Author Topic: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?  (Read 8579 times)

jpluncford21

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Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« on: January 30, 2013, 06:46:36 AM »
Our utility bill jumped $50 last month. Not a huge deal since it is January, but with all the upgrades we've been making, it was definitely a little surprising! Last month we installed CFLs or LEDs in almost all lights, a new programmable therm that drops to 50 when we leave the house, hot water heater insullation, and I insullated and blocked off all the windows and openings in our basement. I have been excited all month to see if  we cut any more out of our usage. WHAT A LET DOWN!!!

RoseRelish

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 07:00:12 AM »
Did the bill go up because usage went up or because the base/infrastructure charges went up?

Also, I heard that lowering the temperature by more than 10 degrees ends up using more energy because of the strain of having to bring the temperature back up.

tmac

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 07:53:41 AM »
Our power company has a little calculation wizard that you can use to figure out why there are changes in your bill. In our case, it didn't help, but maybe yours has a better one. It asks questions about changes in insulation, appliances, etc., and it takes weather and fee changes into account.

sibamor

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 08:13:04 AM »
Community owned utility company lets us sign up for Budget Billing.  You need to live in your residence for at least 12 months before you can sign up.  It averages your Natural Gas, Electrical, Water, and Waste Water usage over the course of the year to predict the following years monthly rate.  They add 1% to the cost to account for changes in usage and rate changes. At the end of the year an overages are charged to your account, and excess is credited to your account.  Been on the plan since September and its much nicer having a straight $140 taken out each month.

simonsez

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 10:29:43 AM »
OP, was the # of days in the billing cycle higher than normal?  I've had bills that were 36 days before instead of the usual 30 or 31 just because the meter was read later than usual.  I guess a $50 hike is still significant though.  Weird.

sibamor, why wouldn't you rather pay on average, $138.60/month that varies vs. $140/month every month?  Or are you saying that under that plan, you are locked in for usage rates rate changes to the tune of 1%?  If that's the case, you are basically hedging inflation which is cool.  But if not, IMO it's just a waste of, on average, $1.40/month.

dragoncar

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 11:27:56 AM »

Also, I heard that lowering the temperature by more than 10 degrees ends up using more energy because of the strain of having to bring the temperature back up.

I'm pretty sure this is untrue.

jpluncford21

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 11:38:05 AM »

Also, I heard that lowering the temperature by more than 10 degrees ends up using more energy because of the strain of having to bring the temperature back up.

I'm pretty sure this is untrue.

I'll need to do some more research into that, but I was under the impression it was cheaper to not run the heat. I may be completely wrong though.

Jamesqf

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 11:41:38 AM »
Yeah, mine did go up a bit in January: from $40.07 to $40.23.  And that's quite a jump from November's $36.01 :-)

sibamor

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 01:28:35 PM »
@simonsez

I should clarify.

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We use your utilities bills for the past year (12 to 13 billing statements) to come up with an estimated amount for the year ahead. We also add a Budget Billing adjustment percentage to account for rate changes, weather variations and changes in your usage patterns that may occur throughout the year.

At the end of your budget period (12 months after you sign up for the program), we will review your total actual utilities use for the entire period compared to your total payments during the budget period. Any credit or debit balance will be included into the recalculation with your most recent 12 months of usage and the current Budget Billing adjustment percentage. Or, if you choose, you can opt to pay any debit in full or receive any credit as a refund.

icefr

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 02:59:46 PM »
My electricity bill jumped from November's $60.94 to $238.77 :/ I'm pretty sure the majority of that is the heating for the last few months. I checked and the thermostats do appear to be programmed. I'm going to work on replacing the lightbulbs as they die because there are a TON of them and they're all incandescents.

I wonder if it's worth replacing them before they die? I estimate that I have 10-15 65 W indoor flood lights throughout my place. It looks like the CFL equivalents are only 15 W, so if I have each of these lightbulbs running for 4 hours a day, just lighting them is costing me 3900 W (3.9 kW) per day or about 234 kW or almost $20 per two-month billing period. If I switch all of these bulbs to 15 W CFLs, I will spend 900 W (0.9 kW) per day or about 54 kW or $4.50 per two-month billing period, which is a ~$15 savings every two months. That sounds like it's worth spending the money on new light bulbs.

I'm guessing that the other expensive thing is the hot water heater. I'm not sure how to know how much wattage mine uses, but it has a yellow energy sticker on it that shows it is incredibly energy inefficient.

Platypus

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 06:46:15 PM »
We're struggling with a higher utility (eletrical) bill for January, but mostly because we've moved to a new house and don't have a baseline of what to expect here. We changed out almost all the bulbs for LEDs at the beginning of the month at move-in, except downlights in the kitchen that are CFLs and under-cabinet lights that are halogen. The upstairs (with master bedroom) has electric heating while the main floor is gas heated, mostly because there's no heating ducts to the upstairs (house built in 1910?). Just got our bill for the first half of January, so that we're on the mid-month schedule for billing, and we've used almost as many KWHs in 16 days as we used to for a full month at the old place! Booooo!

We'll definitely be trying to adjust our energy usage some more to get that bill lower.

bogart

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 06:51:13 PM »

Also, I heard that lowering the temperature by more than 10 degrees ends up using more energy because of the strain of having to bring the temperature back up.

I'm pretty sure this is untrue.

I'll need to do some more research into that, but I was under the impression it was cheaper to not run the heat. I may be completely wrong though.

Cheapest is never to heat at all!  Of course if you live somewhere cold enough that in doing so, you die of hypothermia, you also reduce the need for a big 'stache thanks to the shorter life expectancy. 

Other than that, yes, less heat (lower thermostat more of the day) is generally better.  The only issue with big discrepancies (let it get really cold while you're sleeping, then warm it back up, for example) is if you have a heating system with an "overdrive" that kicks in if it's trying to warm you up a bunch.  My understanding is that many contemporary heat pump systems have this feature, but as I don't have a heat pump, contemporary or otherwise (our 2 systems are a natural gas furnace and a wood stove), I haven't looked into details.

kudy

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 07:11:24 PM »
First bill I've had over $200 since winter started :( It's been a lot colder this month though. Also I haven't glanced at the bill details yet - it could be a longer period.

Jamesqf

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2013, 08:23:40 PM »
I estimate that I have 10-15 65 W indoor flood lights throughout my place. It looks like the CFL equivalents are only 15 W, so if I have each of these lightbulbs running for 4 hours a day, just lighting them is costing me 3900 W (3.9 kW) per day or about 234 kW or almost $20 per two-month billing period.

First, stop and think about why you have that many lights burning that many hours.  An incandescent, a CFL, and an LED all use the same amount of electricity - zero - if they're turned off.

Quote
I'm guessing that the other expensive thing is the hot water heater. I'm not sure how to know how much wattage mine uses, but it has a yellow energy sticker on it that shows it is incredibly energy inefficient.

With water heaters, one trick to saving energy is to turn down the temperature to the point where it's just uncomfortably hot for a shower.  Not only does it save energy, it eliminates the risk of scald accidents.

icefr

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 11:46:32 PM »
First, stop and think about why you have that many lights burning that many hours.  An incandescent, a CFL, and an LED all use the same amount of electricity - zero - if they're turned off.

Very true. Part of the problem is that there are many light bulbs attached to one switch. There is this one switch that turns on 4 light bulbs and I honestly just want it to turn on one of them at a time. How hard is it to re-wire the lights and switches so that the switch doesn't turn on all 4?

With water heaters, one trick to saving energy is to turn down the temperature to the point where it's just uncomfortably hot for a shower.  Not only does it save energy, it eliminates the risk of scald accidents.

I'm confused here - do you mean to turn the temperature on the hot water heater down to that point or the temperature on the shower? Is it really more efficient to have hotter showers? That doesn't make sense to me...

Jamesqf

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 11:22:56 AM »
Very true. Part of the problem is that there are many light bulbs attached to one switch. There is this one switch that turns on 4 light bulbs and I honestly just want it to turn on one of them at a time. How hard is it to re-wire the lights and switches so that the switch doesn't turn on all 4?

I don't know that much about wiring, just that the really painful part is running the wires. 

Quote
I'm confused here - do you mean to turn the temperature on the hot water heater down to that point or the temperature on the shower? Is it really more efficient to have hotter showers? That doesn't make sense to me...

I meant the temperature on the water heater itself.  There's no reason* to have the water heater keeping the water at a higher temperature, and higher temperature increases the rate of heat loss, meaning more energy is used to keep the water hotter.

*OK, if you have a large family who all take showers at once, and a small water heater, you might want to keep it hotter.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 11:33:14 AM »
Very true. Part of the problem is that there are many light bulbs attached to one switch. There is this one switch that turns on 4 light bulbs and I honestly just want it to turn on one of them at a time. How hard is it to re-wire the lights and switches so that the switch doesn't turn on all 4?

Or you could unscrew two of the bulbs.

dragoncar

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2013, 11:45:48 AM »
Very true. Part of the problem is that there are many light bulbs attached to one switch. There is this one switch that turns on 4 light bulbs and I honestly just want it to turn on one of them at a time. How hard is it to re-wire the lights and switches so that the switch doesn't turn on all 4?

Or you could unscrew two of the bulbs.

Of install one of these (depending on situation):

http://www.bulbamerica.com/silver-12pcs-e188-pull-chain-adapter-carded.html

Crash87

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2013, 04:20:13 PM »
My electricity bill jumped from November's $60.94 to $238.77 :/

This makes me never want to move out of my apartment :)

Maybe this is a dumb guess, but is your furnace acting up? If the fan runs a bunch but the air isn't very warm that could certainly affect your bill.

icefr

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2013, 06:45:08 PM »
My electricity bill jumped from November's $60.94 to $238.77 :/

This makes me never want to move out of my apartment :)

Maybe this is a dumb guess, but is your furnace acting up? If the fan runs a bunch but the air isn't very warm that could certainly affect your bill.

I actually just moved out of an apartment and into a condo this past summer and my electricity bills had never been more than $30-40 for two months, so even $60 seemed extravagant to me! My condo building is quite a bit older than my prior apartment buildings had been.

I'm going to try to read the thermostat manuals a bit more thoroughly and make sure it's not heating it up to 70 degrees while I'm at work.

Bakari

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2013, 07:05:18 PM »
Yes!

In fact, it doubled.
We need to stop using the heat so much.  We made it 2 years without using it, and then it was unusually low for a couple weeks and we broke it out, but then we just got into the habit.

This month electricity is slightly over twice as much as last month, at $16
I think I'll stow the heater back in the shed, now that the coldest of the year is behind us

Honest Bob

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2013, 07:17:00 PM »
My gas bill went up to $130 for January. I was averaging $115 before, however the temperature dropped 30 degrees.

dcheesi

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2013, 03:38:24 PM »
Yes, both month-to-month and year-to-year. Usage was up, even though the official average temperature was the same. Some friends with non-electric heat noticed a similar jump in their usage.

needmyfi

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2013, 05:44:44 PM »
Bakari you are a badass!  I have to confess that my bill was $20 higher-I bought an electric heater, stuck it in my cold bathroom and haven't turned it off since.  I know I could do better, save my money and my world, but at 70 cents a day, I honestly feel it is the best $20 I have ever spent. 

adam

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2013, 09:08:08 AM »
Our bill went up damn near $60!  If you check the 'why do you use so much electricity thread I've been tracking it for the last few months getting lower and lower and then BAM.  Damnnit.

572KWH -> 802KWH
19.07 -> 23.68 KWH/Day

:(

It was slightly colder, but my heat is gas, not electric.  I've been trying to keep the house colder, thermostat set for 68 which makes the house generally 64.  Wife has two electric fireplaces she uses when she gets cold.  I'm actually very proud of her for that, she's not complaining about turning up the heat in the entire house but just heating the room she's in.  Still, I imagine that has increased our electrical usage.  We did have 34 billing days instead of 30.  OH, and the billing period was 12/24-1/24, and we hosted her family for Christmas so there were 5 people in the house for a good 3 days around that time. (they showed up before the 24th. and stayed till the 26-27th.)

Therms went from 21 to 37, so the heat/hot water has been used a lot more.

MrSaturday

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Re: Anyone Else Have A Higher Utility Bill For Jan?
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2013, 10:56:13 AM »
My January bill was 81% higher than December, probably mostly from heating since the average temperature was 11 degrees colder.  That bill was a little bit of a shock, but it's still 20% less than I paid a year ago when the temperature averaged 2 degrees warmer.