How we became greenies

There are some who are born green like Kermit the Frog and some who have greenness thrust upon them. This is an account of how I became a greenie.

We moved to Melbourne in the middle of winter last year. Despite Melbourne winters being much colder than Brisbane ones, we found that we were quite comfortable without the air conditioner. I’m not partial to air conditioners, anyhow, as the air becomes too dry.

So when our first electricity bill arrived and it was about three times higher than what we had expected, we phoned the energy company who told us that no mistake had been made. We had used up that amount of electricity.

So we decided to become greenies or, more correctly, “meanies”. We began to monitor our usage by recording the daily kilowatt hours that were on our meter.

We did larger washing loads, and hung the clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. We cut down on the number of lights and even turned off the TV sets from standby mode. Our dishwasher was used only during off-peak hours and we behaved like genuine conservationists.

Nevertheless, even though we had conserved energy and there was some improvement in our usage, the kilowatt hours were still up at an amazing level.

As summer arrived we hardly turned on the air conditioner, certainly not to the same degree as our neighbours who would have it on all day.

And then something interesting happened. I suggested that we keep a record of the kilowatt hours that our air conditioning neighbour registered.

Yep, when our neighbour used his air conditioner our meter skyrocketed even though we had been out all day.

So we called out the electrician who had installed the meters and connected the air conditioners. After some basic tests he connected the correct wires to our meter. We weren’t interested in his explanation of how it could have happened. As they say, shit happens all the time and we were relieved to have the mix-up resolved. When our air conditioner was correctly linked to our electricity meter our kilowatt hours dropped remarkably.

The whole experience has been very expensive. But as a result of crossed wires we have become less wasteful of our energy and that should be a saving in the future.


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