Christmas Power

Actually I don’t mean Christmas Power. This isn’t a super hero blog. I mean Christmas power consumption. How much electricity did you use cooking your turkey? Check your account at and let me know.


This is the last seven days of our electricity consumption.
This is the last seven days of our electricity consumption.

Well, it seems we used a little more cleaning the house and doing laundry on Tuesday the 23rd than we did cooking and entertaining on Thursday the 25th.

On Tuesday I did a few loads of laundry (cold water but hot dryer), used the dishwasher, showered, washed dishes by hand and gave the kids baths (all hot water), and used the electric space heater.

Just after Santa's visit--2:38am
Just after Santa’s visit–2:38am

On Thursday, however, there were a bunch more indoor Christmas lights suddenly (we like to surprise the kids in the morning), Julie the mother-in-law cooked the turkey, I baked some pies and other family members used the stovetop and microwave to reheat or cook the Christmas feast.

One key difference on these two days was the space heat. As you know we are not using the furnace. I lit a fire on Christmas morning (after the stockings had been taken down–there was chocolate in those things!) but with so many people in the house the rest of the day, no electric heat nor another fire was needed.

How about last Christmas? We used the furnace then. It looks from this BC Hydro comparison that Christmas Day was about the same, but by the difference in consumption on the rest of the days, it does appear the space heating is costing us. 2014-2013 Xmas
The question, from a purely traditional home economic perspective, is how much did the oil cost to make up the difference in interior temperature last year? That is a question that most of us are forced to deal with because we can’t afford to think of the big picture.

The big picture includes tarsands pollution in Alberta and, of course, climate change–one is far away and the other is ¬†huge, long-term and hard to quantify. How much further must I go into debt to take care of the big picture? Isn’t that the government’s job? Homeowners like us need help making the choices for our homes that don’t just make sense for our families but also make sense for the country and the planet in the longer term.

At the moment the BC government is downloading energy efficiency incentives onto utilities like BC Hydro and Fortis BC. The current federal government is running in the opposite direction. Will 2015, an election year in Canada, bring some pre-election goodies from Stephen Harper in the form of reinstated grants for home energy retrofits?

All signs point to no.

StackedIt turned a little cold the last few days and our construction waste wood supply is dwindling. I’m beginning to wonder how much of my time I’m willing to put into sourcing out more wood. (I didn’t plan for a wood-fuelled winter, you see).

I may just buy a little more oil to get us through the winter. What do you think? Half a tank?

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James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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