Using a key card switch to control electricity usage

This is sort-of followup to [My Number 1 pet peeve:AC left on when they leave!]
( and Electricity usage monitoring .

It turns up that our electricity bill was up because our electricity supplier, which goes by the acronym BEST, was earlier supplying us with old-fashioned and (apparently) broken meters, which were not recording the correct usage, and therefore charging us less than they should have. The new electronic one they are using, according to them, is accurate. It’s true that our meter was changed, apparently from the old mechanical one to the new electronic one, at around the New Year 2017, and our bills have jumped abruptly from then on out. In any case, it seems we have arrived in a Brave New World of increased electricity bills, which is unwelcome news for us.

It was suggested to me (by our yoga instructor), that I try using one of those slots that one finds in hotels, where one puts a card in to make the electricity come on, and when you take it out, the power goes out. This could be attached to the key as part of a keychain, so guests would be “encouraged” to take it with them when they leave. This actually sounds like a good idea, though a bit unfriendly and “hoteley”. it’s also mentioned tangentially in the first thread linked to above (“My Number 1 pet peeve”), but nobody confirmed that they actually use it.

But needs must as the devil drives, and I’m fairly sure that many of my guests leave the A/C blasting away when they leave for the day. The fact that whenever I got in there to do any work (when the guests are not present), the A/C is on only goes to confirm my suspicions. This is, for example true of our current guests,.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve thought of installing a meter (or possibly meters) to monitor energy usage. I think I’ll do this, but the key card seems to be a good idea as well.

So, has anyone out there tried this, and if so, how did it go?

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I am interested in hearing about hosts experience with this setup as well.

I have seen those systems in warm climate resorts, and thought they were genius. Then I saw how some guests (that were given two keys) would leave one in the slot all day while they were out. Somewhat infuriating, as they must know WHY this system is in place.

I also wonder how cost effective it would be, if you had to rewire your entire space to operate off of one “switch”.

Is it primarily the A/C usage that is of concern for you? Do you have any options for a “smart” outlet, or timer? One that you can either remotely shut off, or put on a schedule so that it turns off automatically. For example, in one of my LTR units I have a “landlord” thermostat that turns itself down after 3 hours. In my own flat (the one I Air) I use a Nest smart thermostat. These just control the heat (the building is on a boiler system). For cooling, I am looking into getting a smart outlet for the window A/C that would either turn it off or turn it down. That may be easier, and less expensive, than re-wiring your space. If it’s an option for you. :slight_smile:

Hi @tinyCar,[quote=“tinyCar, post:2, topic:14104”]

I am interested in hearing about hosts experience with this setup as well.

There’s also a variation with a regular key. To summarize, alternative 1: slide a card into a slot, alternative 2: slide a key into a keyhole. I actually like the idea of alternative 2 better - it’s simpler and cleaner, in theory, at least. See, for example,

I only give my guests one key. Occcasionally they complain. Yes, this system isn’t as effective if you are going to give your guests multiple cards or keys.

You mean, the cost of an electrician’s time and materials? Fortunately, one of the people who works for us is an electrician. I’m not sure how hard the rewiring would be, but I hope he’ll be able to cope.

Well, any unnecessary electricity usage in an empty room is of concern to me. Though A/C usage is presumably the most significant. And smart anything seems to be hard to get hold of in India. I’ve looked. And I don’t think timers are exactly guest-friendly.

My biggest problem with the “whole hotel room doesn’t have power” is that your phone or computer or whatever is not charging while you are out of the room. I would suggest that you have one outlet that isn’t part of the key system, preferably one near a horizontal space that can hold devices that might need charging.


If I go this route, I’ll leave the switchboard by the desk out of it. That seems to be what most people use to charge things. But I haven’t worked out the details. And in India nothing is simple.

And that is actually a good thing.
People should not leave their devices charging unattended, it is a big fire hazard. Especially when people are using those crappy chinese aftermarket chargers (It is not a coincidence that these cheap chinese things are popular with frequent travelers.)

I already had an accident with a charger that shorted in one of our guest rooms, luckily the fuse in the switchboard worked correctly and prevented from anything worse happening.

If people leave their chargers in the sockets at home, it is their risk, but in hotels you do not want that for a good reason.

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Well. The amount of times a charger has caught fire while I’ve left it charging is … zero. Technically I suppose it could happen but to be honest I’m more likely to burn the building down by burning a candle.

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Interesting perspective. But how likely a possibility is that? That certainly can be an issue - I remember I was in the local gym once and was impressed by one of those battery charging packs someone was using. I went home and looked it up on Amazon (India). I quickly lost interest in it once I discovered it had a recorded propensity for catching on fire spontaneously.

But not being able to charge their devices will make people cranky. So the tradeoff is - cranky guests vs a slightly increased risk of having our home burned to the ground. Life - it’s all about tradeoffs.

BTW, this thread was to ask if anyone was using the devices. So far, it appears the count is zero, which is a little surprising.

To be honest, that is ridiculous! Leaving a candle unattended is dangerous. Leaving an iron, while on, face down in dangerous. Leaving an iPhone, motorola mifi, or Apple computer plugged in is not.

At least in this country, most people no longer have fuses. They have circuit breakers which is current code.

If I want to leave my room at 6AM to have breakfast, I need to be able to charge my phone until checkout at 10AM so I don’t run out of power on the way to my next destination. What would happen if my next host uses one of those phone dependent locks?


I had the impression those battery power packs were getting increasingly popular. But maybe they’re not a good idea if you want to travel light. And probably not for international travel either.

I don’t use one of those battery packs. I find them heavy, and way too big. And in the normal course of my life, I really don’t need one.

I use a huge one of those battery packs.

I take a lot of pictures and use an Apple Watch, iPad, location services and google maps.

All my devices talk to each other via Bluetooth and therefore I use a lot of battery power especially on holiday. I value travelling light but I also hate being out of power. If I’m out for 10 hours I wouldn’t have enough battery power to see me through the day (and I’m very dependent on my technology) so a portable battery (mine is big enough to be able to charge an iPad fully twice over) is essential. I even use them day to day in London but I swap to smaller ones when I’m about town.

I’d say most young travellers carry them - I can’t speak for older travellers but even battery packs need to be left charging. My large one takes 15 hours to fully recharge so you get the idea of how big it is.

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What’s the size of your battery pack? 20k mAh?

21200mAh and to be honest I could take one bigger.

Of my 95 stays hosting approximately 155 guests over the past year, none have carried this much battery power with them. There have been a few with camera batteries, but none of them were oversized. About 1/3 of these visitors were younger than you are, so the difference is interesting.

I see. That must be close to the largest available. I’ve thought of getting one, but I don’t currently really have a use for it - I don’t travel much. But they certainly would be useful if I did.

Like I said: when you’re running an Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone, you need power and a lot of it. I also carry a small MacBook when I’m travelling for use at home.

I had a 22 hour bus ride from Berlin to Warsaw and trust me the battery pack was a life saver. I arrived with my devices all on a healthy amount of power but the battery pack totally drained.

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This is what it looks like… I don’t think it’s particularly large but then I am used to it’s size.

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The closest thing on Amazon India is

but it’s incredibly expensive compared to the Indian made ones, which still seem to be pretty good, if the reviews are any judge.