A few months ago I found that ComEd, our electric supplier, has some new energy data on their website, including a comparison of one's electricity use to 100 neighbors within close proximity (3 miles) and with similar sized homes and natural gas, rather than electric, heat. So, apples to apples.
When I first looked, I was not in the top 20 (called Efficient Neighbors) for least electric use, though I was getting close. When yesterday's bill arrived in my inbox, I checked my account on the website to see where I stood, and, at last! I used 5% less electricity than my Efficient Neighbors.
Besides there being one less person in the house (not insignificant, as Gerrit was home most of the time, which meant the television was on a good part of the day), I finally started turning off the power strip for the TV and cable box, as well as the power strip for the computer/printer/monitor, when I wasn't using them. The only downside to turning off the cable box is the TV guide program listing takes about 20 minutes to refresh after the cable box is turned on. All the programs are there, I just can't see what's coming up next until that 20 minutes or so has elapsed.
I can live with that small inconvenience to reduce my energy bill.