Author Topic: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100  (Read 20227 times)

dontwannaworkforever

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Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« on: December 12, 2015, 04:56:22 PM »
For some people this is a lot easier but I'm gonna set myself a lofty goal here. I live in a place right now (moving back to United States in 6 months) where electricity is fairly expensive. The climate is hot and humid year around. I don't know the exact Watts of things but I just got done reading around about how to reduce electricity on this blog. For those who accomplished this already good on ya! I am a family of 3 (spouse and son).

Our past 3 electricity bills:

9/30/2015: $186.77
10/30/2015: $205.62
11/29/2015: $254.53

I don't know exactly why it has been rising lately. I haven't tracked it honestly. When I get my next bill I can get into more detail. I'm looking to keep this thread alive until I reach my goal :) Some things I am doing now and what I plan on doing:

* I typically only use AC at night and just use fans on in the house.
* I just recently started using cold water on my washer instead of warm.
* I thought about cutting off the water heat? But I don't wanna take cold showers...I think I can just suck this up though. My wife already takes pretty cold showers dunno how she does this lol.
* Cutting out dryer use. I wanna start hanging clothes outside; this one is harder to get my spouse on board with.
* Our rented house mostly has the good flourescent lights; however, the bathrooms still have the old inefficient bulbs.

Can't think of anything else right now but this is a start.


« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 04:59:29 PM by dontwannaworkforever »

sol

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2015, 05:08:38 PM »
Break out your usage.  Most utilities charge something like $10-15 for a "connection fee" just to have access to power, even if you don't use any.  Then actual consumption is typically between 8 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Around here, houses with electric heat typically use about twice the power as houses with gas heat, during the winter.  For a larger family, the dryer is usually at least 10% of power use all by itself so cutting that out will help.  LED bulbs will help a little, but generally much less per year than you will spend on them up front. 

My solution?  $32k of solar panels generated $9k in tax rebates, $30k in incentive payments over six years, and then reduced my power bill down to about negative $25 per month.  So they pay me $25/mo for the excess power I generate, which in practice just means my power is free and then they knock $25 off of my water bill since water and power are the same company here.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 05:55:55 PM by sol »

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2015, 05:33:04 PM »
Break out your usage.  Most utilities charge something like $10-15 for a "connection fee" just to have access to power, even if you don't use any.  Then actual consumption is typically between 8 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Around here, houses with electric heat typically use about twice the power as houses with as heat, during the winter.  For a larger family, the dryer is usually at least 10% of power use all by itself so cutting that out will help.  LED bulbs will help a little, but generally much less per year than you will spend on them up front. 

My solution?  $32k of solar panels generated $9k in tax rebates, $30k in incentive payments over six years, and then reduced my power bill down to about negative $25 per month.  So they pay me $25/mo for the excess power I generate, which in practice just means my power is free and then they knock $25 off of my water bill since water and power are the same company here.

Nice! Solar panels aren't an option for me but if I owned a home I would surely consider it. I'm moving to the United States in 6 months and looking for apartments.

When I get my next bill in, I will post a picture of it. I didn't keep a copy of my last bill and the bills are not kept online.

Money Badger

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2015, 09:22:17 PM »
FWIW, I work in the utility industry and with those amounts, here's a few ideas:

- Get the furnace checked.   The September number for winter heating already seemed higher than it should.   Is a thermostat in a bad place or ducts not fully open and circulating properly?   Generally, closing vents in rooms backfires on heating bills as cold air is sucked into the static air intakes and costs more to cool as it hits the furnace.  If the HVAC was done right, let it breathe!

- air leaks!   Look everywhere in the attic area especially and door sills.    I buy cheap softer type of rope at Lowe's and use as weather stripping in the window jams in the winter.   Cuts drafts and costs a fraction of weather stripping they sell for $5-$10 a window.   A whole coil of rope is only $15 or so and does the window sashes on the whole house.

- How are the ovens used int he kitchen?   Can you use a small toaster oven more?   After air conditioning, ovens, clothes dryers and fridges are energy pigs.

- Is the dishwasher "heat dry" cycle used?   That sucks down kilowatts if used every time.   

- Is the water heater electric?   When was the last time it was checked to make sure all the heater elements are working?   Generally there are 2 elements and one may be dead, causing the other one to work overtime.   A simple voltmeter on the unit will tell usually.

- Check the fridge.   Check airflow and vacuum the heat coils underneath and clear any obstacles in front of vent holes on the front or back of the unit.   Can you improve airflow underneath by pulling out from the wall a couple of inches?

- Ask family for LED bulbs for Christmas/holiday presents instead of other junk.    Receive the gift of savings!

- If the house is electric for heat, water heater and/or stove/oven, check with your utility to receive an "all electric" discount.   Ours give those discounts if you don't use natural gas (or only 1 thing is gas maybe).

Hope at least one of these makes a difference for ya!

v8rx7guy

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2015, 09:58:08 PM »
Our electric bill ranges from $60-$70/mo so we got this one covered :).

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2015, 02:38:09 AM »
FWIW, I work in the utility industry and with those amounts, here's a few ideas:

- Get the furnace checked.   The September number for winter heating already seemed higher than it should.   Is a thermostat in a bad place or ducts not fully open and circulating properly?   Generally, closing vents in rooms backfires on heating bills as cold air is sucked into the static air intakes and costs more to cool as it hits the furnace.  If the HVAC was done right, let it breathe!

My rented house has no furnace. I live on a tropical island overseas so no need for heat here.

- air leaks!   Look everywhere in the attic area especially and door sills.    I buy cheap softer type of rope at Lowe's and use as weather stripping in the window jams in the winter.   Cuts drafts and costs a fraction of weather stripping they sell for $5-$10 a window.   A whole coil of rope is only $15 or so and does the window sashes on the whole house.

My rented house has no attics.

- How are the ovens used int he kitchen?   Can you use a small toaster oven more?   After air conditioning, ovens, clothes dryers and fridges are energy pigs.

Interesting. I never considered a toaster oven. We use the oven quite a bit. Perhaps it is worth the investment. I will look into this. I am moving to an apartment 6 months from now that may or may not have a toaster oven so I should consider this.

- Is the dishwasher "heat dry" cycle used?   That sucks down kilowatts if used every time.   

I do not have a dishwasher. I wish I did I hate doing dishes lol. so does my wife. Its our collectively lazy chore.

- Is the water heater electric?   When was the last time it was checked to make sure all the heater elements are working?   Generally there are 2 elements and one may be dead, causing the other one to work overtime.   A simple voltmeter on the unit will tell usually.

Thanks for this advice. Wife and I decided to turn off the water heater anyhow. I will be getting used to cold showers. We only going to turn it on temporarily when our son needs a bath.

- Check the fridge.   Check airflow and vacuum the heat coils underneath and clear any obstacles in front of vent holes on the front or back of the unit.   Can you improve airflow underneath by pulling out from the wall a couple of inches?

I have never cleaned under my fridge.... :/ I will need to do this. Never in the world would I have thought about it.

- Ask family for LED bulbs for Christmas/holiday presents instead of other junk.    Receive the gift of savings!

Perhaps I should be sending them LED bulbs...My house is good with bulbs actually.

- If the house is electric for heat, water heater and/or stove/oven, check with your utility to receive an "all electric" discount.   Ours give those discounts if you don't use natural gas (or only 1 thing is gas maybe).

Interesting....will have to check on this one.

Hope at least one of these makes a difference for ya!

Thank you for this post. I put my responses in bold. I'm gonna check out the fridge airflow in just a minute or so.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2015, 02:38:49 AM »
Our electric bill ranges from $60-$70/mo so we got this one covered :).

Congrats. I hope to get to this point soon enough. I will be updating this thread with my next electrical bill when the day comes.

Kroaler

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2015, 04:09:17 AM »
Building envelope!  My house was built in 2007 to code but a recent blower door test revealed I have leaks the equivalent of an open window!       Go after those air leaks,  my biggest hitters were on the ceiling at every 90 degree intersection of sheetrock.  I believe it's called topdeck?     Also on the baseboards around the perimeter of the home.      The ductwork tested good except at the return ( the most important place imo), wasn't sealed well.       I'm gonna get those things corrected + more insulation and see where that takes me.

johnny847

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2015, 06:51:25 PM »
Hmm....

I'm averaging 220 kWh which is approximately $35/month here. I'm in a 600 sq ft apartment.

Barely use A/C. Heat and stove/oven are gas.


Have you run around your house with a Kill A Watt? Some public libraries have them to borrow.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2015, 09:37:24 PM »
I get billed quarterly. The service charge alone is about $100. My last bill was $270, which covered winter. Aiming for under $200 next bill.

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Goldielocks

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2015, 10:28:26 PM »
Probably doesn't apply to you, but if you have a home business or renovating, power tools, like electric saws draw a lot of power, enough to be noticeable on a monthly electric bill.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2015, 04:05:05 AM »
Hmm....

I'm averaging 220 kWh which is approximately $35/month here. I'm in a 600 sq ft apartment.

Barely use A/C. Heat and stove/oven are gas.


Have you run around your house with a Kill A Watt? Some public libraries have them to borrow.


Had to google what "Kill A Watt" was. Very interesting....I will have to get a hold of one of these.

Edit: And Done! I'm getting this for Christmas and "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook". Thanks to my wife. 2016 is shaping up to be excellent. Very motivated lately.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 05:21:27 AM by dontwannaworkforever »

johnny847

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2015, 04:14:15 PM »
Hmm....

I'm averaging 220 kWh which is approximately $35/month here. I'm in a 600 sq ft apartment.

Barely use A/C. Heat and stove/oven are gas.


Have you run around your house with a Kill A Watt? Some public libraries have them to borrow.


Had to google what "Kill A Watt" was. Very interesting....I will have to get a hold of one of these.

Edit: And Done! I'm getting this for Christmas and "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook". Thanks to my wife. 2016 is shaping up to be excellent. Very motivated lately.

Nice.

Yeah it's hard to lower your electric bill when you don't know what your main power hogs are ;)


While I don't have any power hogs, I learned that one of my computer monitors draws 10W even when turned off. So I unplug it, not because 10W is going to make a huge difference but god dammit I'm annoyed that a device still draws power when off.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2015, 05:41:03 AM »
Still waiting on my electricity bill to come in so I can see any improvements. I'm not sure what the kilowatt $ is in my area but it will tell me on my bill. My Kill-A-Watt came in from Amazon today and I did a running around on my house to check on some things that intrigued me. I found out that my computer/printer/and speakers hooked up to one of those multi-outlet boxes draws a constant 24.6 WATT. My TV/PS3/Gamecube, also hooked up to a multi-outlet box draws a constant 18.5 WATT even when not in use! Lastly, my house has 4 split AC Units and I found that each one draws 3.0 WATT even when not in use.

That is 55.1 today WATT. Realistically, I can turn off / unplug all of these at night and save ~20-25 WATT a day. how much money this saves me I'm not sure; I'll have to figure out the math when my utility bill comes in.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2015, 06:05:42 AM »
Done.



Drafty all-electric apartment with washer/dryer, ~800 sqft, two adults. $15 connection fee. The "other charges" column is sales tax.

Spring and Fall are far cheaper as we get by with minimal AC/heating.

zephyr911

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2015, 09:36:53 AM »
Averaging $60-80... less than $100 even before my small solar offset.
I've been thinking about adding some attic insulation to avoid the $180 average for last Jan/Feb, but the winter is running so mild that the time commitment hasn't seemed worth it. If you live farther north, that's usually the low-hanging fruit....

snogirl

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2015, 09:53:30 AM »
My power company here in Vermont gives weekly summaries.
I average about $55 a month.


dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2015, 09:23:02 PM »
Some of you guys are on top!

Paul der Krake: Nice man. I can't wait to be there.

Okay so my electric bill came in and it looks like I got some more work to do. I dropped my bill from $254.53 to $219.78 (13.65% reduction). My bill came in at $219.78! :( So while I'm still quite a bit off from my goal, I did see some small improvement (and its important to note I started making my changes in the middle of a billing period and not right from the get-go.

Anyway. I wanted to post my bill so you guys can chime in and see some things....I really wanna know what a "fuel recovery charge" is because that is baffling.


v8rx7guy

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2015, 09:50:20 PM »
You are getting killed on whatever that "fuel recovery" charge is! What is it.  Fyi, you mentioned 55W saved by unplugging those devices. That is 0.055 kW which means plugged in for 24 hours is 1.32 kW or about $0.10/day based on you $0.07/kW-hr rate on the bill. So while that might be helpful... thats definitely not the problem.

david51

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2015, 10:32:30 PM »
Last electric bill was 15$
Gas was 12$

sol

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2015, 10:39:13 PM »
Where do you live, OP?  One of your posts above mentions "tropical island" which may hep explain the "fuel recovery charge" on your bill.

Your regular power costs look about normal, 7 to 8 cents per killowatt-hour.  That's very similar to what we pay, though on our bill it's broken up about 50/50 between power costs and "transmission" costs which seems to be pretty meaningless.

But then you're getting charged an extra 10 cents per kWh on top of that for that fuel charge, which is killing you.  That's like Hawaii level pricing right there.  Lots of places like that really gouge you on power because their only local electricity source comes from burning oil that has to come in on oil tankers, so the price goes through the roof.  The "fuel charge" is just the cost of the oil they used to make your power, and they pass that cost straight through to customers so the fuel charge varies wildly with the current price of fuel, and they get to collect a more steady revenue stream for the actual power generation/transmission service they provide in the form of the "per kWh" charge you see on your bill.  In most places like this (islands), solar panels make a lot of sense.

How many people are you supporting for that 1100 kWh per month?  Before solar panels, my family of five never used that much power in a 1650 sqft house with all electric appliances.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 10:53:39 PM by sol »

sol

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2015, 10:47:29 PM »
You are getting killed on whatever that "fuel recovery" charge is! What is it.  Fyi, you mentioned 55W saved by unplugging those devices. That is 0.055 kW which means plugged in for 24 hours is 1.32 kW or about $0.10/day based on you $0.07/kW-hr rate on the bill. So while that might be helpful... thats definitely not the problem.

If I'm reading his bill right, he's paying more like 19 cents per kWh.  55W plugged in for 24 hours a day is about 40 kWh per month out of his total usage of 1100, which is saving him less than $10/month. 

That's why I can't figure out where he's getting 1100 kWh/mo from.  That's a huge amount of power, like 1500 watts running 24/7.  Unless he's running central air 24/7, I'm confused by that amount of draw. 

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2015, 11:02:36 PM »
You are getting killed on whatever that "fuel recovery" charge is! What is it.  Fyi, you mentioned 55W saved by unplugging those devices. That is 0.055 kW which means plugged in for 24 hours is 1.32 kW or about $0.10/day based on you $0.07/kW-hr rate on the bill. So while that might be helpful... thats definitely not the problem.

If I'm reading his bill right, he's paying more like 19 cents per kWh.  55W plugged in for 24 hours a day is about 40 kWh per month out of his total usage of 1100, which is saving him less than $10/month. 

That's why I can't figure out where he's getting 1100 kWh/mo from.  That's a huge amount of power, like 1500 watts running 24/7.  Unless he's running central air 24/7, I'm confused by that amount of draw.

Hey Sol thanks for the response. I live in Guam but will be moving back to the United States next Summer. Your explanation of "fuel recovery charge" makes a lot of sense....if that is true then it seems like there isn't much I can do about that?

I am not running central air 24/7. I have split AC units and only use them at night or sometimes in the evening if I have guests coming over. So that is making me wonder where the power is coming from. I went room and room and did an analysis....only thing I can think of is my fridge, oven, or water heater is putting out a lot more power then it should. I'm determined to figure this out though.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 11:04:55 PM by dontwannaworkforever »

Goldielocks

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2015, 12:50:53 AM »

Hey Sol thanks for the response. I live in Guam but will be moving back to the United States next Summer. Your explanation of "fuel recovery charge" makes a lot of sense....if that is true then it seems like there isn't much I can do about that?

I am not running central air 24/7. I have split AC units and only use them at night or sometimes in the evening if I have guests coming over. So that is making me wonder where the power is coming from. I went room and room and did an analysis....only thing I can think of is my fridge, oven, or water heater is putting out a lot more power then it should. I'm determined to figure this out though.

Fuel recovery charge is for every kwh you use, so any reduction on kwh is dramatically reducing your costs.  19 cents per KWH will pay for a lot of conservation and solar panels....

Maybe try turning off your water heater for a month, and see if that makes a difference?  Kill the breaker for it at the panel.  in Guam, the water should not be too terribly cold out of the tap, anyway....  maybe you have a short in the tank system...

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2015, 04:58:39 AM »

Hey Sol thanks for the response. I live in Guam but will be moving back to the United States next Summer. Your explanation of "fuel recovery charge" makes a lot of sense....if that is true then it seems like there isn't much I can do about that?

I am not running central air 24/7. I have split AC units and only use them at night or sometimes in the evening if I have guests coming over. So that is making me wonder where the power is coming from. I went room and room and did an analysis....only thing I can think of is my fridge, oven, or water heater is putting out a lot more power then it should. I'm determined to figure this out though.

Fuel recovery charge is for every kwh you use, so any reduction on kwh is dramatically reducing your costs.  19 cents per KWH will pay for a lot of conservation and solar panels....

Maybe try turning off your water heater for a month, and see if that makes a difference?  Kill the breaker for it at the panel.  in Guam, the water should not be too terribly cold out of the tap, anyway....  maybe you have a short in the tank system...

Done. I started doing this about 2 weeks ago. The water isn't too cold and even if it is there are some health benefits of a cold shower I have read about.

MayDay

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2015, 08:57:22 AM »
We battle this at our house. Our usage is below average for a US family. But we have one of the highest rates in the US. Our utility (AEP) is super expensive. And they just got approval to add another charge to our bill for a power plant that went bankrupt :(

Ours hovers around 100/month. No a/c in that number, and gas stove. Electric fridge, dishwasher, clothes dryer (we rarely use the dryer). All cfl and led bulbs.

One thing I want to tackle is better organization of computer and TV cords so we can flip off the whole power strip. Cleaning under/behind the fridge is also on my list.

jim555

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2015, 05:55:49 PM »
I averaged $50 a month over the last year, including the summer.  Helps to be in a 1 br condo.  I get a $5.50 a month break on my rate due to low income.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2015, 07:04:03 AM »
Following for ideas. Ours is usually 125-150.
I shut off the central air last wednesday, but it has been in the 70s here so no hero.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2016, 01:55:01 AM »
Some of you guys are on top!

Paul der Krake: Nice man. I can't wait to be there.

Okay so my electric bill came in and it looks like I got some more work to do. I dropped my bill from $254.53 to $219.78 (13.65% reduction). My bill came in at $219.78! :( So while I'm still quite a bit off from my goal, I did see some small improvement (and its important to note I started making my changes in the middle of a billing period and not right from the get-go.

Anyway. I wanted to post my bill so you guys can chime in and see some things....I really wanna know what a "fuel recovery charge" is because that is baffling.



Well thank you guys since making this thread. We have made vast improvements. I wanted to update this thread since my last electricity bill in this thread and I got her down pretty good! From $219.78 to $167.20!

The next level up for me is to stop dryer use and hang my clothes outside...but my spouse isn't necessarily on the board with "extremism" as she like to say. She is however much more motivated to make lifestyle changes as we have just proved it is possible even on a high cost of living island... So what I might do as a compromise is to simply use my dryer on a "low heat" setting for a while and see how that changes my bill. I think the biggest thing that dropped my bill was not using heat for washing clothes; I put it on "tap cold" and through in a dryer sheet to clean. I also bought some energy saving shower heads for $10 (turns out it was worth the investment).



« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 01:57:48 AM by dontwannaworkforever »

zephyr911

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2016, 11:27:25 AM »
Mine has generally stayed under $100 except in peak heat/cold. But it was $117 last month even with 3kW of solar panels and us doing our best to minimize heating... so I had an energy audit done yesterday. Turns out our 30-yo house isn't terrible, but it's worse than I thought.
So, I'm going to suck it up and get a few light fixtures replaced, and DIY some more insulation... the windows may wait till fall, but I'll at least wrap/tape them for now.

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2016, 07:54:56 AM »
Are you sure your neighbour isnt running a grow-op off your meter?  If not, your electric co. may be.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2016, 09:44:03 AM »
So for the last billing period of 28 days, we've used 488 KWH ($61), which isn't bad at all considering how cold it's been in the Carolinas.

It looks like my methodical cramming of plastic bags around the windows has paid off some, the apartment feels less drafty than it did last year. We also got an electric bed cover from my MIL for Christmas, and my wife loves it. You sleep on it, as opposed to an electric blanket that rests on top you. I was skeptical at first, but now I credit it for allowing me to lower the apartment temperature at night without causing marital strife.

Larabeth

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2016, 04:36:25 AM »
We're moving into a house next month, so I'm going to use this thread as inspiration to start out at less than $100/mo!!

HenryDavid

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2016, 08:09:17 AM »
Done.
Most of our electricity bill is fixed charges ($35 Cdn.) Consumption averages 260 kwh/month which is about $21 Cdn. 8 cents/kwh at the moment.
In a 1400 sq foot house, 2 people, often COLD in winter (Calgary!) but no need for AC ever.
Most of this is the furnace fan in winter, I estimate. Modern EnergyStar fridge, CFC and LED bulbs, good insulation and windows, next to no clothes dryer use. No use of the dry cycle on the dishwasher (because, those dishes were just rinsed in boiling water. They dry in 2 minutes.) A TV that's about 32" (?) big, an old school hifi with a turntable. Coupla computers. A block heater on our one vehicle, some nights. A pond heater for the fish under the ice on a backyard pond. Electric guitars and keyboards. Seems like extravagant electricity use to me!
But we're signing up for renewably generated local power anyhow.

JLee

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2016, 08:24:38 AM »
I moved a few months ago and am renting my house to friends- we just finished moving all the utilities out of my name, so now my electric bill is gone. Does that count? :P

acroy

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2016, 08:52:14 AM »
Here is mine - $77
2k sq ft house, 8 pople in the house.
Gas heat/water
This is winter, so elec is just lights/general use, not cooling.
We burn 23-24kw/day winter and double/triple that in summer.
In winter that's 1000W going 24/7, seems like a huge amount. I've done everything I reasonably can. Pretty high background load just from nightlights, water heater control panel, doorbell, fire alarms, internet, etc etc etc.
Big user is electric dryer.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2016, 04:36:18 AM »
I moved a few months ago and am renting my house to friends- we just finished moving all the utilities out of my name, so now my electric bill is gone. Does that count? :P

Sure it can count! :)

Just recently I finally cleaned out under my fridge and I adjusted my water heater from 125 degrees to 90 degrees. Its cool because I know I am saving money and my shower is still warm enough. I am also using the dryer on the "low-heat" setting when drying clothes (I should start hanging them; just can't get spouse on board with this....) and I'm being more vigilant when unplugging things.

Soon I was be presented with a unique opportunity because my wife is taking a vacation for a whole month to her home country so I'm left alone for a month. I'm going to see just how far I can push it and get that sucker under $100. I'm hoping with such a loss electricity bill and a "lead by example" I can show my spouse it is possible and she'll be more motivated to go to more "extreme" measures. I put those in quotes because to me this isn't extreme or a sacrifice...I believe frugality is a honorable and intelligent trait to have.

johnny847

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2016, 08:33:04 AM »
I moved a few months ago and am renting my house to friends- we just finished moving all the utilities out of my name, so now my electric bill is gone. Does that count? :P

Sure it can count! :)

Just recently I finally cleaned out under my fridge and I adjusted my water heater from 125 degrees to 90 degrees. Its cool because I know I am saving money and my shower is still warm enough. I am also using the dryer on the "low-heat" setting when drying clothes (I should start hanging them; just can't get spouse on board with this....) and I'm being more vigilant when unplugging things.

Soon I was be presented with a unique opportunity because my wife is taking a vacation for a whole month to her home country so I'm left alone for a month. I'm going to see just how far I can push it and get that sucker under $100. I'm hoping with such a loss electricity bill and a "lead by example" I can show my spouse it is possible and she'll be more motivated to go to more "extreme" measures. I put those in quotes because to me this isn't extreme or a sacrifice...I believe frugality is a honorable and intelligent trait to have.

That's a great idea! Let us know how it goes =)

Bardo

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2016, 11:39:36 AM »
In the two years I've been in my current house I've had one month with an electricity bill in excess of $100, and that was in August because of A/C.  A lot of little fixes, such as insulating blinds and turning off the TV/DVD power strip on weekdays, but mainly the big saver is keeping away from the thermostat as much as possible.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2016, 02:08:23 AM »
Did it again guys. Another PR...this isn't even my final form. Its excellent to know that these things are achievable :) Now if I lived in the United States and didn't live on Guam then I know I could do it for sure! (its the fuel recovery charge that island residents get).

Really the only last things I can do are stop using power and maybe never watch so much TV (my tv draws 196 watt I think that is a lot?) or at least get a more energy efficient TV. But its a 55" that I got for $50....so I kinda like it.


johnny847

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2016, 08:15:19 AM »
Did it again guys. Another PR...this isn't even my final form. Its excellent to know that these things are achievable :) Now if I lived in the United States and didn't live on Guam then I know I could do it for sure! (its the fuel recovery charge that island residents get).

Really the only last things I can do are stop using power and maybe never watch so much TV (my tv draws 196 watt I think that is a lot?) or at least get a more energy efficient TV. But its a 55" that I got for $50....so I kinda like it.



HOLY CRAP your TV draws 196W???

Ok I'm calming down*. I looked up power consumption numbers on a couple of similarly sized TVs, and 196W isn't necessarily ridiculous. A 50" LED TV from Samsung is rated for a max power consumption of 143W. (But this is a maximum, and I don't know if your 196W is actually measured using a Kill A Watt or just the maximum from the spec).

Have you tried reducing the brightness and seeing how much less it draws? You're going to need a Kill A Watt to do that.
You could also try making the room in which your TV is in darker - close the curtains or something - to let you use a lower brightness.

*I don't own a TV, so my points of comparison are my computer monitors. My 23" LED monitor draws 16.1W at a reasonable brightness. Which if you assume perfect scaling, a 50" equivalent would draw 76W. But this is of course a monitor and not a TV, and perfect scaling never happens.

JLee

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2016, 08:01:29 PM »
Did it again guys. Another PR...this isn't even my final form. Its excellent to know that these things are achievable :) Now if I lived in the United States and didn't live on Guam then I know I could do it for sure! (its the fuel recovery charge that island residents get).

Really the only last things I can do are stop using power and maybe never watch so much TV (my tv draws 196 watt I think that is a lot?) or at least get a more energy efficient TV. But its a 55" that I got for $50....so I kinda like it.



HOLY CRAP your TV draws 196W???

Ok I'm calming down*. I looked up power consumption numbers on a couple of similarly sized TVs, and 196W isn't necessarily ridiculous. A 50" LED TV from Samsung is rated for a max power consumption of 143W. (But this is a maximum, and I don't know if your 196W is actually measured using a Kill A Watt or just the maximum from the spec).

Have you tried reducing the brightness and seeing how much less it draws? You're going to need a Kill A Watt to do that.
You could also try making the room in which your TV is in darker - close the curtains or something - to let you use a lower brightness.

*I don't own a TV, so my points of comparison are my computer monitors. My 23" LED monitor draws 16.1W at a reasonable brightness. Which if you assume perfect scaling, a 50" equivalent would draw 76W. But this is of course a monitor and not a TV, and perfect scaling never happens.

A 55" TV for $50 almost certainly isn't LED (or LCD, for that matter).  I think my 60" LED TV pulls 75-90w.

Lski'stash

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2016, 08:12:59 PM »
I got that- but we are in Michigan.

I do think the LED bulbs make a difference. Also- we bought a Nest thermostat to control the temperature. It paid for itself within the first three of our bills.

johnny847

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2016, 09:26:37 PM »
HOLY CRAP your TV draws 196W???

Ok I'm calming down*. I looked up power consumption numbers on a couple of similarly sized TVs, and 196W isn't necessarily ridiculous. A 50" LED TV from Samsung is rated for a max power consumption of 143W. (But this is a maximum, and I don't know if your 196W is actually measured using a Kill A Watt or just the maximum from the spec).

Have you tried reducing the brightness and seeing how much less it draws? You're going to need a Kill A Watt to do that.
You could also try making the room in which your TV is in darker - close the curtains or something - to let you use a lower brightness.

*I don't own a TV, so my points of comparison are my computer monitors. My 23" LED monitor draws 16.1W at a reasonable brightness. Which if you assume perfect scaling, a 50" equivalent would draw 76W. But this is of course a monitor and not a TV, and perfect scaling never happens.

A 55" TV for $50 almost certainly isn't LED (or LCD, for that matter).  I think my 60" LED TV pulls 75-90w.

Haha whoops missed that part.

dontwannaworkforever

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2016, 01:19:41 AM »
Today my wife is visiting her home country for a month before we move back to the United States.

This has given me a unique opportunity to try to live my life a little differently and its been something I have planned on for a while...

1.) I turned off my oven. I am going to make the vast majority of my meals either on my outside grill or crock pot. I have actually lost weight from 196 to 185 pounds since November. I started "intermittent fasting" a few days ago and I am making excellent progress. I hope to surprise my wife with another 10 more pounds lost ;)

2.) I turned off my dryer. I live on a tropical island...I'm going to utilize the free heat. I made a line outside. This should be fun as I don't see this as a chore but more like free exercise and just being able to get up from this computer that I hook myself on all day.

3.) I turned off my water heater. I already had it set low enough to where there was hardly any heat generated and I'm used to cold showers. Surprisingly my wife doesn't complain about this but I'm sure its because she is used to it.

4.) I shut off my TV/PS3/Cable Box. Time for me to explore new things and I got some books I'm trying to read. I never really used these all that much anyhow.

So there you have it. THIS should get me below $100. I will find out around end of March when my wife comes back.

I plan on showing her the power of simple living and gonna lead this one by example.

Wish me luck I'll keep you all updated.

johnny847

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2016, 07:38:23 AM »
Somebody may have mentioned this earlier but some devices still drain power even when off. Unless you have a kill a watt to measure it, the only way to be sure is to actually unplug it.

I've never tried to dry clothes outside in a humid environment but I wouldn't set your expectations too high for that one.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2016, 07:52:58 AM »
This was with me being gone for 2 weeks, hot water tank turned off for those two weeks.  I already have LED/CFL lighting, no dryer use except for flannelette sheets, etc.  Three bedroom house in Ontario in winter, a lot of the electricity is running the furnace fan.

Rural low density residential - the delivery charge is the killer.

Electricity: On-Peak: 94.3650 kWh @ 17.5000     $16.51
Electricity: Mid-Peak: 67.7688 kWh @ 12.8000      $8.67
Electricity: Off-Peak: 225.3654 kWh @ 8.3000     $18.71
Delivery                                                            $65.02
Regulatory Charges                                              $2.82
HST (87086-5821-RT0001)                                 $14.52

Total of your electricity charges                          $126.25

Bardo

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2016, 09:27:40 AM »
February electric bill:  $23.99. The highest it has been in the last year was $86 in August, because of air conditioning.


lithy

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2016, 11:22:56 AM »
...this isn't even my final form.

lol, nerd alert.

Congrats on the reduction in use.

I've been working to get our combined gas and electric below 100/month, right now we're sitting around 110-120 on an annual average basis.

Tigerpine

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Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2016, 02:06:22 PM »
Now that your wife is gone for a little while, why don't you try to spend a night without the AC?  It might not be as bad as you expect.

I keep my thermostat at 59 in the winter and in the 80's in the summer (when I have the AC on, that is).  My electric bill here in South Carolinian apartment is consistently $20-$25.  Maybe even just turning up the temperature a degree or two can give you noticeable results.

Also put things on a power strip so you can turn them off when you're not home/awake.  For example, I turn off my modem and router every night when I sleep or when I'm not home using them.