Friday, September 12, 2008

Electricity bill doubled? Cut it by half again!

Bankelele's recent post entitled "Electric Shock" generated a lot of interesting reactions and it became clear that electricity bills of most Kenyans have doubled over the past few months due to an increase in fuel costs and other charges. President Kibaki promised today to influence the electricity generating and transmitting companies to lower their prices
But let's not wait for that, let's start saving now! KPLC's own electricity saving tips will not help us much in this respect ("never use your cooker as a room heater", sic) - so here are some more com
prehensive tips on how to cut your monthly electricity bill:
  1. Audit yourself. A home energy audit is a way to inventory your home’s energy use, where energy is lost, and where it can be saved. You can do an energy audit yourself or get a professional to do it for you. Many utility companies in other countries offer home and business energy audits for free. There is nothing like that in Kenya yet; so KPLC, are you listening??? But please don't send us auditors telling us not to use our cookers as room heaters...
  2. Don't use heaters in those cold July and August months. Put on an extra pullover instead.
  3. Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
  4. When looking for new appliances, seek out the most energy-efficient models.
  5. Switch to solar. A solar electric system can provide all the energy needed for a typical home (and possibly more).
  6. Use an instant heater for your hot shower instead of that old-fashioned, lazy boiler or storage water heater. Or even better: take a cold shower.
  7. Turn off lights and other devises when they’re not needed.
  8. Electronics that sleep on a standby setting continue to pull a current even when “turned off.”
  9. “Wall warts,” those clunky AC adaptors on many power cables, pull current, too, so those should be taken out of the wall when not in use. Your best bet is a “smart” power strip, or a power strip that can be turned off at night, etc.
  10. Switch to a laptop. A laptop uses far less energy than a desktop.
  11. Put your computer in Sleep / Standby / Hibernate mode when not in use or switch it off completely. Note that a screensaver that shows any image on the screen doesn't save any energy at all; you save energy only if the monitor goes dark by going to sleep.
  12. Do the laundry in cold or warm water, never hot.
  13. Always charge your mobile phone, laptop, batteries, torches, etc at work, in restaurants, in public places instead of at home.
  14. Read books instead of reading blogs, surfing the Web, watching TV or playing electronic games. 
  15. And last but not least, some people pedal their own power.
Any more ideas for cutting that bill?


Shiko-Msa said...

hahaha I charge my phone in the office. Not for power saving purposes but because..... Now I have another reason. Water heating at least is alien where I'm at. Thank God. But we more than make up for it with fans and ACs.

Power Saving Tips: Improve your health by eating traditional foods prepared using traditional methods.

Disconnect the waterpump if you have one and go for the water with mitungi.

Relocate to the village.

Rafiki does solar require different wiring?

Rafiki said...

Shiko: Pole about the electricity costs for fans and AC at the Coast. I was informed that there used to be a traditional Swahili air ventilation system through towers with holes in Mombasa and Lamu. Is this true and if yes, how much of that is still left?
Thanks for the tips concerning healthy eating and water.
Relocating to the village would save electricity costs, but increase firewood consumption. Where are we going to get the wood from now that our forests are about to disappear?
Wiring of solar can be quite complicated if you need it for different appliances and if you are not able to "feed back" into the grid.

Shiko-Msa said...

There does exist some traditional ventilation system alright but I don't have the details. What i know is that makuti is better for roofing than iron sheets coz the house does not get too hot.

Firewood and charcoal - you're right. In any case now there is electricity in the villages. What is man to do?

Rafiki said...

shiko: Thanks, I am so happy to note that there is now electricity in the villages. Not when I was there last, but things may have changed for the better.

HLumiti said...

Rafiki, useful tips here even though some will practically reverse the lifestyles we now presume to be most basic. Which perhaps explains why there has been a low uptake of energy saving measures all over the world.

We are paying highly for the wastage and inefficiency of our power producers/distributors. And sheer corruption. It will not be long before the techno-crap being bandied about in defense of these outrageous billings is exposed for what it is. A rip off.

Rafiki said...

hlumuti: You are right, some of the tips are not very practical. But others are, e.g. I have already switched to a laptop, as it is consuming less power and I can charge it in the office (the only problem being insecurity if I have to carry it to the office every day, but I have already found a nice bag which is "camouflaging" my laptop. Actually, I didn't go for a laptop because of electricity concerns, but mainly because it comes in very handy. Again, lifestyles are difficult to change, but sometimes there are win-win situations. I am also using energy-saving light bulbs everywhere.

kachwanya said...

Of late i have been wondering why i get such a high electricity bill. In my case it is more than doubled. Thanks Rafiki some of these tips are quite good. I will try them out.

Rafiki said...

@ kachwanya: Sorry about your bill. Mine doubled, but has now come down again to its previous level. Good luck!

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