How GreenButton helped me save 35% on my utilities bill

I love data, I do.
And if you give me some data, I am going to try to utilize it somehow.

Recently, I was driven to act upon our energy consumption habits when I started to see our family utilities bill climb up every single month. I will be honest, I didn’t care until our bill was less than 100$ month, but climbing up every month couldn’t be right. PGE couldn’t be raising my rates every day, could they?

So I did some fact finding and figures that it was all my fault (and my family’s)

So, now did I reduce my bill? Here are a simple few steps that might help you too (hopefully they do)

. Go to your utilities website and login (if you don’t have a account, it should easy to setup as long as you have access to your statement)

. Find a link for green button on the site. It was very easy for me to find it on my utilities’ website. I downloaded my data for the last few months and created a simple chart in excel to see when my usage was higher
(Let me know if you need help with that)
All I had to do was to think back a few days and I realized the main issue -> Our washing machine/dryer were causing most peaks

This was the start for us to figure out what we were doing wrong.

Here’s the steps I took that now save us 50-60$ a month.
It did take us about two billing cycles to get it down, but we are getting there.

. Talked to PGE about availability of other rate plans and moved to time-of-use plan and signed up for alerts from PGE when I move to a higher tier

. Printed the hours when the utilities charges us the highest rate and pasted that to two cabinets in the house and told every one when they shouldn’t be using high usage appliances like toasters, iron, washing machine, dishwasher etc

. Changed the power plan on the home desktop to sleep if it is inactive

. Started running cold washing cycles for most of the clothes. The new HE washer with HE detergent clean as well with cold water as they do with hot water

. Also, started running less loads of laundry. No more half loads in our household

. Moved all laundry to be done at night

. And here’s a cool little trick
If you are like us, you probably do your laundry once a week. Try not to laundry towards the end of the month (in other words, end of your billing cycle). Specially, if you know you are in Tier 3 or 4, just wait a couple of days (until start of next billling cycle) and that makes a difference.

Now, thee are other things we do at our household that yo or your family may not like. E.g., we hardly turn the heat or the AC on. More layers when it is cold is the way we go

Hope this helps you save some money too. If you have any questions about the details, email me and I would be happy to help with how I did this

You ask what is Green Button and what does it have to with my post? It is a initiative that came out of White House to allow energy consumers to have access to their consumption data. Find out more here

I love this. why? Because I love data, I love being more green and I love saving.

Life is getting better 🙂