March 6, 2011

SRP offers free device to customers to measure energy use

SRP, Kill A Watt device
Cheryl Evans/The Arizona Republic SRP is offering a free device, the Kill A Watt, for customers to measure the energy use of their electronics and appliances.

Jim and Nancy Grube of Sun Lakes were alarmed when their electricity bill increased, so they borrowed a meter from Salt River Project to measure the energy use of their electronics and appliances.

They were surprised at what they discovered.

The refrigerator used 1.9 kilowatts in 24 hours, and the computer and its accessories drew 1.5 kilowatts.

"The refrigerator, you expect that to be a high-power draw," Jim said.

But he had not realized that the computer, printer and modem were energy vampires, even when the computer was off.

So, he bought a "smart power strip" for about $25.

Now, when the Grubes shut down the computer, the accessories shut off as well, which will lower his electric bill.

The meter the Grubes used, called a Kill A Watt, is available for free checkout at libraries in Avondale, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe and the Maricopa County Library District.

Phoenix Public Library is working with SRP to obtain the meters, library Administrator David Richmond said.

Scottsdale has no branches in SRP territory.

The meter is simple to use:

- Plug the meter in to a standard 120-volt alternating-current outlet.

- Connect the meter to the appliance or device you want to measure.

- Read the amount of energy used in kilowatt-hours on the LCD screen.

- Calculate the appliance's energy costs by hour, day, week, month or year. A calculation guide comes with the meter.

Top energy vampires are computers and accessories; instant-on TVs (especially larger ones); surround-sound systems; cable- or satellite-TV boxes; and household items that maintain a clock, such as a microwave, digital clocks, DVD/VCR machines and programmable coffeemakers.

SRP says other appliances to check are freezers, fans, lights, phone chargers, heaters, games and stereos.

For safety, SRP says not to test electric water heaters, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens and any device that does not plug in to a 120-volt AC outlet.

After homeowners measure energy use, they can complete an online survey and find energy-saving tips and money-saving offers at

SRP offers free device to customers to measure energy use

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