Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've Gone Power Mad

Yesterday I received an energy monitor from my electric company, Npower. I'd ordered it online about 6 weeks ago and had actually forgotten all about it. But it was free so I could hardly complain.

When I checked the cables coming out of my electricity meter, I didn't think I could fit the transmitter unit because nothing is ever standard in this house. The instruction booklet said I should have a meter with 4 or 5 cables going into/out of it....I had 6.....and I needed to connect the transmitter unit to the one going to the fuse box. I had 2 going to my fuse box but then again, my fuse box is like no other fuse box you've ever seen.

The instructions also said, in bold type, that I must not pull on any cable when trying to attach the transmitter and hammering a nail into the cable to hold the transmitter in place was not recommended either. A positive no-no in fact (little electrical joke there).

So with my hammer and drill nowhere to be seen, I made my attempt this morning. I looked at the 6 cables and wondered which to try. Well the two on the far left were taped together and the booklet said to ignore them. Then there was one much thinner cable that ran from one meter to another - why I have the 2nd meter is one of the many mysteries in this house. It's a large black unit and looks like it was installed in Victorian times which is a bit bizarre as this house dates from the 1960's.

That left 3 cables and I decided to just make use of the most helpful bit of info in the booklet - that the cable I wanted should be the one on the far right. With a confidence based only on desperation, I attached the transmitter to this cable and connected it to the battery pack. I went into the kitchen where I'd set up the display unit and was working.

The usage display is designed to resemble a car speedometer and mine was barely moving. As I had only just got up and had little or nothing running, I was happy to see that.

A few entertainment units were on standby and so the speedo WAS moving but not much. I picked up the 3 remotes and went into action. Powering on the cable box wasn't too bad. Barely a movement on the speedo. Then the surround sound amp...a bit more movement. Finally the tv.

Bloody hell.

Speedo wise I'd left a built up area and was now belting along an urban dual carriageway. Time to start up the big guns. I flicked on the coffee maker.


Now I was barely able to stay under the speed limit on a motorway. Time for the final test. Yes the booster on the water heater.


Once I'd entered the cost of a kilowatt of electricity and could then see the pennies flying out of my wallet in real time, I went around the house like a man possessed turning off lights and unplugging devices.

I probably don't need the electric blanket to be ticking over all day. The electric toothbrush doesn't need to be charging all the time. The life sized statue of Billy Bremner in the front garden doesn't need to be lit during the day.

By the way, the speedo went down quite a bit once the coffee had brewed but it went up a little when I altered the tv brightness ! Sadly it has no effect at all if I mute the sound so I'll just have to continue to listen to ITV's coverage of the World Cup. That sucks.

Seriously though, just as the trip computer in my car has changed the way I drive (watching the mpg in real time does this to me), then this energy monitor will certainly affect what units I'm happy to leave on or in standby mode 24/7.

Scrooge as I am, I suspect not many.


Jennyta said...

ELECTRIC BLANKET!!! It's the middle of JUNE, man!!

Silverback said...

You really must differentiate between fact and fiction in my posts, Jenny ;-) The Billy Bremner statue is true of course.

Jennyta said...

Ah, yes, I knew that really. ;)

Daphne said...

Throw it away! Or else in a couple of weeks' time you'll have got rid of your televsion and your speakers and you'll be sitting in the dark, trying desperately to read by the dim glow of Billy Bremner from the garden. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Debby said...

See! I'm always telling you to turn off the TV when you're not watching it! No having it muted while playing on the laptop anymore!

rhymeswithplague said...

You do a great Scotty imitation!

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