Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rocky Mountain Power's 'Neighbor Comparison' -- Next to worthless 'apples to oranges' comparison

I'M all about saving money and being efficient. 
I have lists going back 32 years that show me what my power bill costs each month. I have energy saving bulbs in place where ever I can use them. I know how to read my power meter and shutdown lights whenever they are not needed.

However, Rocky Mountain Power has this "Neighborhood comparison" program it sends to customers that is all but worthless and inadequate.

-First, this is purely an "apples to oranges" comparison.
Rocky Power supposedly took 100 similar size homes in my area to make this comparison.
No one is the same and neither is their electrical consumption.
The program claims I use 32 percent more energy than my average neighbors.

-What about household size? Well, that is NOT factored into Rocky Power's equation at all. (I have 5 people living at home, while I know for the fact that the nearest dozen homes to me average 3 people per household.)

-What about household age?
The older the kids in a household, the more the power they will likely use. (My youngest of 3 children at home is 18.)

-What about amenities?
I have a swimming pool and a 4-person spa. Those 2 items use a lot of power.The pool, which typically runs June to September, runs by electric pump 24/7 in that period. It likely adds $15-20 a month to my electric bill. (I have the only 18,600-gallon such pool in my area.)
The spa, sitting in my garage, is operated year-round. It has the most heat saving cover on it available for purchase. Still, it likely adds $20-25 a month to my electric bill. (There may be other spas in my area, but I'm not aware of any.)

-I have 2 work at home businesses. The means I use computers in the day while many people are at work. My wife is also a housewife, meaning she is at home a lot. If you are at home a lot, then you use power at home a lot.

-I have one older freezer from the mid-1980s, that I don't favor replacing. Sure, the freezer uses more energy than a 21st century model. However, they made such appliances then to last decades. If I replace it with a new model, I might save some energy, but the appliance itself is likely to last just a decade or so. Whereas my freezer is approaching a 30-year lifespan, the newer models can't claim anything that long-lasting.

-I have BOTH a swamp (evaporative) cooler and central air.
This is a big plus for me and saves my hundreds of dollars a year. The swamp cooler runs 95 percent of the time to lower the house temperature when the humidity of low. The central air, the surely LARGEST power user of anything I own, only runs when humidity levels are high enough my swamp cooler doesn't seem to cool the house down. I'm certain ANYONE in my 'neighborhood' with central air only, uses TWICE my electric rate in the summer season.

-I put out hundreds of Christmas holiday lights outdoors each December. My bill jumps $40-50 that month each year because of that. Anyone with zero holiday lights, or smaller displays, will not use that extra power that I do during the holiday season.

-The bottom line! Rocky Mountain Power's usage comparison is ONLY helpful in that it shows me how much power I used as compared to LAST YEAR.
(-I already paid attention to the comparisons on my monthly power bill to my previous bills.)

-Trying to SHAME me with its comparisons to others is simply meaningless, given the variables that I have mentioned above. It is NOT just about the same size of house, it is about the number of people in the house, etc., etc.
I also question WHERE Rocky Mountain obtains its household data from ....?

So, hopefully after its pilot, trial period, Rocky Mountain Power will either fine tune this comparison program so that it means something, or it will do away with it completely.

1 comment:

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