Oh, crap. (Power bill)

For a few years now, I’ve been doing that “pay the average power bill” thing where they set an amount based on past usage and all your bills are the same, so it’s easier to budget. If you end up going over, they just tack it on next year.

Keep in mind that my house was built in 1928 and has the original windows. (Which would (maybe will!) cost a fortune to replace, and also they have character - waviness, etc.

So, my first year it was $200 a month. The second year it was $210. Today I got the first bill of year three, which was THREE HUNDRED MOTHERFUCKING DOLLARS. That’s an extra $90 a month every month this coming year, for those of you following along at home.

I called them and found out that it’s largely the result of last year’s monster heating hikes, passed on to me starting now. Next year should be cheaper unless we have the same kind of problem again.

To add insult to injury, last night was the first cold night of the year. I woke up with Himself wrapped around me like one of those things from Alien trying to steal my warmth for his cold-ass legs. (It’s his fault for not knowing where his side of the heating blanket control is.) I went home at lunch and adjusted the thermostat controls to make sure we won’t be comfortable at any time of the year, ever. This sucks SO HARD.

The first year we moved into this house I did the “Same Amount Every Month” billing - and hated it. Rather than pay $100 every month, I’d rather have four months of $150 - $220 bills, followed by a summer of $30 - $60 bills.

Of course it had led to the following conversations:
“Mom, can we please turn the furnace on?”
“No - there’s the blanket rack”

“Mom, I’m shivering!”
“If it were 50F in March we’d have all the windows open, talking about how warm it is. There’s the blanket rack”

“I couldn’t sleep last night, I was SO cold!”
“If you wore pajamas rather than shorts and a tank top you’d be fine. Grab a blanket off the rack and put it on your bed”


It’s been in the 30’s - 40’s overnight which isn’t bad. It’s not enough to turn the furnace on, in my pennypinching mind. Luckily, our windows are newer, but this is still a drafty house with it’s original 1948 furnace.

Well, for the first year I did month to month and summer would always come as something of a surprise. :slight_smile:

There’s a lot to be said for insulation, caulking, and interior thermal mass…

… and blankets!

i bought a pellet stove to heat for the coming winter, since I was looking at $4/gal propane and in my drafty old house I was using more than 100/gal per month. This weekend was chilly and I wanted to get a feel for how many pellets I’d use, so I fired it up. I ran it at medium - medium low for 24 hours (even when it got too hot so I had to open some interior doors) and it only used about 20 lbs of pellets. That’s about $2. Now, I know when winter hits it’ll be burning harder, but I think I’ll save about $250/mo.


It might not help anyone who has posted to this thread, but there are a few heating assistance programs out there, the most common one is LIHEAP: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/grantees/states.html

More info here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/consumer_info/index.html

Many public utitlity regulators also impose what’s called a winter shut off order (which limits the ability of utilities to shut off service to certain households during certain months). Here is an example: http://www.psc.state.mt.us/Consumers/energy/pdf/UtilityRules03012001.pdf

Here’s a thread we did a while back about utility shutoff rules: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=400768


We do exactly the opposite here. Summer bills average $150 to $200 (but it’s a *dry *heat), and in the winter we wear a sweater and pay $50 a month.

50F…warm?! When it hits mid/low 70’s here, I start freezing! And if it hits anywhere below 70, I’m grabbing blankets or socks and whatever else can keep me warm.

MissTake, I’m freezing!”
“Take a blanket from the rack.”
“There are no blankets on the rack…” :frowning:
“There were five up there!”
“I’m already using them all!” :smiley:

My house was built in 1932. I had to replace the windows. The warmth and soundproofing were felt immediately. Before I did it we put plastic up and sealed them that way. That actually helps quite a bit.

Sorry for another hijack, but

Gfactor, you’re awesome!

Just sayin.

Hah! At 70F I’m about as close to my skivvies as appropriate. 80F and I’m taking cold showers. 90F and above is when I start living in the freezer.

My house is around 100 years old, and while most of the windows have been replaced, they are still 50 years old! We have done some other weather proofing, too, but need to do a lot more.
We pay an average per month amount for our heat(natural gas). Our heat alone was about $70 a month when we bought the place 10 years ago. I think we are up to $140 or so now. So while it could be worse, it has doubled.
We keep the temp. pretty low around here. It is generally 64, or 68 degrees tops.
Electric is what has really gone up for us. I remember a few summer bills being just a few dollars 10 years ago. I think our average is about $60 or $70 a month now. So, we pay around $200 total for energy per month.

BTW…The house is about 1200 square feet, and has two stories.

I have a relatively small commercial kitchen. It is less than 1500 square feet. Perhaps because it is commercial they charge an arm and a leg for utilities. My electric bill is consistently between $530 and $630 per month.

:faints away:

You didn’t say what your thermostat was set to. I have mine set to 65, and my average bill is less than half that, and I suspect that we should be subjected to the same weather conditions.

When I lived in an apartment by myself, I kept it at 55. My average was $30!

The thermostat is on an automatic timer - it’s down to 62 at night and when I’m not home, 67 or so in the evening, and 70 when I get up in the morning so I actually do get up. :slight_smile: I think the problem is that SOMEBODY keeps turning it up in the winter and down in the summer when he gets cold or hot - not happening now. (We were especially bad about it this summer for some reason, although I’m pretty sure that wasn’t really the reason.)

It’s the windows, I know. The house is fairly well insulated, but the windows might as well be open.

Yeah, same in my apartment. This thing is insulated like a friggin’ Ultimate Thermos. My bill doubles in the summer because of the air conditioning!

If you didn’t always have the oven going, baking pies…:stuck_out_tongue:

And sleeping curled up next to warm people, who have internal temperature sensors set so high that they don’t mind if we steal all the blankets. :slight_smile:

(Also, the blankets are down quilts this time of year - I love down quilts.)

This is why I love apartment living. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $50 in a month on electricity. Heck, one winter I just kept the door to my room closed and managed to heat the room all winter with just my computer running.