For years, I have tracked my household electricity consumption, sometimes on a daily basis. Knowing my daily kilowatt hours has taught me much about the impact of heaters, oven, clothes drier, and especially my solar hot water system, and how it is affected by usage, weather and seasons. It has helped me set targets for conserving electricity and to monitor my progress. And it has helped me to catch problems quickly. If I see a sudden leap in my kilowatt hours, I know I will find that the pool pump has been left on override, or the geyser is drawing electricity when it shouldn’t.

There are fancy devices out there—not available in South Africa—to bring all of this information into your home. One day I would like to own one. But I do this all with my ordinary municipal meter and a simple, but effective Excel spreadsheet. I have now created a downloadable blank version to make tracking your electricity consumption incredibly easy, even if you know nothing about Microsoft Excel. All you do is fill in the date and your current meter reading. (The final digit on the meter is normally a decimal, which I ignore or round off.) The spreadsheet will calculate the average daily consumption since you last took your reading. To try it out, click here:

ElectricityMeterReadingsBlank

Your computer should ask whether you wish to open it directly in Excel or save it. Either option works, but if you choose to open it directly and later save it—using Save As—be very careful to save it in the folder where you keep spreadsheets. It will not automatically opt for the My Documents folder.

I hope it helps you save electricity, or at least gives you some ammunition when fighting the municipality over outlandish readings.

Note: ElectricityMeterReadingsBlank.xls was scanned with a fully updated version of Norton AntiVirus 2009 immediately before it was uploaded to GreenerHouse. No viruses or other security risks were found. Still, GreenerHouse can take no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.