Friday, January 15, 2010

Shock and Awe at My Energy Bill

I have been sharing my journey reducing my energy bill and up until now I have been proud to say I have reduced my monthly usage.  Well, let me eat some crow.  A new bill came in that is almost double last months bill!  I just got off the phone with three nice customer service representatives from my local power company.  Here is what I learned.
  1. The rates did go up on January 1rst.
  2. My usage jumped from 441 KWHS to 876.75
  3. I am charged one rate up to 600 KWHS and a higher rate after that.
  4. My average daily useage jumps around quite a bit.  I am sure that occurs on days I do not use any electric heat and heat with wood.
  5. There are not any free programs in my area to do energy audits.
I told them I have unpluged everything possible to avoid phamtom use.  I use the appliances at night.  They said that will not cut down my bill but helps with overall peak useage which should help the power company keep rates down.  Obviously, I must be the only one doing that!  I heat only two rooms and keep two rooms blocked off when not needed.

I have not used the wood stove every day.  Sad to admit but I have been some what lazy since I began to live alone and do not relish getting wood when it is pouring out.  I have moved a pile of wood nearer to the house and put it well under cover.  Guess I will have to suck it up and make hauling wood a fun and rewarding excercise..ya right!  For double the bill I will use it more often.  We did have a cold spell here and that is when I turned on the heat.  Wrongo in the congo.  That is when I should have fired up the wood stove.  There also has been a burn ban ongoing and woodstoves are only to be used if they are the only source of heat.  Well, I guess when the smoke Natzi comes to the door I will have to lower my muffler, take off my gloves and show him my electric bill.

They did have one suggestion I had not heard before.  They suggested I shut of the breakers for the rooms I am not heating.  It will involve checking to see if the electric baseboards have seperate breakers in those rooms.  I am sure those rooms are not getting any heat because I have thermometers in all the rooms that I check for kicks once in a while.  If the rooms were warm in any way it would be noticed.

I called a few friends and everyone was shocked by this month's bill.  We are all going to have to suck it up and put on another layer of clothing and get out another afgan.  Oh, by the way, I got one of those snuggie things for Christmas last year and it didn't work well for me.  The quality of the fleece is very poor and it was not as warm as an actual piece of good quality polar fleece.  Yes, the design is cleaver but the darn thing was not warm enough for me even with Mister T laying in my lap.

I am off to haul in some wood and turn off the electric heat!


PioneerPreppy said...

A burn ban?

Who enforces this pray tell?

the canned quilter said...

So happy to have found your blog. Another frugal canner : )

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

I'm am surprised your power company does not offer a free energy audit, but they should at LEAST come check your meter to be sure it is calibrated correctly. In Texas you can use any number of power companies if you live in an urban area. When we lived south of Houston, we had $400 utility bills in the summer with Houston Lighting & Power (the 'Ma Bell' of the power industry down here) but we shopped around and switched to a competitor the last two years we were down there ...never had a bill over $250 after the switch. Now we are 10 miles outside the city and the local electrical co-op is our only option. But they are incredibly reasonable. We heat & cool an 1800sf home and have two window A/C units running 24/7 in a 440sf shop area and our highest bill has been just under $200. Not bad, not bad at all.

Call your power company back and ask them to check your meter. It should not cost you and unless they have done that within the past 12 months, I don't think they can refuse.

Keep warm!

bctruck said...

hi frugalista. i thunk ill call myself a frugarian. my wife told me the dryer was not drying the clothes very well,and it was taking much longer than it used to. having just replaced the washing machine ,i couldnt afford to buy a dryer so i took it out to my shop and disassembled it and you wouldnt believe what i found. all the drying duct work inside the dryer had come apart or had major leaks. i reassembled everything after cleaning all the accumalated lint from inside the dryer.i drilled and screwed all the duct work back together making it airtight,and even bought a new vent with a flapper that does not allow outside air to come back inside when the dryer isnt being the dryer is sending all the lint into the lint trap or outside and its taking half the time to dry than it was before.there is no telling how electricity the dryer was wasting.or how much cold air the old vent was letting back in. just another step in my frugarian pursuit of lower energy bills.take care Brad

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