Maybe Someone Knows The Answer To This Problem

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Michelle Anderson, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member
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    Our electricity bill swings between $140 and $488 a month. Seriously!

    There is no pattern I can discern, even with the help of the electric company's tool that allows me to compare with any day or month and any year. It also shows the temperature for the days compared. So, lots of information, but nothing makes sense.

    Unless they're just pulling numbers out of their corporate butt.

    I am asking for any tips for lowering the electric bill and I'm asking if anyone can make any sense of this wide difference every month. We do roughly the same things when we're home, so there should not be such a huge difference from month to month. I'm also posting 3 months worth of usage graphics which compare to the same time the year before plus the temperature. I do appreciate any insight anyone might have.

    In April, it was 1620 KwH, or 49.09 KwH per day for 33 service days, with an average cost per day of $8.16 for a charge of $269.12 for the month.

    In May, it was 1285 KwH, or 44.31 KwH per day for 29 service days, with an average cost per day of $7.49 for a charge of $217.20 for the month.

    In June, it was 955 KwH, or 30.81 KwH per day for 31 service days, with an average cost per day of $5.65 for a charge of $175.16 for the month.

    April.Emera.png May.Emera.png June.Emera.png
     
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  2. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    Do you know if they actually read your meter monthly? Sometimes they only actually read the meter every few months and estimate usage between. If you have a smart meter, they should be able to get your usage remotely. I had a similar thing happen to me, and it turned out to be an intermittent short circuit in one phase of my well pump--don't know if that would apply to you or not. @Frank Sanoica may have something on this as he is an electrical engineer.
     
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  3. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Well-Known Member
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    Do you heat with electricity? Cool with Electricity? My electric costs vary each month and swings in a range of about $60~$145, so not as high as your numbers, it does vary widely. (Note: Kentucky Utilities' cost per KWH is amongst the lowest in the nation and I have a house built 4 years ago).

    I did observe you as living in a state with competitive options or standard offers. I noticed the standard offer jumped 18% for 2018. There also seems to be a surcharge of "peak" demand, but I am not sure it applies to residential customers.

    Mine varies due to temperature swings, which can be compounded in peak demand (prolonged cold or heat) with a demand surcharge, environmental surcharge, fuel adjustment, etc. Each of which can show up negative or positive, depending on overall usage amount. This past bill showed a credit to my bill for those charges. Come winter time or the heat of the summer it might swing the other way. I got a $3.25 for "tax cuts and job act surcredit".
     
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  4. Pam Sellers

    Pam Sellers Member
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    Wow, that is a big "swing" ! We have the option here to go on a "budget bill". They take the past 12 months and average a monthly payment for a year. Since we have natural gas for heat in the winter, we pay a bigger payment for electric during the colder months. The electric company will adjust your monthly payment if you use less electricity during the year. I like knowing I can budget for a set amount each month rather than get a "big surprise" when we have an unusually hot summer.
     
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  5. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Michelle Anderson
    Do you have a large utility company, or private company like a cooperative? The coops seem more interested in public relations integrity than the big guys.

    I would ask the utility if they are willing to install a temporary Demand Meter, to see exactly when your usage is "spiking" up and causing higher cost per kwh. "Demand" means the amount of power used at any given time. For example, if you run several large appliances at the same time, say, clothes washer and dryer, air conditioning, microwave or conventional oven or both, water heater, maybe a big motor driving Ken's equipment of some kind, during that combined usage Demand would be higher than average, and most utilities charge extra for that.

    In addition, there may be penalty charges added for having poor Power Factor, though to my knowledge residential users are ususually simply billed extra to cover Power Factor, whereas commercial users may be billed directly for poor Power Factor, and that added to the regular bill as a penalty. Ask them about that, too. Poor Power Factor concerns are related to Inductive Loads, generally, which result from operation of electric motors and transformers.

    I found your charts to be initially confusing, but having not slept last night, know I am operating on only half my cylinders right now, and will review them.
    Frank
     
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  6. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Well-Known Member
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    After analyzing the charts, the data is consistent with temperatures swings UNTIL it isn't. April 6th to about the 18th being in the isn't category. A few days in mid May also seems to be in the isn't category. The the last half of June seems to be completely inverted from what I would have expected.

    It wouldn't be immediate help but consider reading your own meter each month and recording the average KWH being used per day and then compare to their readings. This would be especially true if a new meter has been installed or any work on the service side.

    Puzzled!
     
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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  7. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Harry Havens
    The add-ons, sewer-charges (as I call them), numerous taxes of nebulous description, about 10 in all, piss me off greatly. Supplying electrical power to the consumer should NOT involve governmental intrusions of this great a number.

    Perhaps if many clandestinely installed wind, solar, or even nuclear power to offset the "billing vultures", a message might be sent.

    Compare: When I moved from Chicago to Las Vegas, 1972, my power cost went from 5.5 cents per kwh to 1.6 cents. A huge percentage difference. I wondered why? Commonwealth Edison generated much of Chicagoland's power burning coal. Nevada Power supplied Vegas via a natural gass-fired plant located between Vegas and Henderson. Coal cost less than natural gas per unit heat, yet why the opposing discrepancy in cost?

    We all know.......
    Frank
     
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  8. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Greeter
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    Ours is all from the Huntsville city utilities, and it includes power, gas, sewer, water, and garbage; so changes in the usage of any of these can affect how we are billed each month.
    The sewer bill is based on the water bill, so whatever we use for water, they double that and charge it as sewer. This is totally UNFAIR, in my opinion, because it makes NO consideration for what we are doing with that water, like watering the lawn and garden, which does not affect our sewer usage at all.
    The only way to avoid this is to have a separate meter and waterlines installed which are specified as for “irrigation” purposes, and then they do not appear on the sewer bill, just on the water bill.
    Since it is expensive to have all new water lines put in, very few people do this, and anyone who rents can’t do it anyway, since only the home owner can do this.
     
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  9. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Well-Known Member
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    That's easy to figure out!

    Your Bill swings wildly because your Usage swings wildly!

    Hal
     
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  10. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member
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    Sorry for the delay in answering. We spent the past couple of days downeast and just got back this afternoon.

    They tell me that they read it monthly. I have to take their word for it.

    We don't have a smart meter. We don't want one.

    I'l long thought it's a particular appliance or thing plugged into the socket but cannot figure out what it could be.
     
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  11. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member
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    We do a combination in the winter -- which is usually 6 months or more. Because we're in far northern New England, we have few options. We use a combination of oil (fueling the furnace and floorboard heat), but we also use a heat pump. During the hot part of the summer -- usually al of maybe 4 weeks -- we use the heat pump.

    What you aw as a surcharge for perk demand is actually the opposite. Because we have the heat pump which sucks up electricity -- but which is usually far cheaper than oil, as costs what you would pay at the gas pump or higher -- us actually a price break. We are charged the regular amount for the first 700 KWh, and a substantially lower amount per KWh thereafter.

    Oh, Harry! I am definitely not stupid, but there are some topics that make my eyes glaze over! This is one of them, I'm afraid. If you can simplify that more -- if that's possible -- I''m sure it will be helpful.
     
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  12. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member
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    It's Maine, so nothing's really large, including the utility companies. It's not privately owned, however, and I believe they work with half of the state.

    I'll ask about a demand meter, but I have been begging them since 2001 to do an audit. Cross your fingers!

    I obsess on those charts. When I was trying to correlate the usage with the temperature and then the usage and temperature from the year before, I might as well have fallen off the edge of the earth for a day, :)
     
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  13. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member
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    We do the budget plan, mostly because I feel better when the cost doesn't shock me! :)
     
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  14. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Well-Known Member
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    @Michelle Anderson

    I got the 18% from this article...
    The PUC accepted competitive, 12-month bids that will result in a new standard offer price of 7.921 cents/kWh, an 18 percent increase in the state’s default rate for electricity supplied to homes in Central Maine Power Co.’s service area. The standard offer is automatically set for customers who don’t purchase their own electricity supply in the market.

    That is for the supply portion of the bill. I can't find the webpage I had earlier, but it indicated the delivery rate was very similar to the supply rate. So the article indicated the supply portion would go up 18% and have an impact of 8% more on the bill, it makes no mention of adjustments to the delivery rate, which I think occurs at mid year. I can't find my original source for delivery information, maybe you can google. The article also mentions the competitive thing... with a link.

    The big swings are very likely due to seasonal factors. A couple of degrees change in outside temperature yoy can cause an 8%~10% change in kwh used. Thermostat settings can do the same.

    I don't know the size of your house, the type of insulation or even the weather you have. As a general rule of thumb... insulation, insulation, insulation.
     
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  15. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member
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    Thank you. I see what you meant. I'll go find the article.

    A few years back, after my constant requests for help figuring out why my electric bill was so high (and radically different), they referred me to an organization that funds insulation for people on Social Security.

    The house is a Cape Cod style house with two floors and an attic which runs the width and length of the house. Much of it is open, with no doors other than one on our bedroom, one on the ex-bedroom which is now our closet, and a folding door on the bathroom. Comfy, but not really conducive to solutions like space heaters.

    We knew that there was virtually no insulation because when we remodeled one of our rooms, we could see that the insulation -- which was newspaper as it used to be in the early 1900s when the house was built -- had all fallen to the bottom of the wall into a 2-foot or so pile. The fact that the house has asbestos siding was probably the reason it has not re-insulated for 100 years.

    In any event, the organization sent out an insulation team which not only insulated -- from the inside -- but changed out our back door for one that would help keep the house tight. They also topped off the house by putting a few feet of insulation in the attic. @Ken Anderson could remind me of just how much there was up there, because I don't remember.

    Anyway, since then, the house is very warm -- sometimes hot -- and the amount of oil we use is significantly less.

    I do have a call in to the guy who "would be in charge of demand meters, if we have them available," so we'll see what comes of that.
     
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  16. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Well-Known Member
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    Don't know how you would feel about this idea or if it is even viable, but decorative curtains/drapes can span quite a distance (doesn't have to be heavy material) across some of your areas. It would allow for easy access and potential for some type of space heater. It would require the thermostat to be in the area most frequently used and for the space heater to truly work. I have been in houses where this type of setup is used. The curtains can be fully retracted for events/parties, etc.

    What type of windows do you have?
     
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