6 ways to beat surging electricity bills

Published: December 7, 2017
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Increasing electricity demands by residential sector have exacerbated Pakistan’s energy crisis. A middle-class household with five to six members on average uses a refrigerator, washing machine, television, laptop, two air-conditioners and kitchen-specific home appliances. The circular debt in the energy sector can be attributed to not only ballooning population and increasingly tech-savvy households but also wasteful practices.

Inefficient home appliances result in a shocking 25% electricity wastage.  For example, 20-years-old refrigerators use 50% more power than updated ones.  Additionally, over-stuffing the refrigerator, neglecting its maintenance, putting hot items in it and keeping the door open for a long time overburdens it.  Invest in latest energy saving fridge, place it in a warm and well-ventilated area, clean the condenser coils regularly and keep the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees Celsius.

Artificial heating and cooling systems add unnecessary pressure on electric supply PHOTO: conservationmagazine.com

Artificial heating and cooling systems add unnecessary pressure on electric supply PHOTO:Conservation Magazine

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, phantom power alone accounts for 10% of the monthly bill. This is the power consumed by appliances like iron, television and air-conditioner when they are off but still plugged in. A power-strip in each room can save valuable time and money.

Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) is the most effective way to slow down the meter. CFLs have a longer life and are 10% more efficient than regular bulbs which waste 99% electricity. This means that old bulbs give out 1% as light energy and the rest is wasted in the form of heat energy.

Old, orange bulbs may be burning a hole in your pocket

Old, orange bulbs may be burning a hole in your pocket

Air-conditioners with their perpetual presence in Pakistan’s scorching summers account for 60% of the bill. One can recuperate the initial high price of an inverter in just three months since it lowers electricity bill by 35%.  Furthermore, regular maintenance of the air-conditioner ensures that it does not have to over-work as there is a steady out-flow of air.

According to Home Energy, 13% of the electricity is used by a washing machine to heat the water, 81% to dry clothes and only 6% to wash them. Hence, one should ideally wash clothes in cold water or use natural hot water from 12pm to 4pm and air-dry them afterwards

Use front-load washers to conserve electricity. PHOTO: Reuters

Use front-load washers to conserve electricity. PHOTO: Reuters

Forbes warned that hefty desktop computers guzzle up 80% more electricity than laptops and gaming PCs need three times the energy taken up by a refrigerator. It went on to advise households and workplaces to slash 30% of the monthly bill by substituting CRT monitors with LCD, adjusting its brightness and limiting the use of gaming consoles.

Bulky monitors guzzle up electricity very quickly PHOTO: Reuters.

Bulky monitors guzzle up electricity very quickly PHOTO:Reuters.

Government driven supply-side initiatives are primarily long term which is why consumers need to look for intermediate solutions like conservation. This does not necessarily mean imposing a black-out in the house or sweating out in the heat. Smart use of household appliances can lower Pakistan’s energy needs by 17%, resulting in two less hours of daily load-shedding.

 

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