Energy Power Meter

kwh meter

We’re all geeks here – that means we run a whole stack of things with flashing lights and they all use power. After receiving a particularly heavy electricity bill last month I invested in one of these kWh meters to see where the power was going. This model is UK specific but the same sort of device can be found for any country.

The device measures watts, volts, amps and kilowatt-hours and if you enter the price of your electricity it will also tell you exactly how much your toys are costing you.

So where was my power going? Read on but prepare to be scared 🙂

After a frantic few days plugging the meter into all my toys and plotting the results in a spreadsheet I came to the following fairly startling conclusions (costs converted to US$ for consistency, based on an electricity price of $0.17 per kWh):

  • Plasma TVs suck power like you wouldn’t believe. An average of about $12 a month goes on my TV, and I’m not as addicted as some people I know!
  • PVR’s (sky+ in my case) take about $3 a month to sit there and spin a hard drive
  • The PC industry really needs to get itself sorted out. I have a server running 24/7 to handle audio/video streams and that’s a steady 100 watts coming out of the wall (it’s a very old PC). It costs about $12 a month to run that. My main gaming rig though (a chunky P4) sucks 180 watts out of the mains when it’s just sitting there surfing the web! Play a game and get the graphics card going and that power draw doubles. Leaving a modern PC running 24/7 is going to cost…

It was an interesting exercise to do – I found a few places where I could save money by turning stuff off, and at the very least it’s made me think about power use when I look at gadgets. I bought the meter from Energy Optimisers Direct.