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Electricity usage monitors available free-of-charge to the public

In an effort to help its customers understand and potentially reduce their electricity usage, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is now offering “Kill A Watt” electricity usage monitors, available on loan through area libraries and from the cooperative’s offices.

“Simply plug appliances into the monitor,” said Nancy Andrews, LPEA energy management advisor, of the Kill A Watt, which is about the size of a calculator. “It then assesses the appliance’s efficiency either at a given moment or over a period of time. People are able to tell which of their appliances are zapping energy.”

According to Andrews, the monitor can evaluate both large and small electronic devices, games and appliances, including all major appliances. The cost for simply keeping an appliance plugged in can also be calculated.

The monitor displays the power consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh), which is how LPEA reports energy usage on customers’ monthly bills. With the data retrieved by the Kill A Watt, electrical expenses can be estimated by the day, week, month or entire year, assisting in household budgeting.

“With the potential increasing cost of electricity, we want to do what we can to help our members save their energy and dollars,” said Mark Schwantes, manager of corporate services. “We’re hoping that when folks can actually see which of their appliances are energy-guzzlers, they will use them more efficiently or replace them with more efficient models.”

The Ruby Sisson Library has two Kill A Watt monitors available for loan, similar to checking out a book or video. Monitors can also be borrowed from the LPEA office at 603 S. 8th St., pending availability.