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gborrillo

join:2009-07-05
Campbell, CA

Our PG&E Bill averages $600-$800 per month, sometimes more..

Just wanted to inquire of suggestions as to why our energy bill is so high. We have tried to get PGE out here to do an energy audit to no avail. With an average usage of 2200 kwh, it seems as tho something is wrong. We have tried to figure it out but we havent been successful.

Any info or help would be appreciated.



davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none

how big is the home, what to you keep your HVAC system set at, style of lighting, types and age of appliances, the list goes on and on.

BTW, i'd kill for only 2200kwh a month. my house uses more than that on a mild month where the 2 HVAC systems are shut down. wife and 2 daughters think light switches only cut on and that all rooms should be a full brightness at all times.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!



psafux
Premium,VIP
join:2005-11-10
kudos:2
reply to gborrillo

The solution is to find out what is drawing power and go from there.

Our electric bill has never once been over ~$120/mo. Gas furnace & gas water heater.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to gborrillo

said by gborrillo:

Just wanted to inquire of suggestions as to why our energy bill is so high. We have tried to get PGE out here to do an energy audit to no avail. With an average usage of 2200 kwh, it seems as tho something is wrong. We have tried to figure it out but we havent been successful.

Any info or help would be appreciated.

You must have some outrageous rates. Here 2200 kWh would be about $220. Our rates here are about $0.105/kWh including all taxes and fees.

Being retired and on fixed income I would hate to face bills like that.

gborrillo

join:2009-07-05
Campbell, CA
reply to davidg

Right, I didnt give any info....ok, here is a list off the top of my head...

2400 sq feet home, central heating and cooling, but we rarely USE them because of our bill. I would say that we have the heating on about 8 hours a week during the winter, and 1 hour a week for the cooling in the summer.
appliances:
basic kitchen apps : fridge, dishwasher, microwave - all bought within the last 6 yrs.
washer dryer about 10 years old
second fridge in garage
salt water tank
home theater setup with video/audio components.

i would say we are pretty conscientious with our energy use - always turn off lights, dont leave tv on/pc on at night, etc.

the main reason i am asking is because of the attached graph. it just seems like we must be doing something terribly wrong to be so high off the curve.


gborrillo

join:2009-07-05
Campbell, CA
reply to gborrillo

Click for full size


NS4683

join:2000-08-25
South Amboy, NJ
kudos:1
reply to gborrillo

What type of water heater? Are you all electric or gas?



Jtmo
Premium
join:2001-05-20
Novato, CA
reply to gborrillo

Just north of you. 1500 sq ft. $100 every month. 2-3 people gas and electric. Maybe the second fridge and the salt water tank?



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
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reply to gborrillo

One of the easiest ways to troubleshoot this is to get a clamp on amp meter. Open up the circuit breakers panel and use it to check current draw on each circuit.

That gives you a one time snapshot to check at various times of day with different appliances running.

/tom


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2

2 edits
reply to gborrillo

Or get a TED5000.

My house is about the same size as yours, and about the only difference is that I don't have a salt water tank. Do you have to heat this or otherwise put energy into it ?

I do have a pool , and I USE my Heatpump all year round - July / August were my 2 highest months of 2800 KWh. However, my rates are probably much less than yours, since even those 2 months didn't exceed $200-$225 for us.



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to gborrillo

What type of meter do you have?
Link is from 2010.
»gigaom.com/cleantech/pges-smart-···ustomer/

quote:
In mid-2007 PG&E was only installing around 1,000 smart meters per day. But by the end of 2007, it had ramped up to 2,250 smart meter installations per day (Page 185). And by the middle of 2008 (Page 408) PG&E’s daily average smart meter installs bumped up to 10,000 per day.

Early on in the project, PG&E’s main priorities clearly centered on getting the network and meters installed on time, and avoiding cost increases. At the beginning of 2008, PG&E said its costs could run up to $166 million beyond what the CPUC had authorized for the project before contingency funding would kick in (Page 252). At one point PG&E also said its meters were behind deployment by 11,531 meters (page 283) and that its employees were working “extended hours and Saturdays to make up,” (Page 283). It quickly made up that gap by speeding up deployments even more.

By mid-2008 it also became clear how much PG&E was susceptible to any delays or missteps by its vendors. In July 2008, PG&E said supplies of meters from vendor Aclara had slipped. The utility had given itself a cushion by speeding up installations, but it said that was “being eroded” by Aclara’s delay (Page 350). Soon after, PG&E also made the decision to deploy network and meter technology from Silver Spring Networks in Davis, Oakdale, Roseville and Lincoln, Calif.

By October of 2008, issues with Aclara became far worse, with the finding that there was “Poor read performance on 5 percent of the installed Aclara meters” (Page 383). PG&E acknowledged at this point that problems could potentially arise with customers. At that time PG&E upgraded that risk priority and explained it as:

I tried finding a picture of an Aclara/Hexagram electric smart meter, but the majority of the ones I saw were for Silver Springs Network.
Aclara also uses "star" as part of it's wireless network builds.

Though the smart electric meters Aclara built back then wasn't nothing special. Just a Landis and gyr meter that plugged into a add on board that was built by Aclara. The add on board allowed for wireless transmission of the data collected by the meter.


djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
reply to gborrillo

Is your heat and dryer natural gas or electric?

Salt water tank = 24/7 pump + electric heat. When I did an energy audit (required for solar panels) they called my fish tank out as public enemy #1 (but mine is small so it's not so bad).

That second fridge isn't helping you either. How old is it?

What kind of coffee maker do you use? If you have a pot that you leave on a hot plate for several hours in the morning, it can gobble up a lot of power. We switched to a thermal carafe which helped quite a bit.

I'd suggest getting a kill-a-watt so you can measure individual things. Plug it into your AV gear and see how much power your system is drawing when it is supposedly off. Another culprit I found was that most of our PC speakers were drawing a lot of power even when switched off.

Can you tell I also live in a CA area with ridiculously expensive electricity?
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to gborrillo

Are you allowed to shop electric rates in your part of CA.?


briand069

join:2003-04-13
Vacaville, CA
reply to gborrillo

One of the first things I would check would be the ID numbers on the gas and electric meter and make sure they match the ones on your account if you haven't already. Other than that, try what has been recommended above. I know on my meter it scrolls through and shows you current kw usage. You could use that to track down high use appliances and such.



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to gborrillo

2200 Kwh would be less than $240/mo in Dallas,

About $190 at my rates. $.081



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to gborrillo

Click for full size
I'm not trying to make you feel bad but somethings wrong with your rates:


not

@comcast.net
reply to gborrillo

Culprits for something like this are usually tankless water heaters that draw 220, a bad appliance that's somehow draining too much current (maybe that second fridge.

The most basic way to check this is to go look at your meter. See if it's just spinning real fast. If it is, then start unplugging stuff until you find the cause. If it's not, start turning things you normally use on until you find the cause.

If you turn on the hot water and the meter takes off spinning like a top, you have a tankless water heating system that's killing your bill despite what they told you in terms of it saving you money. Sometimes big homes use two of those units and that can really kill the energy bill.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

1 edit
reply to gborrillo

Someone around here was complaining about high electric bills. He eventually traced it to a built-in space heater that was running 24/7 in an unused bathroom in the basement. See - »Re: WTF Massive, unexpected jump in Electricity usage... :(

You might want to turn off everything in your home (at the individual devices, not the breakers), then see if your meter is registering any usage. Go from there, and track down any other power draws.

EDIT: Compared to the average usage shown in your graph, you're using an extra 850 kWh per month. Guess what - That's the equivalent of a 1200 Watt space heater running 24/7. Hmmm...


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to gborrillo

How is your rate structure set up. In South Florida we had electric service from FP&L AKA Florida Plunder and Loot. FP&L set up a two tier "conservation" rate structure where the customer paid more per KWH when they used more than the first tier level. At one time the first tier was 1000 KWH. Customer paid more per KWH if they used more than 1000 KWH. No consideration was given to the size of the house to establish the number of KWH's provided in the first tier.

About a year ago a contributor to this forum, posted an inquiry about high electric consumption and found that a built in electric heater had been left on in a basement bathroom. Bathroom electric heaters should be energized by a one hour timer.



djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

1 edit
reply to mityfowl

I'm not trying to make you feel bad but somethings wrong with your rates:

Not in CA. The CPUC basically allows CA utilities to rape their customers. They justify this by saying it's "to encourage conservation". PG&E's rate structure looks very similar to what we have with SoCal Edison:

Total Energy Rates ($ per kWh)

Baseline Usage: $0.13230 (I)
101% - 130% of Baseline: $0.15040 (I)
131% - 200% of Baseline $0.30025 (I)
201% - 300% of Baseline Over $0.34025 (I)
300% of Baseline: $0.34025 (I)

»www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC···_E-1.pdf

"Baseline", by the way, is not average usage. The CPUC defines it as 50-70% of average use. No consideration is made for the size of your home, either. What this means is that any sort of extras (a fish tank, second fridge) are billed at ridiculous rates. Unseasonably hot summers can be a real hardship if you're inland.

--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.

pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2
Reviews:
·ooma
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reply to gborrillo

said by gborrillo:

2400 sq feet home, central heating and cooling, but we rarely USE them because of our bill. I would say that we have the heating on about 8 hours a week during the winter, and 1 hour a week for the cooling in the summer.
appliances:
basic kitchen apps : fridge, dishwasher, microwave - all bought within the last 6 yrs.
washer dryer about 10 years old
second fridge in garage
salt water tank
home theater setup with video/audio components.

I can offer a comparison with Connecticut if that helps. We are in a period of renovation, and for almost a month our utility didn't have a meter attached to the home (we upgraded service and the union that installs meters is different from the union that installs new service).

For one month our utility was required (not certain by whom) to use the average use of the other homes attached to our transformer. The average size of a home in my neighborhood is around 2,500 sq ft, most homes were built in the early 70's. Most have been modified over time.

The average electric bill of 6 of my neighbors, was 37 Kwh per day. In December, these older homes, mostly using oil or liquid propane heat used about 1,100 Kwh.

That is less than half my normal average, which is around 2,600 Kwh. For comparison, my home is 40+ years old (built in 70, CO in early 71). Has no insulation under the windows in the bedrooms, used mostly heat pump with auxiliary heat when needed. Auxiliary heat was oil heated hot water. House size was 3,200 sq ft. We have 4 LED smart TV's, our treadmill is used for 1 hour a day, our hot water is electric. We have 1 28 cubic foot fridge / freezer, and 2 21 cubic foot freezers.

We use a lot of game consoles, and a lot of PC's. 2 dryers (propane based) and 2 washers (front loaders) one dishwasher (Bosch). All lights are LED. Most rooms have ceiling fans for comfort.

Over the years, all external doors and windows were replaced with whatever was energy star at the time, often better than minimum energy star when possible. My kids are awful about turning stuff off, but I try to turn stuff off as possible.

The old home had a retrofitted upper level only heat pump for heat and air conditioning. A typical electric bill for us would be around $450 per month.

We use more than you do per month, and seem to pay less. I know our bill went down by about $50 a month when we moved from electric to gas dryer, and about $25 from electric cooktop to gas (gas in this case is propane). We replaced windows, doors, and added the maximum insulation possible in our old 2 x 4 walls whenever renovating interior walls. Of all the insulation, the most cost effective was insulation in the attic. Our old attic had R13 we bumped it to R38 and that made the biggest difference by far over any other change in insulation, windows or doors (YMMV).

It isn't your consumption that is a problem imo, it's California's charge for power. Whatever PGE is doing, or the state is doing to PGE, you are paying an awful lot for 2200 Kwh per month.
--
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." - Milton Friedman"

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to djrobx

said by djrobx:

I'm not trying to make you feel bad but somethings wrong with your rates:

Not in CA. The CPUC basically allows CA utilities to rape their customers. They justify this by saying it's "to encourage conservation". PG&E's rate structure looks very similar to what we have with SoCal Edison:

Total Energy Rates ($ per kWh)

Baseline Usage: $0.13230 (I)
101% - 130% of Baseline: $0.15040 (I)
131% - 200% of Baseline $0.30025 (I)
201% - 300% of Baseline Over $0.34025 (I)
300% of Baseline: $0.34025 (I)

»www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC···_E-1.pdf

"Baseline", by the way, is not average usage. The CPUC defines it as 50-70% of average use. No consideration is made for the size of your home, either. What this means is that any sort of extras (a fish tank, second fridge) are billed at ridiculous rates. Unseasonably hot summers can be a real hardship if you're inland.

"rape" is a pretty accurate term - but what is "Baseline" ?
Is it 500 KWH, 1000 KWH ? Is it based on previous history ? Or on an average of all homes?


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to pandora

I'll piggyback on pandora, as I live in Connecticut as well, and say that my bill averages about $190 per month, including summer A/C and winter heating use. Note that bills are much bigger in the summer when A/C is used, and much lower in the spring and fall when neither furnace nor A/C is running. I have propane for everything (Furnace, tankless hot water, stove, dryer, BBQ grill, and backup generator), and it makes a big difference in my bill. That and the fact that I went pretty beefy with the insulation (2x6 walls, with extra insulation in the attic) when I built in '09.

I'd look to your insulation levels first, regardless if you are mostly an A/C or heating consumer, as that's typically where you'll get the most bang for your buck when looking to lower energy expenses.



linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
·TracFone Wireless
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reply to gborrillo

When I had that problem there was an oxygen concentrator and fans and coffee pot running 24/7, plus I was heating/cooling a 3 season porch 12 hours every day. It all stopped when my spouse died. Most of the windows were replaced with E-Windows and the house was newly re-insulated. I've converted to nearly 100% CFL lighting. All the old devices: water heater, HVAC, water pressure tank, sump pump. water conditioner, washer and dryer were replaced.

Heat and light filtering window shades help cool a house in the summer. I also have window panels that help keep the cold air out in the winter. I've spent a lot of money and managed to reduce the light and gas bill about 50%. It helps to keep the thermostat set to 68 or lower in the winter, and the AC off in the spring and summer. I live in a Northern state.
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside



acadiel
Press fire to begin
Premium
join:2002-06-22
61705
kudos:2
reply to gborrillo

Whenever I see posts like this, I remember this post..

»Re: WTF Massive, unexpected jump in Electricity usage... :(

Hope you find your energy hog, OP.....


homster

join:2006-04-30
reply to scooper

said by scooper:

"rape" is a pretty accurate term - but what is "Baseline" ?
Is it 500 KWH, 1000 KWH ? Is it based on previous history ? Or on an average of all homes?

Example of what baseline is... SCE and PUC established different baselines for different regions. For me, northern Orange County (eg Anaheim area), baseline is:
10.2 kWh / day (Summer)
9.2 kWh / day (Winter)

So for summer, in a 31 day billing cycle, my baseline is 316.2kWh (10.2 * 31). The rate for this baseline usage is about $0.13/kWh.
Then:
101% - 130% of baseline: $0.16 / kWh
131% - 200% of baseline: $0.25 / kWh
201% - 300% of baseline: $0.28 / kWh
301%+ of baseline: $0.32 / KWh

I cringe when I see you guys posting 1500+ kWh of usage...

edits - fixed typos


Annmarie
Lillian
join:2000-11-11
kudos:5
reply to gborrillo

Can you list a break down of the peripherals of your saltwater tank?

We run a 220 gallons with another 100 gallons in various tanks and sumps.

The lighting for the corals was making our meter spin like a top!
It has been revamped and pulls much less electric now.

Doing that and upgrading our refrigerator and large AC unit dropped a monthly bill of 600 plus to 400 plus in less than a year.
That is a budgeted amount with any difference made up in 6 month intervals.
--
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to gborrillo

10 kWh Baseline ?!?!?!

My AVERAGE daily kWh for the the month of December was 61 kWh - this was for the period of Nov 27 - Dec 27. My house is mostly electric - it was originally built as all electric.

I have
Heatpump (with propane backup - hasn't been used much so far this winter)
Electric tank water heater
Electric oven/microwave
dishwasher
washer with electric dryer
9.5 KW tankless water heater in the kitchen for sink / dishwasher.

Rape indeed !



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to briand069

said by briand069:

One of the first things I would check would be the ID numbers on the gas and electric meter and make sure they match the ones on your account if you haven't already.

I'll second this.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


guhuna
5149.5
Premium
join:2001-03-31
Port Costa, CA
reply to gborrillo

Not to get OT but welcome to Pacific Graft and Extortion! I'm paying on average about $340 from them. Last time I looked I think I'm paying something like 24.5c KwH. Hopefully this time next year I'll be in tier1 and not tier3-4.