How much is your electric bill?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Quiver0f10, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    976
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    We just moved into our house in Maine in January. The first full months electric bill was $275.00, next bill was $297.00! We have a 2200 sq foot house , nothing fancy. To cut the bill down we unplugged our 2nd fridge, started hanging just about every load, washing in cold and wearing jeans twice etc to cut down on loads, shutting off computers at night and shutting off all lights unless we are in the room. Also, we turned the thermomstat down 2 degrees even though we have oil heat. Well the next bill comes and its $225.00. Better, but still not good. In May we washed all dished by hand and haven't used the DW once, figuring this will drop the bill even more.

    Today I get May's bill and it was $275.00 again!!!! I just can't believe it. It was very rainy last month so I had to dry more than hang and we got our baby chicks so we had a brooder plugged in 24/7 but $275.00 is so rediculous. I called our electric co in march to have someone come out here and see whats going on and no one has showed up still.

    Is this average or is something drastically wrong?
     
  2. RAC

    RAC Guest

    A lot of things can influence the electric bill. Is your water heater and stove electric as well?
     

  3. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Central New York
    That sounds really high for a home without electric heat.

    Mine runs about $67 a month. About $75 during the winter because of oil burner.
    1500 sq ft home with electric hot water heater. gas stove

    You might need to check your hot water heater, or your neighbor has a wire running to your panel :)
     
  4. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,179
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Like RAC, I'm wondering what all is electric - is the house totally electric?
    Dryers are huge energy consumers, as are microwaves. I found this out when I went to buy a new dryer and was looking for energy efficiency. But if your stove, water heater, AC/Heat, dryer, washing machine, etc. all run on electric and you're home all day - you will use lots of energy.
    My bill runs around $100-120 mo. for 1850 sq. ft, but it's just me and Hubby and no one's home T-F until about 6 pm. My dryer is electric and so is my w.h.. I also have a Deep Freeze that is plugged in all the time and I keep the air on 80 just too keep it from using too much energy too cool the house when I get home.
    Also, your location might make a difference. It depends on what they use to fuel your power plants. That could make it more expensive for all customers who are powered by that plant. If they are nuclear or coal fired, they may have to have special equipment to meet emissions standards and that gets passed on to the consumer. :(
     
  5. tkrabec

    tkrabec Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    467
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2003
    Location:
    FL
    I have a similar story. in the Summer our elec bill is close to $500, we have 2400 sqft, and 700 sqft MIL appt. We'd kill for 275. Most of the light bulbs in the house are CF or F tubes. We live on a well and we do tons of laundry, but cannot hand out side due to the drit road.

    We got a new AC late last year and we are hoping to see a savings this summer. we saw a small one in the winter

    -- Tim
     
  6. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    Ours is $zero, unless we run the gas generator, then is cost about $1.83 per gallon, 5 gallons about 12 hours.
     
  7. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    735
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    West River SD
    It's hard to compare electric bills based on how much as we all pay different per kilowatt. How many kilowatts is your bill? We are an all electric home. That means heat, water heater and stove are electric. Our house is about 2200 and there are tow of us. This is a ranch so we are in and out most of the day. Oh, I'm in SD. From 04/03 to 05/03 we used 1250. This does not include our water which adds about 80 to 90 I think when the cows aren't here. When the cattle are here it's a lot more. It was cold last month so the furnace was still running at times.
     
  8. henny

    henny Guest

    Do you have a well? At the last house we rented, the electric bill was high and I kept hearing the well's pump cycle on/off when we weren't using water. I started checking all the faucets and the toilets for leaks. I found the floats in both of the toilets were set too high so the water was constantly running over into the overflow tube and the toilets were constantly pulling water to overfill the tank. I set the toilet floats at the correct height and suddenly we stopped hearing the pump cycle on/off. The next month our electric bill was much smaller.

    I would also have the electric company check the wiring to your meter because you could very well be paying for someone else's electricity . The house we rented was on a working farm and our landlord told us up front that the 2 barns were wired into our electric meter. The wiring was underground so we never would have known if she hadn't told us. She paid us her electricity use, but it was always a guess because there was no way to figure out how much she actually used. If you're living on an old farm that got divided, it could still be wired to the other farm buildings that are now on other propertly.

    good luck
    henny
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zone Unknown
    My bill runs $30-60 a month and my place is a bit less than half the size of yours. The bill ran much higher, but I put on an insulated tin roof and a covered front porch, and did a LOT of doodling around inside, including recaulking, putting in energy efficient bulbs, switching how I cook, etc.

    In a place your size, $100-150 wouldn't necessarily seem out of the ordinary to me (although I wouldn't be too happy!!), but $275? Something is wrong.
     
  10. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Here in SWVA , my last bill was $29 and change.No gas , all electric..........
     
  11. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    976
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    We have oil heat but an electric 40 gallon hot water heater, we do have a well too. Also, I do bake alot, daily, I wonder if its my older stove? Same for the microwave. My dryer is electric too but I only dry (weather permitting) 1 load a day max. I plan to call the elctric co tomorrow and see if someone can come out to check wiring and meter, and do an evaluation on whats using the power. They said they'd come over a month ago but I am getting impatient.
     
  12. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2003
    Some locations have really high prices for electric. Some companies combine the gas and electric into one bill. Our water pump is shared with the neighbor--the combined usage is usually around $65 for the year, which we split. We use LP, so that is a separate bill. For the house (about same sq footage as yours) we run at-about $75-85 a month on the budget plan. To do this we keep the house chilly in the winter, and warm in the summer. We have a contest to see who knuckles under first and turns on the A/C--so far it has been on once for company. Agree with the above posts--talk to a company rep. Your bill sounds really high.
     
  13. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,179
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Very good idea!
    Any electric appliance that is not working properly pulls more power. My older dryer was doing that, it was actually tripping breakers! Microwaves use a huge amount of power when in use - they are nice to cut down on heat - but anytime something kicks on and the lights flicker, it's pulling a lot of electricity. Also, if your water heater has sediment in it, it will use more electricity to heat the water. If your stove is electric and older, yes, it could be using more electricity too. It's a great idea to have them test the amount of electricity each one pulls, if they will do that. You're on the right track. ;)
     
  14. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Quiver0f9
    Your efforts to try to economize are admireable. However, you need to get more current with the conservation methods as to their impacts. With a little help and some monitoring of the electric meter you can determine what is running the bill as high as it is. First you need to determine the price per kilowatt that you are paying for power. For example, my utility company charges approximately $.07 per 1000 watts or 1 kilowatt. Next you need to learn how to read the meter on your home. We have two types of meters in our area, one is a direct reading meter that looks like an odometer in an automobile and the the other has a series of little dials with each having a pointer. The meter will the small dials and pointers is more difficult to read but it is not complicated when someone explains it to you. Verify which meter you have and if necessary I will go into the details of how to read the second type. You will want to read the meter at the same time each day and record the reading. Now to start trying to identify the power hogs. Go to your main electrical panel and trip the main breaker. At this time their should be no power going into the home and there should be no movement of the "dial wheel" device inside the meter. If there is movement then something is robbing the home of power and you need to determine what it is. With no movement you are ready to flip the main breaker back on and to start trying to track down what is using the bulk of the power in the home. You can make a list of each power consuming device you own and on the list beside the name of the item determine how much power it uses and write that down also. High power consumers are hot water heaters...4500 watts, clothes dryers..., cookstoves..., electric irons, etc. Multiply each devices wattage requirements times the rate per kilowatt you are charged and you will now know the cost per hour to run each device. Since you will be reading the meter at the same time each day you can tell how many kilowatts you have consumed from the previous day and figure the daily charge rate. You can then start deleting or altering the manner you use specific appliances and see the results daily. Some malfunctions that cause utility bills to soar are shorts to ground ( this usually occurs in water heaters and the hot water will be real hot), faulty connections inside the main electrical panel causing the connections to heat, hot water leaks or long showers causing the water heater to run too often, attempting to heat a room using the cookstove oven, running a device that consumes far more power than you realize (engine heater, heat lamps, electric space heaters, etc.) I think you can get the power bill under control if you will implement the above and continue your efforts. Good luck
     
  15. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    there was another thread about all this a while back. it had lots of good suggestions.

    jena
     
  16. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    1300 square feet. All electic. about 7 cents per KWH. 2 adults, 4 door opening kids

    Its summer and the bill is running about $120 per month.

    But it will be higher on the next bill. Have two visitors to go in and out. Plus for reasons I can't fathom they have been boiling peas and cooking in the oven all day, and the kids are leaving the bathroom doors open after their hot steamy baths.

    I bugs me. Its a pet peeve. We turned lights off all the time when we were kids.
     
  17. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

    Messages:
    7,273
    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 8a, AZ
    Couple of things, having worked for the electric company here in montana...if you stop using an electric appliance for one month you will not see much of a difference on your bill since the billing period ends like two weeks before you get the bill...making your not using the appliance only two weeks on the bill for the following month. Also anything that is electric that HEATS ie, dryer, hot water heater, electric space heater, dishwasher with heater etc uses a tremendous amount of electricity...more than you can ever imagine, even an electric coffee pot , slow cooker or electric skillet has a huge draw. My power for electricity only is bout 120 per month and that is all gas for the generator as that is all we have so far, that , batteries and an inverter.
     
  18. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Your utility should have a list of common "power hogs"--see how many you have. Also there are gadgets like this Watt's Up?:

    http://www.witchwellenergy.com/Merchant2/4.13/00000001/catalog/p119.html

    which you plug each appliance into to see how much energy you're using. Your utility may have similar devices for sale or rent. Easier to use than turning off all the breakers.

    As someone mentioned, if you have older refrigerators and freezers, you're potentially wasting a lot of money.

    Anything with a clock or "instant on" feature (TV, VCR, etc.) uses energy all the time--this is called "phantom load" and it is of great concern to people who generate their own power. Note how quiet your home is during a power outage (and how dark without all the built in nightlights....).
     
  19. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    349
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Western WI
    What is your connection charge each month?

    Where we live the coop, in its money grubbing ways, charges us $31+ per month just to be connected kw rate .073/ hr, and we live in town currently. What a rip-off, and since they are a coop they don't get regulated by the government the way a public corporation would. So they are able to charge what they want for a hookup. There is no competition with a coop.
     
  20. Canehdian

    Canehdian Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Location:
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Very interesting topic. I have recently been through this and have found the above reply's very interesting. I'll throw my two cents in.

    I live in western canada so not sure if it is any different were you live but here we pay .07 cents a KW and our bills were a little high for my likes about $125.00 were it should be around $75.00.

    I read my meter #1 and noticed the reading at say 6032 but the hydro company charged me on my last bill 3 weeks earlier for 6455. Why? the bill was an estimate as they only read the meter every 3 months and estimate the rest.

    Needless to say with the computer age my reading is now entered on-line every month so I'm not paying any more than we use. Plus when I got my latest bill I looked at it very close and sure enough two errors. First they back dated my last reading as correction to the last bill then estimated me so in fact charged me twice for that month. The second mistake you guys should get a laugh at...
    I see at the top of the bill, late charge $2.16 and the figure they used was $0.00 x 1.5% and the the total came out to $2.16, so I asked them how they came to that seeing as my bill was payed on time. Well they were going to credit me after I payed the full balance. Took me 10 mins about to explain I was only going to pay the total less $2.16, forget the credit. Sorry but $2.16 adds up and we are trying to move off the grid...

    TTYL
    Ernie
    Canehdian