I’ve been watching the Woods SmartStrip power bar at Canadian Tire for a while now. The regular price of $44.99 seemed a little much in my opinion but a couple weeks back it was on sale for $29.99 with another $5 off because of this year’s Every Kilowatt Counts rebates. So I bought one and so far, I’ve been very happy with my purchase.
The Woods Smart Strip works as advertised. In my case, I plugged the TV into the “control” outlet and then the Wii, receiver, DVD player, etc into the “controlled” outlets. After a minor adjustment of the sensitivity wheel on the Smart Strip, the TV now causes everything to be turned on or off when it is turned on or off. Yes, there is a very minor inconvenience factor in that the Wii and DVD player have to “boot up” but nothing we can’t deal with. Heck, the TV takes a few seconds to start displaying video anyways.
Previously, we would leave the “TV center” items on all the time or in standby. The TV itself would be off but the Wii, DVD player, receiver, etc would all be on or in standby. That consumes power all the time. With my trusty Blue Planet Electronic Energy Meter (which is like a Kill-A-Watt meter), I was able to determine that we were consuming ~70W continuously. That’s not a big number until you do some math. 70W for, say, 18 hours a day (assuming you use your TV for 6 hours a day, which is pretty high), every day for a year is ~460kWh of power consumed – for something you aren’t even using.
Now with the Blue Planet Electronic Energy Meter I see that the whole setup only consumes 2W. That is actually the same amount that the TV alone is reported to consume when it is in standby. Basically, the Woods SmartStrip is consuming virtually 0W to provide the controlled outlet functionality. Fantastic!
Why did I buy the Woods Smart Strip?
Hydro One recently notified me that we are going to be billed based on the new Time of Use rates starting this month. That means we are now paying different rates based on the time of day. There are three tiers – off-peak, mid-peak and peak. I’m not a huge fan of the current implementation because the average rate over 24 hours is higher than what I was previously paying and the off-peak rate isn’t low enough. But, this is where the Woods SmartStrip is coming into play.
Before Time of Use kicked in, our rate was ~ $0.055/kWh. That 460kWh of power when the TV wasn’t even being used was costing us ~$25/year.
Is that all? Well, hang on, Time of Use increased the average cost for something that consumes 24/7. It averages around $0.075/kWh which adds another $9 to our yearly cost bringing us to almost $35. Well, the Woods Smart Strip power bar has now paid for itself if it lasts one year. Woo-hoo!
But there’s more… We don’t actually pay only $0.075/kWh. Where I live, it’s more like $0.137/kWh once you add in all of the other charges that are billed based on your consumption. Transportation, delivery, debt retirement, etc.
That turns into approximately $63/year or $71.20/year including the HST I don’t have to pay. Hell, that’s a couple cases of beer!
I strongly recommend the Wood SmartStrip for this sort of application. Why waste perfectly good beer money for no reason?