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Power meter reveals all

I read the article debunking the claims of the Enersonic Power Saver (SILICON CHIP, May 2008) and chuckled with amusement. But another thing I gained from reading it was your mention of the Mains Energy Meter available from Jaycar (MS6115). I’ve often thought about doing a "power audit", especially with all the talk about greenhouse emissions and energy use, etc.

A few issues back, I read an article about being "greener" and one thing that was mentioned was the bad habit Australians have of keeping an extra "beer fridge" in the garage. Well, I have one such drink’s fridge and have been considering getting rid of it after reading that article. However, the power meter has revealed all.

My drinks fridge is only about 1m high and gets opened on average about once per week. When the fridge is running it draws 43W. As it cycles on/off, in total over a week it uses 2kWh of electricity.

This means that, at the current cost of 12 cents per unit, according to my last bill, that fridge is costing me 24 cents a week to run, which is a whopping $12.48 per year! If I get rid of my drink’s fridge, I’ll need a bigger fridge in the kitchen to hold the drinks, and since the kitchen fridge gets opened several times a day, I reckon this would end up using more power.

To add to this, when I examine my electricity bill I see there is a fixed "supply charge" as well as the cost of actual consumption. The price per unit is so low that there’s little, if any, incentive to reduce consumption.

If governments want to get serious about reducing emissions, then as part of that, they need to encourage us to reduce energy consumption. The fixed component of the bill should be significantly lower and the price per unit should be significantly increased. I notice the situation is much the same with water – a high fixed cost and a low consumption cost. This tells me the suppliers are not interested in us reducing consumption of anything.

Greg Newton,
via email.

Comment: we really think you just wanted an excuse to keep your beer fridge! Seriously, it is a good analysis. The current billing schemes do not encourage economy.

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