A Smart Loan

Smart meters measure and display your electricity consumption in real time to help you understand and cut your energy usage. Back in February 2009 Green Councillors proposed that Edinburgh Libraries could make smart meters available for loan, just like borrowing a book. So while I was in my local library checking out some reading material I decided to check out a smart meter too.

The ‘current cost‘ meter was easy to set up, an start using. You can even programme in your own electricity tariff to make it more accurate. As I suspect is typical, I then spent a while going round my flat turing things off to see how much difference it made to my Watts, and hence my bill. Turning the kettle on caused an instant jump, as does the stove.

Kettle

Turning the kettle on causes the watts to jump

After a few days the longer term readings started to work, and gave a good overview of our consumption patterns. Being able to see the live data in the kitchen brings home how much stuff costs in a way a traditional meter high up on the wall in the hall never would. I soon had a look for a tips and ideas to use less, although being renters we are little constrained by what our landlord provides.

The device would cost around £40 to buy, so being able to use it for free is great. I’m defiantly going to use it again a few times a year to keep me on the straight and frugal.