Conserve power. That's the message from PG&E as the valley remains under a Flex Alert facing more triple-digit heat. While the company is asking customers to conserve, they are offering ways for you to cut costs. All you need is a library card.
Shirley Mellin listened as local PG&E representatives demonstrate the Kill-A-Watt Meter at a local library on Tuesday. The meters are now available to check out at all Kern County branches to take home and see what electronics, left plugged in, are draining energy and bank accounts.
"A lot of those small appliances that are plugged in that are drawing electricity, like your chargers or your battery chargers, those can equal as much power or electricity as a refrigerator," explained Katie Allen, PG&E Spokesperson.
Shirley Mellin decided to check one out to test a new window air conditioning unit she got and compare it to her central air.
"I don't feel guilty, maybe I should. That's what I'm trying to know, turning it down at night so I can sleep," explained Mellin of her new window unit.
To work the device, plug in the appliance you are testing to the Kill-A-Watt Meter. Then, plug the meter into the wall. Some results show a 25-foot strand of LED lights uses about a watt and a half per kilowatt hour. The rate at the time of the test, was 33.5 cents per hour. So, that's about 47 cents an hour to run the LED strand.
Compare that to a traditional 12-foot strand of lights. The meter shows it takes 13.8 watts an hour to power it. That's a cost of $4.62 an hour.
"And, this strand is twice as long and you are using a tenth of the energy," explained Dave Christensen, PG&E's Senior Program Manager. "So, you really don't have to do the math to figure out kilowatt hours. It will tell you exactly, based on what you are paying per kilowatt hours, what it's taking to use it and costing to operate."
Mellin will keep a close eye on the kilowatts, trying to conserve and cool more, while costing her less.
"Now, I'm going to know. Now, I'm going to know for sure, and I think that's great," said Mellin.
PG&E advised Mellin to keep the meter plugged in overnight to see the most accurate cost, adding in fluctuating rates. There are more than 50 Kill-A-Watt Meters at Kern County libraries available to check out for three weeks at a time.