I've been trialling a personal energy assistant for the past couple of months – and no, that's not a man that comes round to make sure I've turned off all the lights and my hair straighteners before I go to work (although, that would be useful).
It's actually a little gadget called Loop that you attach to your electricity meter and analyses your use. Not only does it send you emails telling you how much energy you've used every week, it compares it to previous weeks and lets you set targets to help your keep your bills down.
Last week, Loop said I used £7.22 worth of electric in my three-bed semi. But apparently that still means my home emitted 26.24kg of CO2, which, according to Loop, would take 137 mature trees a week to offset. And I used 49.8 kwh of power –the same as traveling 1,100 miles by train.
However, my carbon output was 8.17 kg less than the previous week and £2.25 cheaper.
It's too early for me to tell whether Loop will help cut my actual energy bill as I've only had one bill in the time I've been trialling it. That said, I pay my British Gas dual fuel bill monthly by direct debit and Loop's quoted costs seem to be roughly 25% higher.
For example, in June Loop put my monthly bill at about £40 but British Gas only charged me £25. My British Gas bill is based on estimated usage rather than actual readings so it could be either that Loop is estimating too high a usage tariff or that I'm using more electricity than British Gas is estimating.
I guess what I need to do next is enter all my tariff information into Loop and see if that irons out the issue.
But I do think Loop's having a positive effect on my energy use behaviour. Seeing as it's monitoring just my electric, the good weather and lack of heating can't be the reason why my projected bills are going down so my brain must be responding to the weekly emails and making me think a bit more about the electricity I'm using.
Moneywise has 10 Loop devices to giveaway. So if you fancy having a go and sharing your own experience of using it, email email@example.com with your name and address and 'Loop' in the subject line