While I don't usually highlight news stories, this one – passed on by one of my more well-read readers and coming all the way from Australia's Central Coast Press Advocate – shows how your best attempts to make a home more energy efficient can backfire.
According to the news source, Peter Mottershead is a conscious homeowner. He has his television hooked up to a timer, switches lights off when they're not in use and has even had the lighting change in his house to decrease his energy use. He also doesn't use an electric dryer or an air conditioner.
Still, the report says that Mottershead racked up almost $1,600 in energy costs – roughly the same in American dollars – during the autumn season. Over the same period the year before, Mottershead only paid $407. Not knowing where to turn, the homeowner contacted his electric company and even had his property inspected to make sure nothing was amiss.
Further, the electric company has stated that his energy use was consistent over the same period, the Advocate reports. While no determinations have been made in the case, it goes to show that even careful planning can be thwarted by seeming divine intervention, and while Mottershead is still experiencing problems with his bill, the practices he uses should still set an example for other homeowners out there.
With time and perseverance, hopefully he can reduce his bill. As a result, even readers who purchase energy-saving devices such as portable heaters or new discount thermostats may want to double check their bills. By comparing last year's bills and electricity uses, some individuals may find that something is amiss, or at least be able to sleep easier.