On my desk in a lower stratum of mail, I just found our bill from American Electric Power for last months service. I almost tossed it unopened into the round file since we pay by EFT.
Curious, I had to go to the second page that I don’t know if I’ve ever really bothered to examine in order to find out how many kilowatt hours (KWH) of electricity we used last month
Why bother? Because 1) this is the most we’ve ever paid in a month for electricity since moving into the house in 1999 and I wondered if our usage had gone up so much or if AEP was tacking on “seasonal adjustment” charges or the like. And 2) I wondered how our average monthly use compared to the American average.
We paid Retail Transmission costs, Generation Services, OATT Transmission Services, Electric Supply Services, a Cost Recovery Surcharge, a Fuel Factor, VA and Local Consumers Taxes for a grand monthly total of $42.
I’d be interested to know exactly what those arcane “services” are and how they are calculated. Maybe I’ll snoop around on the AEP site and see if they can educate me.
Turns out, best estimates (DOE) I’m finding show the average monthly KWH use of electricity per household in America is about 900 KWH or 10600 KWH per year.
Our monthly average use for the past year is 337 KWH.
Our house is 2200 sq feet and we have the normal amenities, with indoor lighting (missing when we first saw the place) and multiple outlets in every room–fully to code. We live normal lives, electrically, I would think. How then that the average family uses almost three times what we use?
We don’t watch TV but the desktop stays on most of many days. The well pump is electric. Ann often dries clothes outside but she uses the electric wall bathroom heater to dry her hair (I’ve given up trying to dissuade her of this extravagance.) The washer and dryer and dishwasher are electric. We heat with wood and cook and heat water with propane.
What are we missing? What would we have to do to burn the AVERAGE? I don’t think we could burn 900 KWH if we left everything on 24/7. And think of it: how many homes must burn multiples of the average?
It staggers the mind when you consider the cost to society and the planet of flipping that switch.
So next time your E-bill comes in, take a look. What can you and your family do to sink BELOW the electrical AVERAGE?