My Electric Kitchen

My small kitchen appliances are sucking up electricity when not in use and I didn’t even realize it. My toaster has an indicator light. My coffee maker has a clock. These are left on 24-7. I am not sure how much energy that wastes. Unplugged, they waste nothing.

No more of this:

Instead, this:

When I am done using the appliance, just unplug and go.

It turns out that when you use your electricity is important. Electricity must be used when generated, it cannot be stored. So if you use a whole bunch of electricity at peak times of the day, you add to the strain on the grid. In some cases, that means firing up less efficient, possibly more polluting power plants to meet peak demand. The system is built to reliably meet peak capacity, so if we can reduce our peak capacity, we will need a smaller system.

Here is a graph of electricity use and prices in my province over a 24 hour period (yesterday):

Source: Alberta Electric System Operator


Looking at the graph it is best to use all your electricity in the middle of the night. This is fine if you are nocturnal (which I kind of am…) but this is pretty hard to do. What I can do is run my dishwasher right before I go to bed, instead of right after dinner, during the peak of all peak times.

So that is what I will do. If I forget, I will have dirty dishes to greet me in the morning. So I better not forget!

Teeth brushed, alarm set, dishwasher run. Check, check, check…


3 thoughts on “My Electric Kitchen

  1. Wow, are those blue LEDs ever bright (on the toaster!)

    Good post. Thanks for noticing the time-of-day issue with electricity use. Here in Ontario we’re all moving towards paying more when demand is high and paying less after peak hours — and the best part is, in off-peak hours, the electricity is generated without producing CO2, by our nuclear plants and our hydroelectric dams. (Here, but not in AB I notice.)

    I’ve been trying to get my relatives to understand that a clothes dryer running at 6pm is burning coal, but at 2am it runs on Niagara Falls.


    • Unfortunately we don’t have Hydro here… but burning electricity off peak means that additional inefficient power plants have to be fired up to supply to the grid… If consumers were somehow charged the price at the time of usage, so that you pay more when demand is higher, then I bet some habits would change!

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