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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering doing an "electricity fast" where I would use very little electricity for an extended period of time. Has anyone considered anything like this? I know that the No Impact Project talked about it, but not sure how it would be done... looking for any input or suggestions.

Despite the mild winter we are having, I am really nervous about my two month electric bill that comes out on 3/1 (we have electric heat & hot water) so I am considering keeping everything unplugged and living in the dark for a few days or a week. I'm not really sure how this would work or what I would eat, but I like the extremity of it, and it would be an interesting project to see if we can save some money. Am I crazy?

Oh I should probably mention that I am a little afraid of the dark... but maybe it would be a good way to finally get over it!

When we lost electricity back in Oct, I just stayed in bed and read w/ a flashlight and found it very relaxing...
 

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You could cook some pasta or potato salad for a couple night's meals and use the grill to cook meat. My mom's oven broke at one time and they even cooked frozen pizza on the grill lol.

People lived without electricity for a long time so it can be done, you just need to be creative.

I think it is a good idea to watch your energy consumption. I have a 1450 sq ft house. I use my dryer most of the time and my electric has been $100 and less each month for the last few months. I am dreading having to run the AC again. The only reason my bill got up to $100 was because we had some days when I had to run the heat. For the most part we just piled blankets on and wore layers during the day.
 

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I'd do it in a heartbeat but they wouldn't on a bet. I hate the electric company. I consider it a necessary evil. Honestly I thought about doing this the best I could for a week. If it were just me I'd do it for a month. Laundry would be the hard part. Like I said necessary evil. I'm not into beating clothes in the lake on a rock or going without the fridge. I have before but not by choice. No stove...I could deal with that for a month.

A couple years ago hubby and the kid were gone on Friday nights. I turned all lights off, TV off, only thing on was the computer cause I was on here. I had a Coleman flashlight that fits in the curve of your hand, battery operated, to walk around. I love that thing and still have it beside the bed. But like you I just stayed on the bed on the computer.

I stayed up late after hours to run dishwasher, washer and dryer. Or got up extra early.

I've also fixed pizza on the grill during the hurricanes. Actually turned out really good. Also veggies.
Food without electic..
Tuna
Any canned food, fruit, beans etc..cold will work if you're hungry
Fruit
Veggies...cucumbers, carrots, sliced tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers...all raw

Also since you wouldn't be cutting off the fridge you could cook up some stuff like meatloaf, chicken etc and put in fridge for the week or whatever. Or use a grill as necessary.

Wish I could do this with you. I hate the electric company.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the ideas! We do not have a washing machine in the cottage so laundry won't be an issue.

Can you read your own meter to track your usage on your own? I hate that the billing cycle is 2 months, esp in the winter!

We did go without air conditioning last summer. That was interesting. We left the windows open and ceiling fans on and we were generally okay.

I just feel like I need to do something drastic over the next month to offset the bill.

We have had the heat off for two days with the nice weather (61 degrees!) but looks like it will go back down to 40 tomorrow.

Pre-cooked food and raw veggies is a good idea. We try to stay away from packaged foods as much as possible... and we eat a lot of rice and beans. Not sure if i can heat that on the grill but I guess anything is possible!
 

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I can't see the numbers on the meter, even with my glasses. WAY to little. If I could I'd do the electric challenge. A 2 month bill would suck, especially in a cold state. Brrr & Grrr all in one.

You could do the rice & beans in a double or triple batch in the pre cook. Put multiple things in the oven...breads etc. Make one stove turn on do triple duty and not use it the rest of the time.

You might be able to do beans & rice on the grill. Put on early in morning and close the lid. Not sure. I know the year the 4 hurricanes hit the grill was all we had and we cooked all the food in the fridge on it so the food wouldn't spoil. Aluminum foil was a friend!

I know the Friday nights they were gone I turned the air either WAY up or off and half hour before they were coming home I'd kick it back to 77 or 78. I had been doing the unplugging, after hours for dishwasher, washer & dryer, lights off and it had dropped the bill about $100 to $125 a month but just that 4 to 5 extra hours on every Friday dropped it another $25 or so. But you have to figure 5 hours X 4 = about 20 hours in the month. That's close to a whole day when ran together.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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My life is an electricity fast, or at least it seems like it most times. ha! I'm on the Electricity Challenge, are you in there? (on this forum) Tons of ideas to help you!

My bill is down to under $60 on a regular basis now. We have a storm blowing in so it might bump up a bit but overall its been nice not to be hit with a hundred dollar bill anymore.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No I will have to check out that thread. thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I did a calculation I have not done before:

I divided the KWH by the actual number of days in billing cycle rather assuming they were all equal and came up with interesting numbers.

12/27/2011 31.90 KWH
10/25/2011 20.71
8/26/2011 5.61
6/30/2011 12.55
5/2/2011 33.05
3/2/2011 69.49

Is it even possible to average 5.61 KWH? This was the middle of the summer, and we were out of light bulbs in most of our overhead lights and I was being too cheap to buy them. But we don't use the lights THAT much. Or do we?? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
and the meter read days were all different - they ranged from 56-62 days. (and 37 days for the first bill)
 

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So I did a calculation I have not done before:

I divided the KWH by the actual number of days in billing cycle rather assuming they were all equal and came up with interesting numbers.

12/27/2011 31.90 KWH
10/25/2011 20.71
8/26/2011 5.61
6/30/2011 12.55
5/2/2011 33.05
3/2/2011 69.49

Is it even possible to average 5.61 KWH? This was the middle of the summer, and we were out of light bulbs in most of our overhead lights and I was being too cheap to buy them. But we don't use the lights THAT much. Or do we?? :)
We average 9KW a day here, except on Mondays (big wash day). There are 3 of us at home at pretty much all times, since I homeschool. We have been as low as 6 before. 5 would be awesome! The 69 one would worry me...
 
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and the meter read days were all different - they ranged from 56-62 days. (and 37 days for the first bill)
That 6 "extra" days can make a big difference. I mean, that's just 1 day short of another week. Of course the same with the 56 days, that's a week short of 2 months.

You also have a low 12.55 in there. That's low. Two lowest months were June and August. Did you go without bulbs for 4 months? Oven running less since it was summer?
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The 69 was the first 1.3 months of living in the cottage - we had a very cold winter last year with several big snowstorms, and we weren't used to the baseboard heat and didn't know how to control it. It still confuses me a little. In our last house, it was easy to set the temp and didn't have to think about it.

The only other change was that our old laptop died that didn't have a charger and was always plugged in.

Last summer, DH and I were delivering phone books before and after work for extra cash, so we weren't home much to use the electricity. Also, I imagine if we were that gazelle intense at the time to get up at 5 am, we were super conscious about the electricity we were using!

I still find myself with the TV and overhead light on while working on my laptop once in a while. So unnecessary. But I never have a light on if I am not in the room.
 

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Hi - we average 6 KWH a day when we are home. That is with no electric heat, a wood cookstove, no dryer. The main hogs are a chest freezer and an old fridge.

If you have an electric water heater, try flipping the circuit breaker off for most of the day. We have a small one and have it on a wall plug, it only gets plugged in about an hour a day. Depending on the size of yours, one-two hours a day should be plenty. You have to plan showers accordingly. Smaller ones need to be on more often. And of course make sure it is insulated.

Good luck, it is a worthy goal!
 

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Another energy piggy is a well pump if you have well water. We do and it is a guzzler.

Had a thought reading the above post. If you have a toaster oven or can find one cheap you can do just about anything in it you can the regular oven only in smaller quantities. Takes about 1/4 as long to bake/cook something as a stove cause you don't have to preheat or heat that great big huge area. Also in the summertime you aren't heating the house up. That was a big part of what cut my bill a couple years ago. Takes maybe 5 minutes to preheat. I love my toaster oven. Just right for medium size pizza, 6 cupcakes etc.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, I just posted the other day that our first reading this morning was 50. :-(

I'm not sure if we have a well pump, our water actually comes from the "main house" that is about 150 feet away.

But we do have a heater under the cottage that comes on by itself to prevent the pipes from freezing. That may be part of the problem.

My father gave us one of those oil filled electric heaters and says it will be cheaper to heat our bedroom with it.

We are leaving for the day and will turn everything off and will not use the space heater tomorrow and will keep the heat on (what I think) is low to see how it changes.

I will confess that I took two hot showers yesterday - and used the oven, and even left it on for an extra 15 mins by accident. :-(
 

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our bill came in at 202

and the first two weeks of this bill i was extremely tight with the electricity...the last two weeks i got lax...so this month i have let whoever do whatever they feel the need to do and when the bill comes in at close to $400...they will see it pays off to be the electricity police...the bill for 202 came yesterday and i made sure to tell dh wow not to bad just thinkif i had kept on you all month..So we shall see...

I agree gmarie and niko if it was just me...i could so go without electricity....I have even thought about getting an extra old refrigerator to put in the snow bank in the winter and shut the one off in the house....dh doesnt agree with this...ugh! I am getting to a point though I am gonna do what i want to do and don't necessarily need anyones permission to do anything i want....can you tell its been almost 23 years...haha...
 

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Last year I was not home three days of the week. So the electric bill was lower. I always like to compare the monthly bill with the bill for last year. I noticed that this year the bill was higher and realized I was not home as much. So I keep one tv off unless I am watching it. It is plugged into a power strip. At night I make sure both tvs are turned off on the power strip when I go to sleep. Believe it or not just doing this made the electric go down to the same rate that I paid last year.
 
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