TOWNSEND -- Power company Unitil donated two energy meters to Townsend Friday for use by residents.

Those interested will be able to check the devices, called "Kill A Watts," out in order to test the amount of electricity that is used by their home appliances.

Unitil representative John DiNapoli said that to use the devices, residents just have to plug them in to the wall, then plug an appliance into the meter. A reading will come up on the meter.

Residents can then use simple calculations, provided by Unitil with the devices, in order to determine their yearly energy costs for that item.

"The goal is to have them register how much they are using. Older appliances aren't as efficient, and people may be surprised that they're using that much, and ask how they can be more energy efficient," DiNapoli said.

Unitil has also given Kill A Watt devices to Fitchburg and Lunenburg, where DiNapoli said they have been well received.

He said one Fitchburg resident was so shocked by his high energy usage that he bought all new energy efficient appliances after using the meters.

While he said that replacing all appliances at once is not feasible for most people, DiNapoli encouraged residents to look to energy efficient models when replacing failing appliances.

"There are programs that will give you rebates if you are replacing old appliances. You can buy a brand new one that's more energy efficient," he said.

Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said he was happy to receive the donations, and encouraged residents to utilize them.

"We view this as a great opportunity for people to measure what their appliances are using and find ways to cut back on the kilowatt usage, but also to save money at the same time," Sheehan said.

Sheehan said the devices would most likely be available for checkout from the Townsend Public Library for a period of a few weeks at a time.

Surveys regarding the ease and helpfulness of the meters will be included at checkout and can be turned back in with the devices.

Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.