Wednesday, January 23, 2008

$340 electrical bill! Ouch!

For what ever freak reason, we have had many weeks of South winds, which leaves our wood stove inoperable. We just received our electrical bill for mid December to mid January. Over $340! Last year for the same period it was $188, which we thought was too high then. Ouch! Has your bill jumped this high this year?

19 comments:

Monica... Media Professional said...

We just got our first PG&E bill for the new apartment in Arcata and it's over $70.... this compared to the $20/month I'd been paying in my drafty Eureka apartment for the last 5+ years.
I haven't looked into it real far yet, but I did about have a heart attack when I saw the bill.

EkoVox said...

Mine jumped up nearly 30% also.

theotherme said...

ours was around $340 as well...we were so suprised that we called PGE. they said that they may have misread the meter. apparently thats not the problem......

theotherme said...

plus, we used quite a bit of wood during the same period(which, luckily was free). most of our charges were electricity, not gas....

Kym said...

I've been without an electric bill since the early 80's and I'm aghast! I thought $100 was horrible!

Carol said...

Ours was around $200 and up $36, but I think it was because of the Christmas lights.

Were you using electic heaters?

samoasoftball said...

Carol-Yes. Way too much I guess. But our house is really cold. Around 52 degrees without and 62 degrees running the heaters. We don't really get real warm in the house. The upstairs bathroom will be in the low 50's.

jason said...

My PGE bills rose about 30% above the previouse rolling average. I know part had to do with the unusually cold temperatures over the past month. Now that I am curious, tommorow I will check and see if they raise the prices per unit of measurment.

Babushka said...

You may want to consider signing up for PG&E's equal payment plan. No nasty surprises during the winter! And you still get the same info re: your usage, therms kilowatts etc..

capdiamont said...

You might want to consider a time of use meter.

Why can't you use your wood stove during south winds? There is weather vane type chimney caps that might help.

There is many DIY plans for solar air and hot water modules.

Jennifer Savage said...

For heat, we use our wood stove exclusively, and we're on propane for cooking and hot water, so our PG&E bill is only about $30/month. But we go through a couple cords of wood each winter, and the propane's running an average of $100/month... Still, sounds like we're getting off relatively cheap. Helps that our house was built with the sun in mind: the main rooms stay on the warmer side.

PG&E's level payment plan sounds like a good option, Richard, as does some thermal curtains. Are you using space heaters? I'm scanning through Consumer Reports to see if I can find anything about energy efficiency.

Fred said...

Now you guys got me scared about my next PG&E bill. My last one was $132. That came after changing the way I heat my house.

Now I do it the way "they" say to heat it: I set the thermostat to a certain level and leave it there. I used to just turn the thermostat up full blast when I wanted the heater on and leave it until it was warm enough and then turn it off. I figured that saved me money but the house was always cold when the heater wasn't on.

Now it stays warm enough but my bill went up, and I think that $132 was just for two or three weeks. This next bill should show what it costs to heat the house like that for a full month. I'm expecting $200 to $300. Not looking forward to it.

As an aside, last summer I went all out to try to cut my power costs. Turned off the pilot light on the heater. Washed clothes in cold water and spin dried without heat. Unplugged the TV and VCR, since they use power even when not on and I rarely turn on lights around the house.

Still couldn't get my monthly bill below $30.

samoasoftball said...

Cap-South winds blow down our pipe into the house. We have tried no cap, spinner cap and now the regular one, all to no avail. Usually it would not matter, but this year the south winds have beeen cold instead of warm. Global cooling I am guessing.

Jen-No gas or propane on SLUMOA. Wood heat. Probably went through 2 cords so far. All electric appliances, stove, washer, dryer and hot water heater. Heat with Sun Twin energy efficient 11 heater when winds blow wrong.

http://www.infraredappliances.com/

Use old 220 heater when really cold. And that thing eats up power.

Fred-Looks like you need a woodstove or pellet maybe? You should not have to go through such radical moves for your energy savings. Is your main electrical box handy? Maybe just go shut every relay off but the fridge.

But don't look to me for good advice, my bill was frikkin' $340!

Fred said...

I've actually had a couple of offers of free wood stoves, Carol Conners being one of them. Had a friend come over a few months back, before I started running the heater all the time. He asked me why it was so cold in the house. He couldn't seem to understand me saying it was too expensive to run heat all the time. He offered to give me a wood stove he wasn't using and actually install it(!) (He's a construction contractor guy).

Main thing about wood stoves is I don't know that we have anywhere to put one. We have really small rooms and something would have to go out to put a wood stove in.

I am curious about those kerosene heaters a friend told me about. He says he uses one at their cabin up in Willow Creek. They cost a couple grand at Renner Petroleum. The Kerosene sounded more expensive to buy per gallon, but he said they heat for pennies an hour. Hopefully not 99 pennies per hour.

I'd be interested in looking into those but, still, there's the problem of where to put it.

Greg said...

It's a small wood stove, Fred. We still have it if you want. It was used by the prior owner to heat the garage/workshop (800 sf), but we don't need it anymore. The offer is open, at least for the moment.

If you don't have a source of wood it's probably not much cheaper. I paid up to $388/cord split and delivered this year. It was good and dry. I made sure of that.

Woodcutters are to be respected. They work like heck so we can stay warm. I like madrone and oak, but fruit and nut woods are good if you have a source. Nothing heats like wood heat.

Carol said...

No propane on Samoa? Can't you get one of the green tanks from Sequoia Gas? Also there is America Gas and Blue Star gas?

Fred said...

Greg wrote, "Woodcutters are to be respected. They work like heck so we can stay warm. I like madrone and oak, but fruit and nut woods are good if you have a source. Nothing heats like wood heat.".

Yes. Hard work, but some do it for fun. I used to, back in the early eighties to stock the wood stove I used when I lived on Trinity Street in Eureka. Oak and madrone my favorites, although I mistakenly cut a whole bunch of fir when I first started cutting wood (couldn't find anything else to cut on first time wood cutting).

I've always said I could probably get just about all the wood I need just from work and in my backyard. I'm have two big chestnut trees the constantly need trimming and I run into all kinds of chunks of wood at work.

Anonymous said...

Jen,how totally un-PC of you. Burning our sacred wood in your stove. My God woman your carbon excess may cause the rising sea to wash away your sand dune. Oh,my mistake it's not your sand dune it's Mr. Riley's. But I shouldn't bother you with trivial facts. It's all just a sacrament for the enlightened ones.

Tara said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me. We're pretty careful in our energy consumption (keeping the thermostat it at 66 or 67 degrees and turning it off at night), but our bill doubled last month, to around $250, as well. I was shocked. Made me feel guilty, figuring I must be indulging too much consumption somewhere; started pulling out more of my sweatshirts and whatnot. Must be the long-anticipated natural gas rate hikes kicking in though.