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

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

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
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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.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to gborrillo
I have a 2350 sqft colonial, 70's build, heat pumps for heating with oil for auxiliary. I am in CT.
My usage is between 900kWh for spring/fall and 2700kWh for heavy winters. In the summer it's about 1500kWh.
I value comfort over money so in the winter I keep 74 in the bedrooms and 70 downstairs. In the summer it's set to 75 while in use. Hot water comes from oil furnace.

For your usage, with 2200kWh/month it should average to some 3000W continuous draw - which is far from unnoticeable, it puts out a lot of heat.
Easiest would be to use a clamp ammeter on each circuit. Short of that, have someone turn off the breakers one by one while you watch the meter and see when the big draw stops. For that kind of usage I'd suspect a water well pump running non-stop...


panth1
The Coyote

join:2000-12-11
Boca Raton, FL
reply to gborrillo
What exactly is your power company using to compare your household to others in that graph? There is link under the key. "What homes are compared"

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to guhuna
said by guhuna:

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.

Yes indeed. PG&E has to pay for their exploding pipelines somehow.


average

@tmodns.net
reply to gborrillo
Two things not mentioned yet

sometimes the power company uses averaging billing. Instead of reading the meter they just bill this month the same use as this month last year.

Big excesseS can come from the appliances that make big heat when running. Like oven heaters water heater etc. So check to see that those are not stuck on all the time.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

1 recommendation

reply to scooper
said by scooper:

"rape" is a pretty accurate term - but what is "Baseline" ?

The utility sets a baseline amount that is based in part on the type of home, whether gas or electricity is used for hot water and heating as well as the climate zone it is located in (determining the number of heating or cooling days). That calculated baseline amount is less (50-60% in summer, 60-70% in winter) then what a typical home would consume as "an incentive to conserve energy" meaning that nearly everybody pays more then tier 1 rates (up to 100% of baseline). In total there are 5 tiers with pricing going up significantly after tier 2 (101% to 130% of baseline).
From personal experience it is no problem at all to get into tier 5 (over 300% of baseline).

Comments about how much cheaper electricity is outside of California are probably not helpful to the OP (it is not like he can mailorder some cheap power). Campbell has moderate temperatures all year so heating/cooling (often the highest energy cost elsewhere) is less of a factor.

Aquariums can be a very significant power drain due to the heat loss. However I'm not sure if that is sufficient to explain the high power usage completely.

In addition to PG&E, there are other organizations providing energy audits in the Bay Area (both commercial and free). I can't find the details right now, but there is even an organization that provides free training to become a home energy auditor (with the hope that those participating in the training will donate some of their time to perform free energy audits in their community).
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
reply to mityfowl
said by mityfowl:

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

About $190 at my rates. $.081

Here in Denton that would be about $170.00-180.00. Provider options here are City Of Denton or nothing. My highest bill was $158.00 in the summer for a 3 bedroom house with a lot of electronics and the a/c set on 76.

Residential
Facility Charge $8.25/bill (single phase)
$16.50/bill (three phase)
Energy Charge
Winter (November-April) 5.70¢/KWH first 600 KWH
3.79¢/KWH all additional KWH
Summer (May-October) 5.70¢/KWH all KWH
*Energy Cost Adjustment Adjusted Periodically

--

Fiber Optics is the future of high-speed internet access. Stop by the BBR Fiber Optic Forum


PeeWee
Premium
join:2001-10-21
Madera, CA
reply to gborrillo
Do you have a water well? a failing water pump can use a lot of power.
--
Iphone. Helping computer illiteracy become popular since 2007


acadiel
Press fire to begin
Premium
join:2002-06-22
61705
kudos:2
reply to ilikeme
Click for full size
Here's about 1645 from the past month... $144.56 with all taxes and such.

Before taxes, winds up being about 7.6 cents per kWh.

I have four children that have a propensity to leave the lights on, TV on, etc. It's an everlasting battle to get them to stop. Glad I don't live in CA.

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1
said by acadiel:

Glad I don't live in CA.

And believe me, the idiocy does not stop with the electric rates. Good god.

A lot of people are leaving. In two years I will be one of them.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

reply to gborrillo
How to read power usage from your power meter

Here's a quick way to determine how much power your equipment is using. Cut everything off in your breaker panel. Your meter should stop. Then turn on each breaker and check the power reading. It's a quick indicator and may give you some clues.


Jtmo
Premium
join:2001-05-20
Novato, CA
reply to gborrillo
Campbell CA would be on city water.
Mild climate year round.
Typically Gas for heating, maybe the stove too. He stated gas water and furnace.
We have Smart meters, which is where he got the graph. There could be an issue with the meter, as stated turn off breakers to see what is spinning or get a clamp ammeter.
Electric for household lights etc.

I use around 200-250KW hours of electricity/month. You are using nearly 10 times my use in the same climate.
You are using 3x your neighbors use.

If electric range/oven, do you cook/bake a lot?

brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to gborrillo
When I lived in Miami my energy bill used to be $200 - $300.
Now at my new location it cost $75.

Very weird how cheap electricity is here. I went form 1100 sq feet to 815 sq feet. The old apartment did not have a washer and dryer. My new one does and I do an average of 2 loads a week. Explain that one? lol

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Northland Cable ..
·Time Warner Cable
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reply to Annmarie
said by Annmarie:

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.

Check out the new LED lighting systems for corals now. Way cool. But pricey. $650 for a single array system. Minimal heat. Only about 100 watts.


Bamafan2277

join:2008-09-20
Jeffersonville, IN
reply to gborrillo
I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment. 1100 sqft total electric and my usage is around 1500-1800kwh per month. Its a newer place and only 2 adults living there. My bill has never been this high anywhere else and with the same or better electric usage pratices so most of my bill is from the HVAC and water heater at this place.

I can't wait to move in 6 months into my brand new Engergy Star Certified home that is being built.


bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to gborrillo
I live in the same area, more or less, with a nearly 100 year old house without insulation. Gas furnace (about 50 years old), water heater and stove. Two fridges, lots of computers, 5 souls on board, mostly CFL lighting....




Finally glad to see that we are under "All similar homes."


Blogger
Jedi Poster
Premium
join:2012-10-18
Reviews:
·Champion Broadba..

1 edit
reply to gborrillo
If I'm reading your bill correctly your greatest usage seems to be in the Winter months going higher or lower month-to-month based upon the average outside temperature for those months and except for a spike in September your usage is lower in the warmer months.

That should be at least good clue. Especially since you live in an area, Campbell CA, that has warm summers and mild winters. A/Cs especially central AC is far and away the biggest electricity hog. So for a house in Campbell one would expect your usage to be the exact opposite of what it is in a typical Campbell residence.

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to gborrillo
Bet the OP has straight AC, not a heat pump, so winter its resistive heat strips making the winter usage peak.

In General the energy hogs are

Heat
AC
Hot Water
Dryer
Refrigerator

All except the dryer can be substantial reduced with new high efficiency units, like heat pump with Seer in the 20+, Heat Pump Hot-water and the new Refrigerator can use less than half of a 10 year model. Dryer, might save if switched to gas, if thats an option, but run the numbers to be sure

A Kill-a-watt can help track down the phantom loads or see what what things like fish tanks or cable boxes / sound systems add.

It very straight forward to understand the usage, measure to see where the energy is going ..


Annmarie
Lillian
join:2000-11-11
kudos:5
reply to ke4pym
said by ke4pym:

said by Annmarie:

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.

Check out the new LED lighting systems for corals now. Way cool. But pricey. $650 for a single array system. Minimal heat. Only about 100 watts.

We did. Hubby put in a whole new setup with timers for various lighting schemes. That is when the electric bill dipped. Then we upgraded two appliances and it dipped more.

But it was the reef lighting that used the most electric.

The new LED lights do save money but I personally hate the way they look. LED anything - not just these lights. Just my opinion though.
I can live with that if the bill is low enough and it is and the corals are doing fine.
--
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.

gborrillo

join:2009-07-05
Campbell, CA
reply to NS4683
gas water heater. the second fridge has been unplugged the last month and our bill didnt change a dime. well, maybe a dime. as for the tank, i do have metal halides and understand that they do use up quite a bit, not to mention the water pump, heaters etc. as luck would have it, my tank actually went down (my 2 year old daughter decided to feed a gallon of sugar to my fish) so that has been unplugged completely for the past 2 months. there was a bit of a dip in our bill (100 or so). i didnt expect it to account for much more than that.

one thing i do recall....pge recently installed these smart meters in our home...say about 6 months ago. before that, we had the old style meters with the rotating dial. one thing i recall, when going through this, was when we turned our dryer on, the dial literally almost went berserk , where it was spinning ridiculously fast. i havent checked it recently with the new meter. its almost as if my wife and i have grown accustomed to having a 1000 pge bill, so we have pretty much given up. based on all the comments, it may be worth revisiting once again. i think i will try the turn everything off and then turn it on one by one to see if anything shoots outta control.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to gborrillo
First, get rid of any incandescent bulbs and replace them with CFL or LED bulbs. Second, a high electric bill may be a sign of a malfunctioning appliance.

Here in Western Massachusetts, we have high electric rates; 1800 kwh would be about $250.