At Home with Lisa: Smart Power Strip

Since my house is so old and energy inefficient, one of the ways I track my usage is by checking my Avista account online.

In Washington state, Avista has switched everyone over to smart meters. When I log in, I can see how my bill is shaping up so far during my billing period. This comes in handy during the winter months when I’m expecting a large bill. I can plan my budget for the month around what I’m seeing online.

It can show me how much energy I’m using on a daily and hourly basis. It will even show me what I’m using in five-minute intervals.

I’ve recently learned there are some appliances and everyday household items I use on a regular basis that use electricity even when the appliance isn’t turned on. Printers, computers, even cellphone chargers are typical culprits.

During this pandemic, many people are now working from home. They may shut down their computer at the end of their workday, but the computer is still sucking in power. They call this “vampire loads.”

Rather than unplugging my computer and printer every night, I got a power strip. At the end of the day, after I’ve shut down my office equipment, I can just reach down and shut off the power strip.

There are also smart power strips that can detect when your equipment is in standby or sleep mode and shut off by themselves.

The strips are also very helpful in houses like mine. It’s very old and there aren’t all that many electrical outlets. In my dining room, where I typically work, there is only one. The power strip offers me so many more outlets to plug in more machines.

Now that I’m done for the day, I can turn everything off, knowing I’m not pulling in more energy than I’m actually using.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient.  Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same.  You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

Learn more about smart meters.

Smart meters


  1. Energy Saving
  2. At Home with Lisa