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Removing 'bad' electricity consumption starts with collecting and understanding data

Responsible energy consumption continues to be a very relevant topic. Not only are we dealing with an energy (gas, electricity) crisis in parts of the world, it makes sense to be a conscious and aware consumer when it comes to fossil energy.

Get your data from your supplier or measure yourself

You can't fix what you don't know right? Let's start with getting the data and insight. Here we have a couple of possibilities at hand:

  1. Your bill from your energy supplier will probably show you how much you are using.

  2. If you have a smart meter that transfers data to your energy supplier on a regular base, some energy suppliers offer (next to) live data and insights as part of their services to you, through an app or website.

  3. Most smart meters have communication port (P1) in which you can plug a device that will measure your electricity. You can get these devices that integrate with your home automation platform (like Slimmelezer+ ) or standalone solution, even with a built in screen.

  4. Lastly most smartplugs are able to measure the energy being used. This is only available for electricity, and it will of course only show you part of the usage. Combining #3 and #4 though will give you powerful (haha) top-down insights, with the ability to recognise usage per device.

My own setup is that I export data from my energysupplier's dashboard, and I have a Slimmemeter+ running on my P1 port connected to a home automation platform called Home Assistant.

What does this data actually mean?

After you have extracted your data and done some data quality checks like:

  • Reconciling days/months/years usage and cost back to your energy supplier overviews/billing

  • Completeness checks in days/months/years

You are good to go to start your assessments. But do you know what the meaning of your data is? Let's look at a couple of common attributes, of course the dataset will depend on your source.

Usage in kWh

Stands for kilo Watt hour, a 1000 Watt for an hour long. For example if my vacuum-cleaner uses 2000 Watt, after 30 mins of vacuum cleaning I've used 1 kWh. An average household in NL uses around 3500 kWh per year.

Market price EPEX per kWh

The price of the electricity on the energy market. Because we are not able to store energy in an efficient way, the price fluctuates a lot depending on supply and demand. Main drivers are the weather (warm - airco's, sun/wind renewables), economy, exchange rates and governmental levies. Much more details to it, but enough for now :). For your supplier, this the purchasing price.

Purchasing costs per kWh

Costs that the supplier makes in purchasing the electricity. Set by the supplier in your contract.

Energy tax per kWh - Your government might tax your electricity usage, aiming to encourage economical use. In NL the government taxes EUR 0,03679 per kWh for 2022.

ODE per kWh (Opslag Duurzame Energie) - Dutch levy freely translated to renewable energy addition. Our government states to use this money to stimulate green and renewable energy. In 2022 ODE is EUR 0,03691 per kWh.

Net management costs - These are the costs you need to pay to be connected to the net, your meter and the transport of energy. You can't influence these cost. On average in 2022 this is EUR 266 (for electricity, you also pay it for gas).

Fixed costs for energy company - Your supplier can determine their fixed costs themselves and this can differ quite a bit. It's aimed to cover for company and administrative costs. My current energy supplier (Energyzero) charges EUR 3,15 per month.

Refund on energytax - In 2022 our tax authority pays us back EUR 824,77 of our energy tax. The reasoning is that energy is seen as a primary need in life, so part should be free. I feel to understand why it has to first be charged and then refunded, but maybe that's me. Not complaining, the refund is much higher than the original tax.

VAT - Can't avoid VAT and as always applied after all other cost components including energy tax. Tax on tax always feels a bit double to me. Normally 21% in NL, but because of the energy crisis and inflation our government lowered VAT to 9%. This will change back to 21% start of 2023, when the brand new price ceiling will kick in. More on that in a separate post.


Your variable costs depend on your usage. Your fixed cost are set in your contract. In our situation in NL these can be negative because of the energytax refund. See illustrated below for my current situation (est. 2144kWh/year).

Market price (85%) + Purchasing costs (3%) + Energy tax (7%) + ODE (6%) = variable part of the price

Percentages are based on my contract with Energyzero September 2022.

Next time: now that we have and understand our data, how to analyse?

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