The Electric Slide

Every day there’s a new techno-gadget that millions of people clamor to add to their arsenal. PS3, iPad, Kindle. Each one plugs in and powers up. These little additions to your daily energy use might go unnoticed, but beware: it’s the Electric Slide. I’m on a mission to stop the Electric Slide at my house—use LESS power and add a few bucks to my pocket. Join me!

You probably came home recently to a door hanger informing you that SDG&E had replaced your old energy meter with a Smart Meter. This is the key to using less and saving more. The Smart Meter tracks, hour by hour, my household energy use. Then I log on to Google PowerMeter and start to understand my energy profile.

It takes a couple steps (create an SDG&E My Account and then register for Google PowerMeter), but the payoff is fantastic. I track my power usage and see it in a graph that makes it very clear what by baseline use is. Basically if all the lights are out and no one is home, how much energy I’m always using…TVs and refrigerators and alarm clocks that stay plugged in.

I can also see the times of day when usage spikes. For me it’s in the evening when I have lights on and I’m cooking and using my computer. For others, it might be when the kids come home from school in the afternoon, when everyone comes home in the evening and when automated processes happen, like a pool heater or a sprinkler cycle. If you input your energy rate, you’ll see your estimated yearly electricity cost.


So how does this translate to less power and more money? Because now I can pick and choose the heaviest hitters in my energy use and use less, then watch the graph work its way down. Simple things make a difference like unplugging electronics and chargers when they’re not in use. Make it a game for the kids…if they can reduce the household power consumption between 2:00 and 5:00pm, they win a prize. You can even calculate the before and after cost of your energy use . Although I like it when Sempra and SDG&E make money so they can continue to support San Diego Coastkeeper’s programs, when I can see how to save money on my electricity, that’s bang for your buck.

I care about clean water, but other things are important, too…air pollution, food production, the best place for a drink after work. So whether you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, want to save a few bucks every month, or just like nifty techno-gadgets, the Smart Meter/PowerMeter combo is a pretty sweet deal. Sign up today and save the Electric Slide for your cousin’s wedding.