Author Topic: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?  (Read 31675 times)

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« on: February 24, 2014, 10:23:28 PM »
My electric bill has nearly tripled in the past couple of years, but my electricity use has not increased.
Has anyone else noticed this?
What might be the cause?
I strongly suspect that Obama's cap-and-trade policy might be the culprit. He even admitted himself that "energy bills would necessarily skyrocket under my plan".
I don't think he actually got this law officially passed, but it seems that he's using his executive powers to circumvent congress and implement this policy, anyway, causing energy rates to increase dramatically for the average person. 
This son-of-a-bitch has been a nightmare for me (as a mustachian struggling to cut expenses) since he was sworn into office.
From skyrocketing health insurance premiums (whose purchase is now mandatory), to rising credit card rates and electricity bills, this has been the absolute worst president in my lifetime. I have never seen a politician's actions affect me so directly.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 10:13:31 AM by joer1212 »

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 10:28:29 PM »
Woah...

It's your utility not Obama.  My local electric utility has steadily raised rates about 10% every few years.  Service and dependability are stable.  We even pay extra for green power.

Solar is definitely in my future (as is investing in the local utility).  :)

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5338
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 06:21:23 AM »
I don't want to get into politics but I will say Energy costs have soared under this administration. Left / Right / whatever.. While we need to be more diversified in our fuel sources there is no reason for any party to let them go to the extreme. My biggest problem though is more with gasoline. While nobody wants to pay 4$ a gallon I would rather see a price that is higher that doesn't move. This would enable people to better figure into there expenses and Also keep auto manufacturers from constantly retooling. Just seems a never ending battle.  Reports show that by next week fuel will be back over 4$ a gallon in many places across the USA again. I have a cabin and in 18 years I never paid more than 600$ to fill my propane tank. Nor did I ever have to fill more than once over winter as i heat 1/4 of cabin in winter months. My friend went up there a month ago to use and not only did i need to fill it the bill was over 1300$. Granted its been colder than most years but still its ludicrous. We sell the shit overseas and we have a so called shortage. So in my case apples to apples my fuel costs have risen as well and there is no reason they should be. Like Health Insurance maybe I am a fool but I just feel these things could be handled a lot more efficiently and shouldn't go up at the rate they are. Do I have the answers NO but the problem isn't the answers, its the politics. And that seemingly is the problem with everything which makes me lean more to the conclusion the more government the worse things will be.

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 06:58:20 AM »
Joe, it would help if we knew which utility services your home.  I am with Dominion Power and no, my electricity rate (10.5 c per KWh) has been pretty constant over time. Dominion is a very healthy utility and returns a solid 4% dividend, however the rate it charges is capped by the government so massive price swings like you describe are unlikely where I live.

warfreak2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1140
  • Location: UK
    • Music by me
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 09:06:22 AM »
Energy costs are increasing well above inflation in other countries, too; it's hardly Obama's fault that we're all running out of cheap things to burn. The other reason is, it turns out that burning lots of things has more costs than just the price of the things you burn, and you just aren't getting quite so many of those costs for free any more. Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

MustachianAccountant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
  • Age: 41
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 09:17:47 AM »
Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

This +100. Related: I lol'd.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 10:13:49 AM »
Woah...

It's your utility not Obama.  My local electric utility has steadily raised rates about 10% every few years.  Service and dependability are stable.  We even pay extra for green power.

Solar is definitely in my future (as is investing in the local utility).  :)

I don't think solar panels would be cost efficient. Not if it takes nearly 2 decades to recoup the costs, and by then you have to replace them, anyway. That's called breaking even in my book. And the additional hassle of purchasing and installing these things would be a pain-in-the-ass. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the info I've been getting from some people.
Even if solar panels were cost efficient, would they be as reliable and care-free as the electricity provided by the utility companies?

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 10:20:05 AM »
I don't want to get into politics but I will say Energy costs have soared under this administration. Left / Right / whatever.. While we need to be more diversified in our fuel sources there is no reason for any party to let them go to the extreme. My biggest problem though is more with gasoline. While nobody wants to pay 4$ a gallon I would rather see a price that is higher that doesn't move. This would enable people to better figure into there expenses and Also keep auto manufacturers from constantly retooling. Just seems a never ending battle.  Reports show that by next week fuel will be back over 4$ a gallon in many places across the USA again. I have a cabin and in 18 years I never paid more than 600$ to fill my propane tank. Nor did I ever have to fill more than once over winter as i heat 1/4 of cabin in winter months. My friend went up there a month ago to use and not only did i need to fill it the bill was over 1300$. Granted its been colder than most years but still its ludicrous. We sell the shit overseas and we have a so called shortage. So in my case apples to apples my fuel costs have risen as well and there is no reason they should be. Like Health Insurance maybe I am a fool but I just feel these things could be handled a lot more efficiently and shouldn't go up at the rate they are. Do I have the answers NO but the problem isn't the answers, its the politics. And that seemingly is the problem with everything which makes me lean more to the conclusion the more government the worse things will be.

I think we should "get into politics" in this case, especially since we are being so directly affected by this administration. This is not some abstract ideology or rhetoric you often hear from politicians that may or may not affect us--the actions of this president is making our lives much harder in a very real way! If this is not the time to get into politics, then it never will be.

Cromacster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1696
  • Location: Minnesnowta
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 10:21:08 AM »
That damn Obama!

The government is going to do what it is going to do.  Obama?Romney? Obamney?  Would it really be any different? 

I WOULD STILL BE OUTRAGED ARGHHHH GOVMENT AND SUCH!

I personally have not seen a tripling in the price of electricity.  This largely depends on where you live and how utility rates are decided in your area.

I have also taken great strides in saving and moving towards FI, despite the overlord Obama beating me down at every step.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 10:25:39 AM by Cromacster »

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 10:21:58 AM »
Joe, it would help if we knew which utility services your home.  I am with Dominion Power and no, my electricity rate (10.5 c per KWh) has been pretty constant over time. Dominion is a very healthy utility and returns a solid 4% dividend, however the rate it charges is capped by the government so massive price swings like you describe are unlikely where I live.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, and my utility provider is Con Edison.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 10:35:11 AM by joer1212 »

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 10:34:24 AM »
Energy costs are increasing well above inflation in other countries, too; it's hardly Obama's fault that we're all running out of cheap things to burn. The other reason is, it turns out that burning lots of things has more costs than just the price of the things you burn, and you just aren't getting quite so many of those costs for free any more. Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

I don't have an axe to grind. I have nothing inherently against Obama, or any other president for that matter (Bush, Reagan, etc). But when I hear my president casually admit on national TV that under his plan electricity bills will skyrocket, and shortly after this announcement they do, well, that's when my neutrality ends.
Also, I am not claiming to know for sure that Obama is the reason for my tripling electricity bills. I only suspect this. I posted here so maybe someone could shed some light on what is actually going on. I have never experienced such an enormous rate hike in such a short period, so I find it hard to believe that Obama has nothing to do with this. Maybe there are other contributing factors for the increases.
I will call my utility company, but it's doubtful that the agent on the phone will know the reasons behind the rate hikes.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 10:36:26 AM by joer1212 »

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 10:37:31 AM »
Joe, it would help if we knew which utility services your home.  I am with Dominion Power and no, my electricity rate (10.5 c per KWh) has been pretty constant over time. Dominion is a very healthy utility and returns a solid 4% dividend, however the rate it charges is capped by the government so massive price swings like you describe are unlikely where I live.

I live in Brooklyn, NY.

You're with ConEd then, I assume? We are too, in Queens. Our rates went *way* up this fall/winter, though they've dropped a bit since. Our usage has been fairly consistent year over year, so I'm not happy about it.

Yes, I am.
My electricity bills have skyrocketed without paying for electric heat. I rent.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 10:40:45 AM »
Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

This +100. Related: I lol'd.

What am I supposed to do, rub two stones together and light some candles? How can I not depend on electricity when I live in a major city like Brooklyn? My job is here, my family is here, so it's not like I can just leave and move to the North Pole and live like an Eskimo, not that I'd want to, anyway.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 10:42:27 AM »
Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

This +100. Related: I lol'd.

What am I supposed to do, rub two stones together and light some candles? How can I not depend on electricity when I live in a major city like Brooklyn? My job is here, my family is here, so it's not like I can just leave, move to the North Pole and live like an Eskimo, not that I'd want to, anyway.

data.Damnation

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
  • Location: Madison
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 10:47:23 AM »
Here you go.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2014, 10:51:16 AM »
So your conclusion was that Obama caused your local electric bill to triple because you saw him casually mention something on TV?  Even though the random bill that you site that would have little effect wasn't even passed?  That sounds entirely reasonable and well thought out.  I mean, obviously the President controls pretty much everything.  All he has to do is wave his magic wand and raise electric rates or make the economy hum again.

You're missing the best part of the story though.  I heard that he only raised rates in Brooklyn, Pilsen (Chicago), and The Mission (SF) and left everyone else's alone.  It's because he hates hipsters.  It's true.  They said so on redstate. 

Cromacster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1696
  • Location: Minnesnowta
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2014, 10:51:44 AM »
Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

This +100. Related: I lol'd.

What am I supposed to do, rub two stones together and light some candles? How can I not depend on electricity when I live in a major city like Brooklyn? My job is here, my family is here, so it's not like I can just leave and move to the North Pole and live like an Eskimo, not that I'd want to, anyway.

Well that's the crux of it isn't it?

There are somethings you can do to reduce your energy usage.  You probably already know what those are.  But depending on your current living situation your actual options may be limited.  But the most powerful voice you have is your feet.  Your weakest voice is your complainypants.  Living in an urban environment really puts you at the mercy of whatever organization.  You use electricity, they charge you for it.  If your municipality has some control over the utility prices, you hope they put your best interests first (and the rest of the people living there).  If you have the space you can reduce some of your dependency by possibly implementing some solar (which could be solar hot water when it is doable), wind, or other ways.

The libertarian in me says if you were really angry, you would move to New Hampshire or Vermont and build/buy an energy efficient home that's off the grid and not worry about obama or cap and trade.

Or you can complain about the government.  Whatever works for ya.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 10:53:44 AM by Cromacster »

MustachianAccountant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
  • Age: 41
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2014, 10:55:04 AM »
Try to plan your life so as not to depend on using as much energy as you're accustomed to, rather than complaining that somebody moved your cheese.

This +100. Related: I lol'd.

What am I supposed to do, rub two stones together and light some candles? How can I not depend on electricity when I live in a major city like Brooklyn? My job is here, my family is here, so it's not like I can just leave and move to the North Pole and live like an Eskimo, not that I'd want to, anyway.

It's hard to answer that question (as sarcastic as it may be) without any details.
Do you hang your laundry to dry?
Do you have electric hot water? How much hot water do you use?
Do you hand wash dishes, or use a dishwasher?
Are 100% of the lightbulbs in your house LED bulbs?
Do you turn lights off when you leave the room?
Do you leave your computer on all the time?
How much TV do you watch?
What appliances/devices do you have that are "always on"?
How many "wall warts" do you leave plugged in all the time?
and on, and on....
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 10:57:23 AM by MustachianAccountant »

Sebastian

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 209
  • Age: 32
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2014, 11:05:09 AM »
You sure it wasn't the print you've been feeding non-stop for the past 10 years that you keep in your closet? I know it's kind of like your "pet" now, but you just gotta kill your printer!

giggles

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • Kiva - Change the world with a $25 loan
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 11:05:42 AM »
do you have multiple zones in your house?

We had zone 1 turned down, but didn't realize the unused zone 2 was running at full blast until we checked the empty rooms.  Whoops!  Turned that zone off, electic bill magically back to normal.

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 11:14:38 AM »
I don't think solar panels would be cost efficient. Not if it takes nearly 2 decades to recoup the costs, and by then you have to replace them, anyway. That's called breaking even in my book. And the additional hassle of purchasing and installing these things would be a pain-in-the-ass. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the info I've been getting from some people.
Even if solar panels were cost efficient, would they be as reliable and care-free as the electricity provided by the utility companies?

Depends on where you live.  In WA state, there's enough incentives, tax credits and rebates that the "payback" time is as little as 5 years.  The made in WA panels (made in WA = rebates and no sales tax) have a 25 year warranty and after 25 years their output is 80% or better.

The reliability thing depends on how/if you're hooked up to the grid.  Our grid power goes out just about every wind storm (several times a year) so if we had PV solar and were grid-tied, it would also go out automatically.  If we were off the grid and had storage, it would obviously be different.

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3927
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2014, 11:37:26 AM »
My NG (heating and hot water) bill has gone down. Thanks Obama!


Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5078
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2014, 11:38:34 AM »
Do you have a tiered bill?  If so, did the utility just lower the breakpoints between the tiers?  Out here, we have PG&E, and the tiers change with the seasons.  Another possibility is time of use.  Some utilities offer different rates depending on what time of day the electricity is used.  If Con Ed has that and you started using electricity during a peak use window, that could increase the rate significantly.  Finally, did you just change electricity providers?  Con Ed delivers the power, but they likely offer different sources.  Some people choose more expensive, "green" providers.  Could you have made a change there?

Bottom line, compare the old, lower bill to the new, outrageous bill and locate what's different.  Then call Con Ed and see what they can offer to lower the bill.

Miamoo

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
  • Location: Somewhere near Chicago
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2014, 11:38:50 AM »
From MustachianAccountant . . . .

"It's hard to answer that question (as sarcastic as it may be) without any details.
Do you hang your laundry to dry?
Do you have electric hot water? How much hot water do you use?
Do you hand wash dishes, or use a dishwasher?
Are 100% of the lightbulbs in your house LED bulbs?
Do you turn lights off when you leave the room?
Do you leave your computer on all the time?
How much TV do you watch?
What appliances/devices do you have that are "always on"?
How many "wall warts" do you leave plugged in all the time?
and on, and on...."

I've never heard the term"wall warts" before!  Too funny!

Accountant . . . . what's included in the on, and on . . . ?  I'd be interested as we're always looking for new ways to reduce consumption.  We already . . .

Hang the laundry
Use power strips
Only turn on lights after dusk (as the CFL's poop out we're replacing them with LED's, one by one)
Unplug the wall warts (toaster, microwave etc & bla bla bla - I think that's what you meant????)
Recharge DH's cell phone only when we're driving - not sure what if anything this saves? 

Our tiny town went in on a "conglomerate" with other local towns for an alternate energy provider about a year and a half ago so actually, my rates/bills have gone DOWN versus 2012.

But I would still love to know if there are any other things I could be/should be doing to cut it further.

Every time I think I've done everything I can and am at the end of the rainbow with ideas . . . I learn some new little thing. . .

Gin1984

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4753
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2014, 11:44:22 AM »
I don't want to get into politics but I will say Energy costs have soared under this administration. Left / Right / whatever.. While we need to be more diversified in our fuel sources there is no reason for any party to let them go to the extreme. My biggest problem though is more with gasoline. While nobody wants to pay 4$ a gallon I would rather see a price that is higher that doesn't move. This would enable people to better figure into there expenses and Also keep auto manufacturers from constantly retooling. Just seems a never ending battle.  Reports show that by next week fuel will be back over 4$ a gallon in many places across the USA again. I have a cabin and in 18 years I never paid more than 600$ to fill my propane tank. Nor did I ever have to fill more than once over winter as i heat 1/4 of cabin in winter months. My friend went up there a month ago to use and not only did i need to fill it the bill was over 1300$. Granted its been colder than most years but still its ludicrous. We sell the shit overseas and we have a so called shortage. So in my case apples to apples my fuel costs have risen as well and there is no reason they should be. Like Health Insurance maybe I am a fool but I just feel these things could be handled a lot more efficiently and shouldn't go up at the rate they are. Do I have the answers NO but the problem isn't the answers, its the politics. And that seemingly is the problem with everything which makes me lean more to the conclusion the more government the worse things will be.

I think we should "get into politics" in this case, especially since we are being so directly affected by this administration. This is not some abstract ideology or rhetoric you often hear from politicians that may or may not affect us--the actions of this president is making our lives much harder in a very real way! If this is not the time to get into politics, then it never will be.
The actions of this president has made my life and others I know easier.  I can now get health insurance privately.  I could not before.  There has not been an increase (beyond the average prior to his election) in any of my basic categories.  In fact, some have gone down.  Honestly, those probably have nothing to do with Pres. Obama but neither does this.

MustachianAccountant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
  • Age: 41
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2014, 11:51:25 AM »
Unplug the wall warts (toaster, microwave etc & bla bla bla - I think that's what you meant????)

Nope. Wall Warts are those chunky plugs that make it harder to plug something else in. Usually a charger of some sort, because they convert AC to DC. Like this random image I found on Google: http://www.horrorseek.com/home/halloween/wolfstone/Power/powwal_WallWart.jpg
This would also include an in-line "brick," like laptop power cords have. These all draw power as long as they're plugged in, though newer ones tend to draw less power. Sometimes this is called "phantom drain."

From MustachianAccountant . . . .
Accountant . . . . what's included in the on, and on . . . ?  I'd be interested as we're always looking for new ways to reduce consumption.  We already . . .

I'm sure with a little searching, you can find threads discussing this. The big ones are heating/cooling, hot water, and large appliances (especially dryers and refrigerators). Most other things will shave a smaller percentage off your usage compared to those.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8766
  • Registered member
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2014, 12:23:21 PM »
Look carefully at your bill.  You will see a line item for extra energy tax on Obama haters

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2014, 12:29:43 PM »
Joe, it would help if we knew which utility services your home.  I am with Dominion Power and no, my electricity rate (10.5 c per KWh) has been pretty constant over time. Dominion is a very healthy utility and returns a solid 4% dividend, however the rate it charges is capped by the government so massive price swings like you describe are unlikely where I live.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, and my utility provider is Con Edison.

These are the historical rates according to Con Edison from 2003 through 2012.  They don't suggest a tripling in rates to that point. But damn, electricity is a lot more expensive in NY than VA, about 0.27 per KWh if I am reading it right.

http://www.coned.com/documents/average_monthly_electric_bills.pdf   

Was there a massive price spike after Sandy?

Cromacster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1696
  • Location: Minnesnowta
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2014, 12:48:59 PM »
You're missing the best part of the story though.  I heard that he only raised rates in Brooklyn, Pilsen (Chicago), and The Mission (SF) and left everyone else's alone.  It's because he hates hipsters.  It's true.  They said so on redstate.

Obama did this because he knows that group only uses electricity ironically.

randomstring

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2014, 01:29:59 PM »
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 01:37:29 PM by randomstring »

Bill76

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2014, 01:47:12 PM »
I work for an electric utility, so I can provide a little bit of insight as to how the billing works for most US people.  Some of y'all may be aware of this already, but some may not.

1.  There are two components to your bill.  First there is the base rate, which utilities charge to cover all their costs except fuel, plus a "reasonable rate of return" that is generally set by the state Public Service Commission.  A notable exception to this is TVA (and I think, WPA in Washington state), which set their own base rates.  The second component is the fuel adjustment charge, which is a straight pass-through of whatever the utility pays for fuel... coal, uranium, natural gas, etc.

2.  Most variations you see in the total rate are due to the fuel costs.  Gas costs peak at the height of winter, with a smaller peak in the summer.  The peak is bigger in winter because a lot of the country heats with gas.  As electric production has shifted more to natural gas over the last 15-20 years, people have seen even more seasonal volatility in their electric bills for this reason.  Expect it to get worse as we burn less coal and "cheap" natural gas becomes an even more dominant factor in your electric costs.

There might be other factors in play, such as tiered billing (i.e., charging more per kWh above a certain level of use) or time of use billing (i.e., charging more during peak demand periods each day).  But as I tell people around here all the time, when your bill goes up, it's either because you used more electricity or because the utility had to pay more for fuel.  And the utility doesn't make a dime off that fuel, so they are just as interested in minimizing that cost as you are.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2014, 02:04:07 PM »
So your conclusion was that Obama caused your local electric bill to triple because you saw him casually mention something on TV?  Even though the random bill that you site that would have little effect wasn't even passed?  That sounds entirely reasonable and well thought out.  I mean, obviously the President controls pretty much everything.  All he has to do is wave his magic wand and raise electric rates or make the economy hum again.

You're missing the best part of the story though.  I heard that he only raised rates in Brooklyn, Pilsen (Chicago), and The Mission (SF) and left everyone else's alone.  It's because he hates hipsters.  It's true.  They said so on redstate.

The president can and has signed executive orders to circumvents congress on the cap and trade issue. So, even though the law was not formally passed (?), the net effect of Obama's executive orders are the same as it it had been passed. So, to answer your sarcastic comment, YES, the president has tremendous authority to directly affect your life, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
Also, electric bills have risen dramatically nationwide, according to many people I have spoken to and read about. That's a fact.
What I am not sure about is what is the cause of this increase in energy costs?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 02:27:32 PM by joer1212 »

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5078
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2014, 02:10:56 PM »
I think the NY Post article and Bill's explanation account for the spike.  If a plant was down, peaker plants may have been called on to fill the gap.  The cost of running those or buying their power is very high.

Nukes, anyone?

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2014, 02:11:31 PM »
because the utility had to pay more for fuel.

Yes, and I'm wondering why might the utility company pay more for fuel. Cap and trade (by Obama's own admission) would cause rates to skyrocket (which they have).
The tiered pricing thresholds seems like a reasonable contributing factor to higher bills, but my energy use has not varied for years.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2014, 02:13:49 PM »
Quote
The libertarian in me says if you were really angry, you would move to New Hampshire or Vermont and build/buy an energy efficient home that's off the grid and not worry about obama or cap and trade.

I might do this once I retire in about 8 years, but for now I simply can't because of my job. I am using the money I'm making to invest aggressively and build a nest egg.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2014, 02:20:16 PM »
Quote
It's hard to answer that question (as sarcastic as it may be) without any details. Do you hang your laundry to dry?
Do you have electric hot water? How much hot water do you use?
Do you hand wash dishes, or use a dishwasher?
Are 100% of the lightbulbs in your house LED bulbs?
Do you turn lights off when you leave the room?
Do you leave your computer on all the time?
How much TV do you watch?
What appliances/devices do you have that are "always on"?
How many "wall warts" do you leave plugged in all the time?
and on, and on....
I do most of these things (as I always have) to minimize my electricity bills. That still doesn't explain how it is that I used to regularly get $23-$28/month bills about two years ago, and now they hover around $55-$70/month.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 02:28:45 PM by joer1212 »

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5078
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2014, 02:21:04 PM »
Utilities contract for natural gas and attempt to hedge costs.  I don't think anyone anticipated this cold of a winter, and Con Ed probably had to go to the current market to obtain enough fuel, or if they operate in an exchange, to buy the power.  Look at the poor people that heat directly with propane.  Prices are more than double what they were and supplies are short.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2014, 02:22:43 PM »
Quote
The actions of this president has made my life and others I know easier.  I can now get health insurance privately.  I could not before.  There has not been an increase (beyond the average prior to his election) in any of my basic categories.  In fact, some have gone down.  Honestly, those probably have nothing to do with Pres. Obama but neither does this.


Not me or anyone else I know. This president's policies have directly caused hardships on us.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 02:29:17 PM by joer1212 »

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2014, 02:25:47 PM »
Look carefully at your bill.  You will see a line item for extra energy tax on Obama haters

I don't hate this guy because his name is Obama; I hate Obama because of his actions.
And, no, I'm not a Republican, nor a Democrat. I just call it as I see it.

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3927
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2014, 02:29:53 PM »
The president can and has signed executive orders to circumvents congress on the cap and trade issue. So, even though the law was not formally passed (?), the net effect of Obama's executive orders are the same as it it had been passed.

I'll bite.

What executive order(s) do this? They're all on whitehouse.gov by date.

Cromacster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1696
  • Location: Minnesnowta
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2014, 02:33:08 PM »
You're missing the best part of the story though.  I heard that he only raised rates in Brooklyn, Pilsen (Chicago), and The Mission (SF) and left everyone else's alone.  It's because he hates hipsters.  It's true.  They said so on redstate.

Obama did this because he knows that group only uses electricity ironically.

Seems a bit illogical. If I were going to mess with the energy economy, I'd want to punish people who didn't vote for me. Has anyone checked energy prices in, idk, Alabama? Spiking them in NYC is very much shooting yourself in the foot for a Democrat... =D

Where'd I put my sarcasm horn?....Oh here it is #HonkHonk

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5078
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2014, 02:33:34 PM »
All politicians are arrogant, self serving jerks that sold their souls to the devil long before they ascended to any real power.  If we can stipulate that and move on, we can get to the reason for the increase in the electric bill.  Which is likely the unanticipated cost of the fuel or the power, which the utility is allowed to pass on to the users per the regulators.

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2014, 02:36:12 PM »
I don't think solar panels would be cost efficient. Not if it takes nearly 2 decades to recoup the costs, and by then you have to replace them, anyway. That's called breaking even in my book. And the additional hassle of purchasing and installing these things would be a pain-in-the-ass. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the info I've been getting from some people.
Even if solar panels were cost efficient, would they be as reliable and care-free as the electricity provided by the utility companies?

this seems really arbitrarily pessimistic. where did you get the "2 decades" number? is it conceivable that solar would be cost efficient for Greg, but not for you? I live in OK where it is sunny as hell most of the time, and if the BF and I ever buy a house here we are definitely going to run the numbers on solar!

as for being "reliable and care-free" as utility-provided electricity... do you realize what forum you're on? is riding your bike as "reliable and care-free" as driving a late-model car? is DIY home reno as "reliable and care-free" as hiring a general contractor? no, but these things save you a fuck ton of money so you can achieve financial freedom, which is the whole point. that just struck me as a weird/out-of-place/complainypants statement, as did the following:

What am I supposed to do, rub two stones together and light some candles? How can I not depend on electricity when I live in a major city like Brooklyn? My job is here, my family is here, so it's not like I can just leave and move to the North Pole and live like an Eskimo, not that I'd want to, anyway.

anyway, moving on:

The president can and has signed executive orders to circumvents congress on the cap and trade issue. So, even though the law was not formally passed (?), the net effect of Obama's executive orders are the same as it it had been passed.

I'll bite.

What executive order(s) do this? They're all on whitehouse.gov by date.

I am also wondering (and seriously not trying to be an ass or be sarcastic, just trying to get informed)... what executive orders have there been specific to cap and trade? what system do we now have in place? I feel like this is important and I should know about it. (also I feel like I would have heard more people at work bitch about it, since I work in the fossil fuel industry, but who knows, I miss out on plenty of things...)

Also, electric bills have risen dramatically nationwide, according to many people I have spoken to and read about. That's a fact.
What I am not sure about is what is the cause of this increase in energy costs?

I'm guessing you have already thought of this and are referring specifically to $/KWH costs rather than "electric bills", but personally, my electric bill has skyrocketed this year because it's been cold as fuck. I actually made a pretty cool chart showing my average daily KWH usage for the last 12+ months in conjunction with the number of heating degree days/cooling degree days, because I also am upset with my bills/usage.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2014, 02:41:42 PM »
So your conclusion was that Obama caused your local electric bill to triple because you saw him casually mention something on TV?  Even though the random bill that you site that would have little effect wasn't even passed?  That sounds entirely reasonable and well thought out.  I mean, obviously the President controls pretty much everything.  All he has to do is wave his magic wand and raise electric rates or make the economy hum again.

You're missing the best part of the story though.  I heard that he only raised rates in Brooklyn, Pilsen (Chicago), and The Mission (SF) and left everyone else's alone.  It's because he hates hipsters.  It's true.  They said so on redstate.

The president can and has signed executive orders to circumvents congress on the cap and trade issue. So, even though the law was not formally passed (?), the net effect of Obama's executive orders are the same as it it had been passed.

Do you have a source for this?  I googled around a little, including "Cap and trade executive order" and "Obama cap and trade executive order" and haven't been able to find a single reputable news article.  There is one from infowars though.  So there's that.  Therefore, my conclusion is that you should read this post:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/10/07/how-big-is-your-circle-of-control/


gecko10x

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
    • SawyerPF
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2014, 02:48:46 PM »
[I have NOT read the full thread]

Isn't Con Edison the utility that lost a power generation facility from a hurricane a couple years ago? I recall reading that it was going to cause major issues for them and their customers. Maybe that's why your rates tripled.

FYI, I'm with MonPower. Mine haven't budged AFAIK.

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2014, 02:50:50 PM »
This sort of reminds me of the ammunition shortage that occurred shortly after the November 2012 elections. Some folks were certain the gubmint was behind it, and some of these same folks were hoarding ammunition in fear of new gun laws being enacted. The ammunition shortage was in fact caused by a huge spike in demand from consumers and a reluctance on the part of ammunition suppliers to ramp up production, as they knew full well the surge in demand would not last. After a while prices returned to normal levels, but some folks still think the gubmint was responsible.

Joe, respectfully, I think your arguments are a stretch. There is no shortage of fracking for natural gas in the US, in point of fact the US is undergoing an energy boom not seen in quite a long time thanks to new drilling technologies. We are at the end of a very unseasonably cold winter however, and demand for natural gas has spiked accordingly.  Add in the local nuke going offline for a few days....

http://nypost.com/2014/02/09/power-price-spike-for-nysers-on-con-ed-bills-in-middle-of-winter/

Unless Obama has prevented the expansion of fracking, sabotaged a nuclear plant, and somehow brought the polar vortex down upon his base of blue states then I just don't see the link between him and the unfortunately higher power bill New Yorkers (and damn near all of us on the East Coast) are paying.

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2014, 02:54:49 PM »
I work for an electric utility, so I can provide a little bit of insight as to how the billing works for most US people.  Some of y'all may be aware of this already, but some may not.

1.  There are two components to your bill.  First there is the base rate, which utilities charge to cover all their costs except fuel, plus a "reasonable rate of return" that is generally set by the state Public Service Commission.  A notable exception to this is TVA (and I think, WPA in Washington state), which set their own base rates.  The second component is the fuel adjustment charge, which is a straight pass-through of whatever the utility pays for fuel... coal, uranium, natural gas, etc.

2.  Most variations you see in the total rate are due to the fuel costs.  Gas costs peak at the height of winter, with a smaller peak in the summer.  The peak is bigger in winter because a lot of the country heats with gas.  As electric production has shifted more to natural gas over the last 15-20 years, people have seen even more seasonal volatility in their electric bills for this reason.  Expect it to get worse as we burn less coal and "cheap" natural gas becomes an even more dominant factor in your electric costs.

There might be other factors in play, such as tiered billing (i.e., charging more per kWh above a certain level of use) or time of use billing (i.e., charging more during peak demand periods each day).  But as I tell people around here all the time, when your bill goes up, it's either because you used more electricity or because the utility had to pay more for fuel.  And the utility doesn't make a dime off that fuel, so they are just as interested in minimizing that cost as you are.

Good info here Bill, thanks for sharing.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8766
  • Registered member
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #47 on: February 25, 2014, 03:11:09 PM »
Look carefully at your bill.  You will see a line item for extra energy tax on Obama haters

I don't hate this guy because his name is Obama; I hate Obama because of his actions.
And, no, I'm not a Republican, nor a Democrat. I just call it as I see it.

^this guy argues seriously about whether a fictional energy tax on Obama haters applies to him because he doesn't hate all Obamas, just one particular Obama.

And the answer is yes, the tax still applies.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2014, 03:27:33 PM »
My electric bill has nearly tripled in the past couple of years, but my electricity use has not increased.
Has anyone else noticed this?
What might be the cause?
I strongly suspect that Obama's cap-and-trade policy might be the culprit. He even admitted himself that "energy bills would necessarily skyrocket under my plan".
I don't think he actually got this law officially passed, but it seems that he's using his executive powers to circumvent congress and implement this policy, anyway, causing energy rates to increase dramatically for the average person. 
This son-of-a-bitch has been a nightmare for me (as a mustachian struggling to cut expenses) since he was sworn into office.
From skyrocketing health insurance premiums (whose purchase is now mandatory), to rising credit card rates and electricity bills, this has been the absolute worst president in my lifetime. I have never seen a politician's actions affect me so directly.

I'll grant you that Obama seems bent on taking away the frugal lifestyle option, but I don't think he's got anything directly to do with your electric expenses.  Mine have stayed basically the same for years, so it doesn't look like there's anything on the national level driving prices up.

joer1212

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Why has my electric bill skyrocketed?
« Reply #49 on: February 25, 2014, 05:21:42 PM »
Look carefully at your bill.  You will see a line item for extra energy tax on Obama haters

I don't hate this guy because his name is Obama; I hate Obama because of his actions.
And, no, I'm not a Republican, nor a Democrat. I just call it as I see it.

^this guy argues seriously about whether a fictional energy tax on Obama haters applies to him because he doesn't hate all Obamas, just one particular Obama.

And the answer is yes, the tax still applies.

I'm not arguing seriously about that. I'm addressing the implication that I somehow 'hate Obama', and that I had a axe to grind to begin with & that's why I'm complaining.
NO.
I'm complaining because I have seen my electric bill skyrocket for no apparent reason. The only plausible explanation I can think of is-- and that I have heard a lot discussed on the news, talk radio, etc--is that Obama's executive orders have caused this. Again, I'm not 100% sure it is the reason. That's why I came here to ask.