Am I paying too much for electricity?
I live in a large, one bedroom, all electric apartment. Even the hot water heater is electric. My bill has always hovered around $50, but gets outrageous during the summer and winter when severe temperatures force me to use the central air. My bill can get as high as $275. Does that sound outrageous?
You didn't say where you live, that can have an affect on electricity prices. I don't think it sounds too out of line. I live in California, in a large house. I'd say when it's hot or cold outside I pay quite a bit more than that between electricity and propane.
Like Sherry said, it depends on where you live, but in Missouri in the summer with the a/c going all the time (104 today, that's a cool down from last week's 109, ugh), my one-bedroom apartment gets over $150 very quickly. I think I remember a couple of months near $200 the first year I lived here. And that's just a tiny little apartment. They're crooks, those electrical companies...they know we can't live without it these days, especially in this weather.
Central air can use a lot of energy, so if you are running it more that can make a big difference. I lived in the Austin area and the rate for electrical use changed once you passed a certain amount per month. I think it was 500 kW. It wasn't a small change either. It went from 3.55 cents to 7.82 cents. It could be that you have the same situation and the extra energy you are using is pushing your usage up into the higher rate. Your bill can grow pretty quickly when this happens. Also, the high rate in summer was higher than the high rate in winter. I was always surprised by the large variation in my bills.
So just as an example, for a 500kw bill you would be charged $17.75. For a 1000kW bill you would be charged $17.75 for the first 500kW and $39.10 for the second 500kW for a total of $56.85. Double usage but almost three times the bill.
It can be hard to use less energy. One simple thing you can check on is if your water heater is insulated. Doesn't make a huge difference but it can help. Also, check to see if you get charged for peak-hour usage. If so, you can wait to do things like washing/drying clothes and running the dishwasher until off-peak hours. Switch to CFL light bulbs. Some cities and/or utility companies offer assistance paying for energy improvements such as caulking and weatherstripping. That may be worth looking into.
Austin used to have a program where they would take your yearly usage and average it out by month. I don't know that you ended up paying less over all, but it did give a fixed bill per month which makes budgeting easier. Perhaps your utility has a similar program.
Not sure where you live but where I'm at in Texas our bill for a 2 bedroom which isn't very big, 1100 sq feet I believe is running about $85 and that's if we leave it at 75-78 degrees. I'm not sure what you keep your temperature at either but I do think that bill is a bit outrageous for a one bedroom compared to what we're paying.
I had a small, two bedroom house in Virginia that had central air, and the bill was around $200 a month in the summer. The house I lived in in New York last summer did not have central air, and the light bill (for a four bedroom, two-story home) was about $80 per month all year - except when we used a single, window air conditioner. Then it went up to about $140.
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