a typical household may save 10% of its electricity bill by switching to low energy bulbs. Low energy bulbs are more expensive but they last up to 12 times longer than conventional bulbs.
2. Do not leave any electronic devices on standby. For an average household this will reduce your electricity consumption by 8%
3. Lower your thermostat by just 1 degree centigrade. This could reduce your energy consumption by 10%

Earn by generating your own electricity/energy

This very much depends on where you live and what goverment initiatives or subsidies are available to you. If you are fortunate enough to be eligible for such initiatives then you should certainly investigate the potential costs and savings. You may install solar heating panels to generate your own hot water or you could install Solar PV (Photovoltaic)  panels to generate electricity. You may use the electricity from PV panels to reduce your own costs and you may sell any surplus energy.

In the UK there is a government incentive scheme for Solar PV which guarantees an excellent return on investment. In fact the scheme is so rewarding that private companies have set up schemes to provide finance to householders to take advantage of these incentives. There are similar government initiatives in many European countries. In the USA the opportunities vary from state to state.

If there are no government incentives and/or guarantees available to you then solar heating panels or solar PV will save you electricity costs but the upfront costs will be considerable. The payback period will be long, probably at least 10 years. In these circumstances investing in such technology will be a personal choice and will depend on your desire to be more energy independent and your views on future energy costs.


It is possible to make electricity savings by making relatively small and easy to implement changes. If you have not paid much attention in the past to your electricty costs then the savings could be as much as:-

Switching Supplier -   10%
Measuring and Reducing Consumption – 25%
Insulation- 10%.

Not everybody can make these level of savings but most households will have the opportunity to reduce their costs by a significant amount.

In some countries and in some USA states there may be opportunities to take advantage of government initiatives to invest in renewable energy.

Take control of your electricity consumption today and when you get your next bill remember to SMILE.



Feb 22, 2011 2:57pm
It is amazing where you can be leaking electricity. My dad used to always keep a light on in the shed and forget about it! Great article.
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