Dec 04 2007

A $67 electric bill

Last month, I decided I would track our major electricity usage. In this spreadsheet, I noted how often the dishwasher ran, how long the oven was on, and how many showers were taken that day in our all-electric apartment.

I thought this tracking would give me some clues about our energy use. In a way, it does.

For example, on Oct. 31, the dishwasher ran once, there were two showers totalling about 20 minutes, and the oven was on for about 20 minutes. We used 23.4 kwh.

But then, on Nov. 15, there was one 10-minute shower and nothing else–no dishwasher, no oven, no furnace. It was 23.9 kwh. What gives? I dunno.

In all, we used 516kwh according to our bill. The bill was $67.09. Last month, our bill was $86.46 for 648 kwh. It’s nice to know that we’ve cut our electricity usage by quite a bit.

$7 of the bill is a “customer charge” that appears every month. About $4 is tax.

I called a customer service representative to ask a few questions about my bill. He told me that since I live in an all-electric apartment, I have a discounted winter rate. That means from November-April, our rate will be about $0.026 per kwh once we reach 500 kwh. Woo hoo!

That knowledge has encouraged me to raise our thermostat just a little. It’s now set at 65 for the day and 62 for the night.

Another thing he said was to make sure my landlord has inspected my furnace to operate properly. He said if one of the four elements are not working, it could quadruple my electric bill. Yikes!

My furnace was inspected a few months ago, and I’ll continue to monitor my daily usage to see if it spikes.

For this new billing cycle, our furnace finally kicked on. It’s been really cold out, and come on–it’s November! It probably should come on every day now, unless we have a few more 60-degree days.

How have your electric bills been treating you? Do you have all-electric or all-gas? A split between the two? Do you have alternative heat sources such as a wood fireplace? 



2 Responses to “A $67 electric bill”

  1. Fascinating research. What explains that on a lower-usage day you had a higher rate?

    We have gas for stove and heat (hot water radiators). Our electric bill is usually about $30 because we pay the exterior lights on our house as well as our apartment (we bought a 3-unit house, live in one). Actually, all our utilities are complicated because they are tax-deductible (except our 1/3 share) and they apply to living space other than ours.

    To minimize electricity, we use compact fluorescent light bulbs in all our lights possible and only use lights for tasks (not mood lighting). I also very rarely use our dryer, instead drying clothes outside on a line or inside on a drying rack. If we are not on the computer, it’s in sleep mode with the monitor turned off or the whole thing is shut down.

  2. I have no idea why I had a higher rate on a lower-usage day. We’re fairly consistent on how often the lights are on (and we have mostly CFL bulbs).

    Maybe we took hotter showers? It’s hard telling.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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