How do I track my power usage?

We have a few nifty tools to help you keep an eye on how much power you’re using and understand when you typically use the most.

Daily usage
If you have a smart meter, your daily usage graph makes it easy to see any changes in your usage at a glance. So if your usage spikes or falls dramatically you can dig a little deeper to try to find out why.

In your desktop account – you’ll find your daily usage on your ‘Balance’ page and by clicking on ‘Usage’, ‘Average daily use’.

Daily-usage-desktop

If you have more than one property you’ll see your properties’ daily usage graphs one below the other.

Read more on how to track usage if you have more than one property.

In Powershop’s mobile app – you can access your daily usage by tapping the icon that is furthest to the right in the top right of your screen, or from the Daily usage heading in the menu.

Daily-usage-mobile2

Current usage

In your desktop account
Above your Daily usage graph we tell you your current usage in kWh (kilowatt hours). If you have a smart meter, this is based on your average usage over the last three days. If your meter isn’t smart, your current usage will be an estimate based on your last reading. So the more meter readings you enter, the more accurate your current usage information will be.

Current-usage-desktop2

In Powershop’s mobile app
In the mobile app your Daily usage graph has the added feature of telling you the average dollar cost per day, and the kWh (kilowatt hours) of power you’ve used each day.

Current-usage-mobile3

Insights graph
The mobile app also has an Insights graph. The bars in the Insights graph let you see at a glance the monthly dollar cost of your power. Access the Insights graph from the Insight graph heading in the menu, or by tapping the middle icon in the top right of your screen.

Insights-graph2

Usage patterns 
If you have a smart meter and feel like doing a bit of detective work, you can discover what times of day you use the most (and least) power – down to half hourly intervals. This means you can have a think about what you normally do at peak times of day and, if possible, make changes to be more energy efficient. You can access this tool from your desktop account. If you don’t have a smart meter you will not have this tool in your account.

Read more about understanding your ‘Usage patterns’ chart

Usage-patterns

Activity Tracker
If you want to get really clever about tracking your usage, then look no further than our Activity Tracker on the mobile app. It’s a trainspotter’s delight!

It’s also reassuringly easy to use. And we reckon it really helps you monitor, understand and, ultimately, take control of your usage.

The Activity Tracker lets you add notes to your Daily Usage graph so you can explain any spikes (or drops) in your power usage. You can use the Activity Tracker to explain past events. Or you can set it to keep track of a future time period.

You’ll find the Activity Tracker in the mobile app. Go to your Daily Usage graph and tap the stopwatch icon in the top left of your screen.

Read more about the Activity Tracker.

Activity-tracker

How do I track my usage if I have more than one property?

To keep life simple, we’ll combine some of the data for all your properties and keep some of it apart. Whichever makes more sense.

In your desktop account

Power organiser and days ahead
For example at the top of your Balance page, you’ll see how many days ahead or behind you are with your power purchases for all of your properties compared with your usage.

Your Power Organiser will also show you where you’re at on all of your properties. So you can see whether or not you’ve bought enough power to cover all your usage.

Days-ahead1

Daily and current usage 
Your daily and current usage in kWh (kilowatt hours) for each property will be shown separately, one below the other.

The more detailed daily usage graphs under the ‘Usage’ tab will also be displayed separately. Use ‘Select Property’ on the left-hand menu on each page to drill down to see separate, detailed usage data for each of your properties.

Daily-and-current-usage

In Powershop’s mobile app 

Days and dollars ahead
Inside the circle on the Balance screen we show about how many dollars ahead or behind you are with your power purchases, based on your current usage, for all the properties under your account.
Tap to switch to about how many days ahead or behind you are.

Dollars_mobileDays-mobile

You can swipe back to see each property’s circle side-by-side for previous months. But for current and future months, the circle will show a combined account view.

each-property

Insights
In the Insights graph each property is combined in one bar. Again, you can swipe back to see each property’s graph side-by-side for previous months. The bars in the Insights graph let you see at a glance the monthly dollar cost of your power.

Access the Insights graph from the Insight graph heading in the menu, or by tapping the middle icon in the top right of your screen.

Insights

Daily usage
So that you don’t drown in data, we keep the detailed Daily Usage graphs apart. Access your daily usage by tapping the icon that is furthest to the right in the top right of your screen, or from the Daily usage heading in the menu.

How do you estimate my current usage?

If you have a smart meter your current usage is based on your average usage from the last three days.

If your meter isn’t smart, your current usage will be an estimate based on your last reading. So the more meter readings you enter, the more accurate your current usage information will be.

Tell me about the Activity Tracker in Powershop’s mobile app?

The Activity Tracker lets you add notes to your Daily Usage graph so you can explain any spikes (or drops) in your power usage. You can use the Activity Tracker to explain past events. Or you can set it to keep track of a future time period.

Explain your past
Say you look at your Daily usage graph and notice that your usage for one particular Sunday was really high. What was that about?

Oh, that’s right. You were cooking up a storm in the kitchen batch baking.

You can make a note of this in your Activity Tracker and choose an icon (e.g. cooking = a roasting chicken, laundry = a pair of underpants) to add to the relevant day on your Daily Usage graph. That way, you can see at a glance why your power usage peaked on that particular day.

Using the info
If you keep noticing big spikes that are down to having the oven on, you may decide to look into getting a more energy efficient oven. Or you may simply know that on the weeks you’re channelling your inner Masterchef you’ll need to whip into the Shop and buy an extra Powerpack.

Experiment and keep tabs on future use
You can also play around with changing your behaviour and use your Activity Tracker to monitor the outcome. For example taking showers instead of baths for a week. Or if you have a meter that can measure peak and off peak usage (e.g. day/night metering) doing your washing, or putting the dishwasher on at off peak times.

Specify the start and end times of your experiment in your Activity Tracker and you’ll get readings on the electricity used during these times, and how much it has cost based on your average cost per kWh for that period.

Looking at the past or the future, it’s a handy wee device with many uses:

  • Seeing what the effect a new heating system has on your usage.
  • Settling squabbles with flatmates who left the heater on in their bedroom all day.
  • Showing your teenagers the impact their long showers have on your back pocket.

Activity-tracker_1Activity-tracker_2Activity-tracker_3Activity-tracker_4

Help me understand my Usage patterns chart?

If you have a smart meter this a really neat tool that can help you understand your usage and become more energy efficient. At first it may look like you’ve dived headlong into a game of Space Invaders. But it doesn’t take long to get the hang of what you’re doing!

Usage-patterns

Dark low, bright high
Each coloured square on the heatmap chart is one half hour period of one day. The brighter the square is, the higher the usage half hour. The darker the square is, the lower the usage. (So black is the lowest, blue is low, purple is lowish, red is medium, orange is quite high and yellow is higher and white the highest).

Finding patterns
You can look at your usage patterns for the last 4 weeks, 12 weeks or year. Which is handy for seeing when you typically use the most power. The narrative above the chart will also help you to do this. For the selected time period, it tells you:

  • what time of day you consistently used the most power
  • the day you used the most power, and
  • the time and day you used the most power over the whole of that time period.

You can click on this narrative to highlight this time period on the heatmap.

Detective work to make changes
So if your chart is consistently yellow between 7 and 8am, you think about what you regularly do at this time and realise it’s often when the shower is getting heavy use. This suggests you may be using a lot of power to heat water for your shower. Therefore, making your shower or hot water cylinder more energy efficient may be one of the most effective ways to use less power in your home.

Visit the Energywise website to find out how to make your appliances more energy efficient.

Number crunching
If spreadsheets are your thing you can download data for every half hour period in .csv format (think Excel) which can be handy if you’d like to investigate something like the effect of using your heatpump at different temperature settings, or for different time periods e.g. “am I better off leaving my heat pump on at a lower temperature while I’m at work, or turning it off completely, then cranking it up when I get home?”.

How can I tell which activities and appliances use the most power?

If you have a smart meter you can figure this out from your Usage Patterns chart in your desktop account. Get there by selecting ‘Usage’ then ‘Usage Patterns’.

If you were looking for changes you could make at home to become more power efficient, you would check your Usage Patterns chart to see when your highest usage tends to be.

Let’s say this is between 5.30 and 7.30 in the evening.

You would think about what you regularly do at this time and might realise this is when you’d normally run the bath and have the heater on.

Over the next few days you could experiment with alternating between only having a bath and only having the heater on, to see how it affects your usage during that period.

If your usage falls dramatically when you only have a bath, you know that your heater is using a large chunk of your power. And so you may decide to look into more energy efficient heaters.

If not having a bath makes the biggest difference, you may decide to swap to showers to trim your usage down.

I seem to be using a lot of power, what’s going on?

If you’re getting through more power than usual, first have a think about whether anything in your household has changed. Cold weather can sometimes sneak up on us and we find ourselves using the heater more or having longer hot showers. Or perhaps the rellies have been to stay for a few nights, in which case, it’s more than likely you will have used more power than you normally would.

For tips on keeping usage as low as you can visit the Energywise website.

If you’re using more power than usual and you’re sure that nothing has changed, it could mean that one of your appliances is faulty. For example, leaking hot water cylinders can churn through electricity. If you suspect something’s not quite right, ask your local electrician to come and assess your home.

What can I do to reduce my power usage?

The main ways to save power are to invest in energy efficient appliances and look at where you might be able to change your habits.

You’ll find heaps of power saving ideas on the Energywise website.

Which appliances use the most power?

Compare the average yearly running costs of different household appliances on the Energywise website.