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Cold weather caused utility bill shock
Old 02-06-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
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Cold weather caused utility bill shock

This last month, we in the northern part of the country suffered a cold winter blast. I was waiting with some trepidation as to what my utility bill will come out to be. I am living in a pretty new two storied 3 bedroom townhouse of about 1700 sq ft, and it is electric heated. Despite putting on more clothes and keeping the thermostat at low heat level, my electric bill doubled this month.

How did this cold January impact your utility bill? Minimize crowing from you guys enjoying yourself in the warm south.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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Despite a blast of cold, our bill was slightly under last year's (we get gas and electric on the same bill). The average temp was several degrees colder this year. As best I can tell, we did not get whacked this year because we had the wood burning fireplace going a LOT and with the blower on that circulates air around the firebox I can pretty easily heat the whole house with just a bit of electricity. Since the wood was free (neighbor had to cut down a monster tree in his yard and offered me the logs) we saved on the heat bill, although I had to lug, cut, split and stack the wood.

Where we are power and gas are pretty cheap (especially compared to my oil-heated former home in NJ). It is the water bill that is the killer. Won't get pounded with that until the summer.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:12 AM   #3
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Sorry, but have to crow... it did get cold here for a week or two, but not enough to change the bill...


Now, when summer comes along, I expect to hear your crowing when my electric bill goes up to $200... (PS... I am LOW compared to some... I have heard of $600 bills from some coworkers)....
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:24 AM   #4
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Sorry, but have to crow... it did get cold here for a week or two, but not enough to change the bill...


Now, when summer comes along, I expect to hear your crowing when my electric bill goes up to $200... (PS... I am LOW compared to some... I have heard of $600 bills from some coworkers)....
I suppose. That is why I am hoping that when I got my situation set up, I can spent winters in warm areas and the summers in the north. Think of this: what can be better than spending the first week of July in Montreal, doing the International Jazz Fest.
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Even in sunny California
Old 02-06-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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Even in sunny California

we had a utility bill shock. Our gas bill doubled, and our electric also went up, compared to last year.

DH usually just has the utility bills ACH'd out of his checking, so I don't get a chance to see them.

I started doing a day-by-day check of our usage and found a few ways to cut, such that our daily use went down quite a bit.

DH is going to investigate whether our new "Smart Meters" may have been part of the change in what our readings are.

I noticed, too, that we are required to pay $9.95/month to assist other customers who cannot pay their bills.

I wonder whether this would count as a contribution and thus a tax deduction?
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:32 AM   #6
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My electric bill is pretty constant throughout the year. No A/C and very little heating required in the Bay Area. But our electric bill is still pretty hefty because the electric rates are very high here.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bondi688 View Post
Minimize crowing from you guys enjoying yourself in the warm south.
Hey, it's not like we don't have to pay utility bills. Yesterday I had the AC on at my house.

Our biggest bills, of course, are in the summertime but they can be pretty staggering during those months when you in the North are getting a reprieve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Sorry, but have to crow... it did get cold here for a week or two, but not enough to change the bill...


Now, when summer comes along, I expect to hear your crowing when my electric bill goes up to $200... (PS... I am LOW compared to some... I have heard of $600 bills from some coworkers)....
I just checked, and my highest electric bill last year was $142.94 in July. That is for a relatively small home (1600 square feet), though, I believe much smaller than yours. I didn't try to conserve.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #8
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We recently moved into our new house. First bill was great! The second one, which was last month's, was a shocker! So much so that I went out and checked our meter. It was obvious that they had misread it or otherwise made a typo. I called and had it corrected. It still ended up being more than the first month due to the cold weather but not unreasonably more. It still scared me into shifting from my life of blissfull, warm, comfort to "putting on a sweater". Looking forward to the next couple to see where we net-out. Maybe I can take this darn sweater off!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Sorry, but have to crow... it did get cold here for a week or two, but not enough to change the bill...


Now, when summer comes along, I expect to hear your crowing when my electric bill goes up to $200... (PS... I am LOW compared to some... I have heard of $600 bills from some coworkers)....
Haven't received January's bill yet, but I believe January was warmer than December, so kind of expecting it to go down. As to July and August
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:47 PM   #10
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My electric bill is pretty constant throughout the year. No A/C and very little heating required in the Bay Area. But our electric bill is still pretty hefty because the electric rates are very high here.
I would say that depends on the insulation in your house and whether you have a lot of direct sunlight. And where you are located.
My heating bill (South Bay) for the past 2-3 months has been greater than what we paid in Chicago the past few years! And the apartment has never been over 67 deg the entire time. I checked with pg&e about several of our neighbors usage too. Avg heating bill is $200/month for 1000 sq ft apt, non-heating months is <$40.
FIREd, Would you be able to share your $, avg indoor temperature and sq ft?
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:02 PM   #11
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I would say that depends on the insulation in your house and whether you have a lot of direct sunlight. And where you are located.
My heating bill (South Bay) for the past 2-3 months has been greater than what we paid in Chicago the past few years! And the apartment has never been over 67 deg the entire time. I checked with pg&e about several of our neighbors usage too. Avg heating bill is $200/month for 1000 sq ft apt, non-heating months is <$40.
FIREd, Would you be able to share your $, avg indoor temperature and sq ft?

My electric bill is around $90 per month for a 1,100 sqft apartment. Average temperature indoors is 66-72F during the winter. We have large windows facing south/southwest and use the sun as much as possible to keep the place warm. I used the electric heater only a few times in December because on rainy/cloudy days it does get a bit cold. Thankfully I live bayside, so sunny days far outnumber rainy/cloudy/foggy ones. According to PG&E, I use twice as much electricity as my neighbors, which is hard to believe.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bondi688 View Post

How did this cold January impact your utility bill? Minimize crowing from you guys enjoying yourself in the warm south.
Bad News/Good News- our electric bill has seemed high this winter even though we only have the thermostat on 65- we have a wood stove in the basement that helps with the heat. Turns out that our local electric company hasn't read the meter in 4 months and the estimates were based on a period last year when we had a problem with the furnace that caused the bill to be very high. I called and gave them the actual meter reading, bill was adjusted to the point that we hardly owed anything this month and the average bill is down at or even just below where thought it would be.

It's been colder this year than last so all in all, not too bad on the bill.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:37 PM   #13
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Mine seems pretty normal for MO. Bill was a little under a $100. I just leave my thermostat at 70 and it never gets adjusted. I used too, but I like to be warm now in my old age. Thank God for natural gas heat as it is certainly cheaper than electric heat.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:19 PM   #14
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I use as little heat as I can tolerate and my electric(heat)bill was still $200.04 for January. I left for Florida with 3 days left in the month so the bill probably would've been nearly $225. I pay less than $50/mo June-Sept. According to my energy company, the average bill for households my size(under 1000sqft)for January was $271 so I was well under that but I was wearing 2 hoodies and sweatpants and was still chilly at times.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #15
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Heat and HW for our 1700 sq' well insulated western Ma. home takes 600 gallons of oil for the year, this year it's about $3.50 so $2100 a year, add another $1200 for electric. I don't pay by the month so I have no idea what this month was compared to the rest. Keep it at 65 when we're home and awake, down to 58 the rest of the time.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:46 PM   #16
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Our therms used per day quadrupled January 2013 over December 2012. The weather in Oregon was miserable. No matter though - we had gone where the weather suits our clothes so our gas bill for 35 days use was a whopping $51.03 - a shocking four times our $16.55 bill for December.

Shivering at 69 degrees, so we cranked up the heat. La Quinta California baby!
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:33 PM   #17
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We live in a 3,000 sq. ft. all-electric house. Our electric bill has averaged about $240 per month year-round since 2004, which is as far back as my records go. We keep the temperature at 72 degrees F year-round. We use a level-pay plan so the bill is about the same every month. We have two woodburning fireplaces, but they are more for ambiance than heat. We use an electric clothes dryer for all of our clothes drying.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:42 PM   #18
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Cold climate here as well. Winter is much more expensive than summer as we have an electric water heater, and electric heat pump.
3600 sq ft house, last months bill was 145. Although about $35 of that is to charge our cars (saving us about $220 on our gasoline bill).
Should be getting this month's bill which will be a bit higher I am sure.

Good insulation is key in our climate.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:17 PM   #19
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I "got the shock"...bill came today.

Arkansas, 2200 sq feet, geothermal.

KWH usage was $126.34, but then:
Customer charge ....$6.00
Cost of power adjustment ...$35.42
Electric franchise ...$4.19
Taxes....$14.19

Why do I feel bamboozled? : (

We used 2820 KWH.
Last years usage for same month was 1740. We had an extra cold snap in December.

Also found out we owe $1800+ in fed income taxes; color me grumpy.

Blessed, blessed, blessed. I will repeat as needed.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:24 AM   #20
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My cost of power adjustment doubled this month, my usage stayed the same. Added $15 to my electric bill.

Forced charity to the amount of $120 a year would make me move. I do let my coop round up my bill to the nearest dollar amount, for those that need assistance $6.71 in 2012, and I can write it off.
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