Frugal Living

How I’m saving over $100 on my Energy Bill this Year with the BC Hydro Team Power Smart Challenge

Everything in life is expensive right now and that includes paying for electricity. This is why I wanted to share how I’m saving money on my energy bill with the Team Power Smart Challenge. The first time I saw BC Hydro email about their Team Power Smart Challenge I actually dismissed it thinking there’s no way I could achieve the targets they set out. Turns out I was wrong! And I’m glad I am giving the challenge a try so I can (hopefully) earn my $100 at the end of the year.

aerial photo of cityscape at night displaying energy use
Photo by Benjamin Suter on

What is the Team Power Smart Challenge?

BC Hydro has a program you can opt into where, if you reduce your energy use by 10% on average over a year, they will credit you money back on your bill. The regular amount for the challenge is $50, but I signed up during a promotion and have the chance at $100. Either way, it’s a pretty good deal! And there is the added bonus of saving money every month by reducing your energy usage.

Find out about the program and how to sign up on the BC Hydro website: Team Power Smart Challenge.

Why I thought it was pointless to join the Team Power Smart Challenge

Even though saving money and saving energy are both great things, initially I really thought it was pointless for me to join the challenge.

As a single person who doesn’t use a lot of power to begin with, I thought a 10% energy reduction would be incredibly hard. It was difficult for me to imagine where I would cut back on electricity use because my bills are pretty low as it. To support that belief, I’ve had multiple landlords in my life comment on how little electricity I use while living in their suites. BUT, the chance at the $100 was enticing enough, so I jumped in to give it a go!

I’m so glad I put myself up to the challenge because I’ve actually been able to save energy and money! And I’m well on my way to creating some new habits and to earning myself that $100.

How the Reduction Challenge works:

  1. Join Team Power Smart by logging in to your online account. It’s free and easy to join.
  2. Start a Reduction Challenge and commit to reducing your household electricity use by 10% over the next year.
  3. After 365 days, if you’re successful in meeting your goal, you’ll earn a $50 reward.
BC Hydro – Team Power Smart
BC Hydro Team Power Smart Challenge progress
My progress so far in the challenge

How I’m saving energy use for the BC Hydro Team Power Smart Challenge

Since I’m not a person to leave every light on at all times and my electric heat is included with my rent, I had to get a little more creative with lowering my Hydro bill.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to lower my energy use by at least 10% each month:

1. Unplug unused items

My Pappa used to always keep the microwave unplugged when it wasn’t in use and I thought of this while I was trying to figure out how to reduce my energy use. He must have done it for a reason after all!

This led me to unplug my coffee pot because I only use it about three times a week. There is no need to keep the little clock and light on it running if I’m not using it regularly.

I also unplugged a second cordless phone that is only used for my apartment buzzer. One phone is surely enough!

2. Turn those lights off

As I mentioned, I regularly do this anyways, but I started to pay closer attention to what lights I really do leave on. I realized I was leaving the kitchen light on while I’m going about my morning routine and that became a simple thing to adjust.

I’ve started using a single bulb lamp instead of the three bulb overhead light when I’m in my living room and I barely notice the difference in light, but sure do in the energy use.

3. Use small appliances instead of big ones

I had mentioned in my post about being a conscious consumer that I’d been debating on whether I should buy a new kettle or continue boiling water on the stovetop. Once I stopped drinking as much coffee and transitioned to drinking tea, my need for boiled water grew and prompted me to make the kettle purchase. The main factor for me was time as a kettle boils water faster. What I didn’t initially realize was that using a kettle uses a lot less energy as well.

This goes for other appliances too, so if you can use a toaster oven or Instapot instead of the oven or stove, you will be saving energy for those actions too.

Team Power Smart Challenge Progress

I’m three months into the challenge but I’m really encouraged by what I’ve done so far! I feel the biggest hurdle will be wanting to use my fans and air conditioner in the summer because my apartment gets incredibly toasty, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So far I’ve been able to reduce my energy use by 16% which is way more than I would have expected. One of the great things about the way the BC Hydro Team Power Smart Challenge is laid out is their tracking system and the access to information that’s provided. I can see different graphics that lay out my usage over the months and how much (or little) I’m saving. There are also charts that show progress and these are all types of things that motivate me to keep going. (All these charts make me understand why Krista loves them when she’s talking about her solar panels and energy tracking!)

As an added bonus, there are contests for participants and also various tips and discounts.

More Money and Energy Saving Tips

If you’re motivated to start saving on your electricity bill, here are some more blog posts with some great ideas!

10 Practical tips to save money on heating this winter

How We Ended Up With Solar Panels

How Your Energy Choices Help the Planet: Solar Panels

Pela phone case image. The Compostable phone case.

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