Who else wants a lower electricity bill?

They say that the only requirement for real personal change is to develop self awareness. With the Efergy E2 power monitoring unit, you start to look at every appliance, every light switch, every lamp with suspicious eyes, because suddenly you’re constantly and painfully aware of how much electricity you’re using. And the beauty of the Efergy is that it makes you want to change your habits.

I found that it became a bit of an obsession – watching the readout on the little white wireless box tick up and down on my bedside table as I got ready for bed, watching it jump as my girlfriend moved through the house turning on and off lights, as the fridge kicked in, as the kettle went on. The Efergy E2 makes you realise how, even as you sleep at night with the house in darkness; you’re still using up a hundred Watts here, a hundred Watts there.

Within a few weeks I’d banned the cleaner from doing a load of laundry unless the basket was full. I’d started religiously turning out any lights, and stopped taking water from the hot tap unless I actually needed hot water.

As South African’s electricity rates have almost doubled in the last few years, saving electricity is no longer a luxury for hippies – my small, generally power-frugal house is now eating through over R500 per month in electricity alone.

What most people don’t realise is what they’re wasting electricity. A recent survey in the UK shows that the eco-Nazis that lambaste you for leaving your Nokia charger in the wall socket are the most likely to be wasting power stupidly by failing to do things like turn the geyser down a notch or two.

Watching the little digital readout on the Efergy E2 racking up how much you are paying really makes you think about changing your wasteful habits.

The Efergy unit kindly lent to me by the SA importers is comprised of a sensor that clips around your main incoming power line (you can do this yourself if you know what you’re doing, or get someone who does), which in turn plugs into a small oval box.

This is linked wirelessly (and effortlessly) to the display unit, which then shows your

  • current power consumption,
  • peak,
  • average,
  • carbon dioxide production
  • or cost (you plug in your Eskom / municipal power rate) and records it all to memory.

The unit can be plugged in by USB to your PC (the software doesn’t work on Mac, boo!) to allow you to see trend graphs by day, week or month. My only real complaint is that you can’t extract the data into Excel or some number crunching system – but even though I’d like to, I suspect I’m not actually anal enough to do so.

The ‘elink’ software that comes with it is easy to use, although maybe the interface is a little too cutely modern and attractive – it could be more simple and functional. But that’s nit-picking.

If you know what’s eating power, you’ll know what behaviours or devices to change – and if you do that, the savings in electricity should compensate for the more than R899 spent on the Efergy E2.

If none of this appeals to you, then just amuse yourself by seeing how little (or much) power you can use.

You can pick up the Efergy E2 by visiting www.efergy.co.za

Roger Hislop


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