Monday, 17th August, 2009

Electricity, my dear Wattson

Wattson in actionI hate getting electricity bills. Prices always seem to be going up, and whatever you expect the bill to be, it’s always more than you’d hoped.

But I’ve found a way of getting the bills down that doesn’t involve sitting home alone, in the dark. I’ve got a Wattson. This neat little home energy meter measures and displays how much electricity you’re using at any moment, in W or in £. It glows in pretty colours and has attracted a lot of admiring glances from visitors since it arrived in our house.

The idea is simple: if you can see how much electricity you’re using, then you’ll stop wasting it. And surprisingly, it really works.

My Wattson sits on the bookshelf in our living room, and I can see it every time I come downstairs. I got a fright the first time my boyfriend turned the kettle on, as it shot up to 3000W and glowed an alarming shade of red. We switched from using the electric shower to one that runs off the gas boiler because we saw how much power it was using. We also tried going round the house switching everything off, to get the display down to zero.

Since Wattson arrived, we’ve saved around 20% on our electricity bills. The Wattson costs around £100, so we’ll break even in just under 18 months. If you get really into it, you can download software, programme in the current price of electricity, and produce graphs of your consumption patterns. I just like the reassurance I get from the calm, blue glow it gives off when our usage is low.

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