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Old 12-14-2017, 04:44 PM   #81
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The highest gas bill we've ever received was $350 during an exceptionally cold winter. And to us, it's worth every nickel.
Yikes!!

I know you have been contemplating the idea of moving south some day. Just to spur you on, my highest natural gas bill in the past year (Dec 2016 through Nov 2017) was $49.51 in February. That covered natural gas for heat, hot water heater, gas stove, gas dryer, and (had I used it) the gas fireplace.

OK, OK, I confess, our summer AC bills are insane and the electric bill was as high as $130.34 last August. Electricity and natural gas together came to a grand total of $1,145.30 for the past year. This is for my 1500 sf single story brick house on slab foundation built in 1965 and with a brand new Trane HVAC unit installed fifteen months ago. My energy consumption included no attempts at conserving energy and every attempt to attain maximum comfort. (What's a bull market for? ).

Those in places like Texas can sneer because they probably have lower energy costs, but there you go.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:58 PM   #82
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Yikes!!
Well, a $350 natural gas bill is the record high, I think it was 2009 but can't remember and I'm too lazy to look it up in Quicken again. But it was an unusually cold winter and I think gas prices were unusually higher for some reason then too.

Normally we expect the January NG bill to be in the $250 range.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:04 PM   #83
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Well, a $350 natural gas bill is the record high, I think it was 2009 but can't remember and I'm too lazy to look it up in Quicken again. But it was an unusually cold winter and I think gas prices were unusually higher for some reason then too.

Normally we expect the January NG bill to be in the $250 range.
If you look at this site it gives an idea of what natural gas prices were back to 1997:https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/rngwhhdm.htm

So for example in Jan 2009 they were 5.25/million btu and this year they were 3.30. The low point was jan 2016 and the high point (using january to avoid effects like Katrina was 8.69 in 2006.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:07 PM   #84
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Those in places like Texas can sneer because they probably have lower energy costs, but there you go.
Our gas and electric bills are a tad higher (gas ~$90 in Feb; $22 in July and power about $160 in August; $100 in Feb), but we have a 2,000 square foot one story with 3 year old A/C.

Our biggest power users are A/C followed by the two full size fridges and finally the "constantly on" large oxygen concentrator that draws 13 amps.

We are served by Entergy - Louisiana and Centerpoint for gas.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:08 PM   #85
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Well, a $350 natural gas bill is the record high, I think it was 2009 but can't remember and I'm too lazy to look it up in Quicken again. But it was an unusually cold winter and I think gas prices were unusually higher for some reason then too.

Normally we expect the January NG bill to be in the $250 range.
Yeah, not that much savings. Besides, think of the expense of all those shorts and flipflops and sunscreen that you would have to buy if you lived in a warm climate.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:09 PM   #86
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If you look at this site it gives an idea of what natural gas prices were back to 1997:https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/rngwhhdm.htm
Ah, I see a big spike in 2008 so maybe that was the year.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:15 PM   #87
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Our gas and electric bills are a tad higher (gas ~$90 in Feb; $22 in July and power about $160 in August; $100 in Feb), but we have a 2,000 square foot one story with 3 year old A/C.

Our biggest power users are A/C followed by the two full size fridges and finally the "constantly on" large oxygen concentrator that draws 13 amps.

We are served by Entergy - Louisiana and Centerpoint for gas.
You're right, a big house like that and two full size fridges and oxygen concentrator are a lot bigger load on your electric bill than my smaller house (with just one small 20.5 cf fridge). But still, your electricity is low! Less than mine last August. That's pretty good.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:16 PM   #88
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I just sent this to my insurance agent tonight. I expect a BS answer, but I thought I should at least give him a chance to explain. We are going to be out of the country for 3.5 months beginning in January and I don't want to mess with the auto payments so when we return I will shop around for better rates.

The two cars are a 2014 Subaru Outback and a 2015 Honda Fit. We have filed no claims and our credit ratings are very high. The only thing I can think that has changed is we both turned 60 this year.

+++++

Hello [insurance agent]

I was comparing our prior auto insurance premiums to our current auto insurance premiums.

January - July 2014 Subaru premium = $317.44

January - July 2018 Subaru premium = $417.70

$417.70 - $317.44 = $100.26 x 2 = $200.52 increase


January - July 2015 Honda Fit premium = $367.02

January - July 2018 Honda Fit premium = $474.26

$474.26 - $367.02 = $107.24 x 2 = $214.48 increase

Total: $200.52 + $214.48 = $415.00 increase from three years ago

Are my numbers correct and if so why have our rates increased on our auto insurance policies?
I received an answer to my question today. I can potentially save money if I let them track our every movement:

Hi I researched your previous premiums, and you are correct, there has been an increase in rates.

This last year, State Farm, and many other companies, took a statewide rate adjustment on all auto insurance policies. Claims costs and claim frequency continue to rise across the country, and as a result, auto insurance rates for customers are adjusting to better cover expected claims costs. The increased claims activity is a result of having more drivers on the road, more distractions in the vehicle, and higher posted speed limits. Repair costs are also increasing due to the amount of technology, and more labor involved in repairing newer vehicles. Senate Bill 411 was also passed last year in Oregon, and has been in force in Washington, which increased the personal injury protection and uninsured motorist bodily coverage available. Due to this change in the law, there has been an increase in medical payments during the last year. With the increase in medical payments the auto premiums have been adjusted to compensate.

To offset this rate adjustment, you may want to consider the Drive Safe & Save program. This is a new program that started in 2016. Attached you will find some information on the Drive Safe & Save mobile app, to track mileage & driving habits. This program is free, monitored by State Farm, and helps us to adjusts your premium to your actual mileage and driving habits rather than a flat rate based on all drivers in your area. You would receive a 5% discount when you sign up for the program, then your premium would be readjusted at the renewal of the policy (or 6 months of data) based on your estimated mileage and driving habits. If you would like more information on Drive Safe & Save, please go to https://www.statefarm.com/customer-c...nd-save-mobile or give us a call at xxx and let us know that you would like to sign up for the program. We would just need an email address for any driver that would like to sign up, the vehicle they primarily drive, and that driver would need to download the Drive Safe & Save App in their app/play store.

You currently have the many other discounts on your policies, a 3 year accident free discount (which will become a 6 year accident free discount in 2019), the multicar, multiline, vehicle safety and low mileage discounts. The only other discount that you do not have on the policy is the Drive Safe & Save discount.

If you have any questions, or would like additional information, just let me know.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:08 AM   #89
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You mean...you don't read the monthly notices about how well you're doing compared with "comparable efficient homes in your neighborhood"?

Complete with smiley and frowny faces, depending on whether you used more or fewer KW's? (What are we, six years old?)

And facetious suggestions of how you can save more KW's, which correspond to things you already do?
I get those anal reports every quarter saying I've used 6% more power than all my neighbors. But my neighbors don't have a separate 26x26 air conditioned brick shop that houses a home winery. And 2 extra freezers, and 1 table saw, router table, power sander, a planer, a joiner , and an indoor greenhouse for my starter plants for the garden in the winter.. And I paid for that power, it wasn't stolen. 6% is nothing.

We paid $1730 for yearly electric, and $830 for natty gas here in SW PA, for a 2200 ft2 house and a 676 ft2 garage/shop/winery.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:11 AM   #90
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I received an answer to my question today. I can potentially save money if I let them track our every movement:

Hi I researched your previous premiums, and you are correct, there has been an increase in rates.

This last year, State Farm, and many other companies, took a statewide rate adjustment on all auto insurance policies. Claims costs and claim frequency continue to rise across the country, and as a result, auto insurance rates for customers are adjusting to better cover expected claims costs. The increased claims activity is a result of having more drivers on the road, more distractions in the vehicle, and higher posted speed limits. Repair costs are also increasing due to the amount of technology, and more labor involved in repairing newer vehicles. Senate Bill 411 was also passed last year in Oregon, and has been in force in Washington, which increased the personal injury protection and uninsured motorist bodily coverage available. Due to this change in the law, there has been an increase in medical payments during the last year. With the increase in medical payments the auto premiums have been adjusted to compensate.

To offset this rate adjustment, you may want to consider the Drive Safe & Save program. This is a new program that started in 2016. Attached you will find some information on the Drive Safe & Save mobile app, to track mileage & driving habits. This program is free, monitored by State Farm, and helps us to adjusts your premium to your actual mileage and driving habits rather than a flat rate based on all drivers in your area. You would receive a 5% discount when you sign up for the program, then your premium would be readjusted at the renewal of the policy (or 6 months of data) based on your estimated mileage and driving habits. If you would like more information on Drive Safe & Save, please go to https://www.statefarm.com/customer-c...nd-save-mobile or give us a call at xxx and let us know that you would like to sign up for the program. We would just need an email address for any driver that would like to sign up, the vehicle they primarily drive, and that driver would need to download the Drive Safe & Save App in their app/play store.

You currently have the many other discounts on your policies, a 3 year accident free discount (which will become a 6 year accident free discount in 2019), the multicar, multiline, vehicle safety and low mileage discounts. The only other discount that you do not have on the policy is the Drive Safe & Save discount.

If you have any questions, or would like additional information, just let me know.
I worked in the actuarial field for 23 years, specializing in personal auto insurance. It was interesting to see how several laws passed by various states impacted insurance rates, often in unintended ways. Also, external things such as increased cell phone use worked its way into insurance rates due to their increased hazards on driving.

Different law changes impact different coverages. Sometimes, a law change would cause a rate decrease in one coverage while causing a rate increase in another coverage, or a rate increase in one class of risks while causing a rate decrease in another class of risks. I, and the staff in my division, had to determine these effects whenever there was a law change.

We always snickered when a politician or other talking head would try to make some cheap political points if insurance rates rose, not knowing (or knowing and not caring) why it happened, and the explanation for the change was not usually a simple one which could be captured in a 15-second sound byte.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:49 AM   #91
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My home is all electric. Highest summer bill was $350 for August. Lowest bill of $100 is usually in Nov and Dec, in between cooling and heating months.

I checked the last 3 years. All 3 show annual cost of around $2000, for more than 17,000 kWh consumed. No significant rate increase. No complaint here.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:10 AM   #92
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I checked the last 3 years. All 3 show annual cost of around $2000, for more than 17,000 kWh consumed. No significant rate increase. No complaint here.
Wow! If you are paying $2k for 17,000 kWh you are paying about 12 cents per kWh. I pay about 19 cents (11 for the electricity and 8 for the delivery)
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:17 AM   #93
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Wow! If you are paying $2k for 17,000 kWh you are paying about 12 cents per kWh. I pay about 19 cents (11 for the electricity and 8 for the delivery)
Quote:
Originally Posted by https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_factors_affecting_price s
In 2016, the annual average price of electricity in the United States was 10.28 per kilowatthour (kWh).1 The annual average prices by major types of utility customers were:

Residential: 12.55 per kWh
Commercial: 10.37 per kWh
Industrial: 6.75 per kWh
Transportation: 9.48 per kWh
12 cents per kWh is pretty much average..
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:25 AM   #94
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Made me look. The past 12 months we've used 19,800 kWh and paid $1,813. That's 9.2 per kWh so I guess we're getting a bargain.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:27 AM   #95
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Agree that these increases can be pretty “frustrating” especially when retired on a fixed income. Points out the significant risk of inflation over your retirement period and why having a pretty good proportion of equity in your AA is needed to cover it.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:31 AM   #96
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The 12c/kWh includes all charges and is the 12-month average cost.

Per kWh cost runs from 7.1c to 22.3c, depending on the season and the time of day. Most expensive is during summer afternoon as you can guess, and cheapest is during daytime in the winter.

PS. I am in the process of building a battery system with a 17kWh capacity to store solar energy, but also to arbitrage the two day/night rates.

Ignoring solar power, max savings = 17 kWh/day x 30 days x 15c/kWh difference = $77/month.

Not a lot, but something for a retiree to do.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:52 AM   #97
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Back on insurance rate gripes, I just looked and saw that our auto insurance went up 8.7% from 2016 to 2017. Our vehicles are getting older too, and should be cheaper to replace if totaled.
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Old 12-15-2017, 10:33 AM   #98
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My electrical/gas bills average between $4.00 and $6.00 per day. For the price of a cup of snooty coffee, I don't have to chop wood, haul water, hang out clothes, manually open my garage doors and I can see at night. No complaints here.
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Old 12-15-2017, 11:16 AM   #99
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Made me look. The past 12 months we've used 19,800 kWh and paid $1,813. That's 9.2 per kWh so I guess we're getting a bargain.

Looking at my current bill, for every kWh of electricity I paid:
Supplier (Eversource)
Generation Service Charge: .10759 per kWh

Delivery
Distribution Charge: .04649 per kWh
Transition Charge: -.00198 per kWh
Transmission Charge: .02277 per kWh
Renewable Energy Charge: .00050 per kWh
Energy Conservation Charge: .01639 per kWh

For a total of .19176 per kWh

There was also an additional $12.86 Customer Charge on the bill for who knows what!
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Old 12-15-2017, 11:41 AM   #100
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We switched over to smart meters a couple of years ago. It was optional but the power company charges the folks who didn't switch an additional fee. I don't remember the monthly amount but it might have been $15.

We has to pay for the new meter.... I bet there is a higher price if you did not switch... heck, I do not know if you can refuse...
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