Consumer Bob helps to save you money and time

Counting Kilowatts to Save Money

New meters help you track your electricity

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks into high-tech energy devices that could help consumers save big bucks on their bills.

    Electricity prices are going up and people are looking for ways to save.  But before you cut back, you need to know how much you are using.

    Sarah Brown couldn't believe how much electricity it takes to heat up her oven.

    "Heating up the oven uses as much energy as my air conditioner," said Brown, a Rancho Penasquitos mother of  three girls.

    Counting Kilowatts to Save Money

    [DGO] Counting Kilowatts to Save Money
    NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks into high-tech energy devices that could help consumers save big bucks on their bills.

    She was testing one of the new digital display meters that keeps track of the electricity usage in her house.

    "I think the main thing it did was it made me more aware," said Brown.

    Maricela Knapp also tried one of the displays.

    It sits on the counter in her kitchen and the numbers on the screen go up and down depending on what appliances she was using. The mother of 3 boys says she looks at things differently around the house.

    "Everything that I can turn off, if I'm not using them, I realize they are energy wasting," said Knapp.

    She says that includes turning lights off around the house. But she can't turn off everything.

    "I mean it is useful to know much energy you are using but it's not like you can just decide not to have a fridge," said Knapp.

    San Diego Gas & Electric is offering discounts on some of the energy displays currently available on the market. They have a list on the SDG&E website.

    The displays work with the new "Smart" meters and offer a variety of features. One display compares energy use to light bulbs and compares heating up water on her electric oven top to using 23 light bulbs.

    Erin Coller with San Diego Gas & Electric says people can make better decisions when know how much energy they are using.

    "You can turn appliances on and off and watch the numbers go up and down," said Coller, "see how much energy you are using."

    Right now the devices are free for 30 days for people with high electric bills, other people must buy the displays.

    They range in price from $50 to $150 depending on the features. Sarah Brown wishes she could rent one.

    "I would definitely like to rent it or borrow it or check it from the library," said Brown.

    But right now, that option is not available from SDG&E.