I don’t know about you, but my electric bill is sky-high. I’ve been running around the house unplugging everything in sight so as not to incur charges from my appliances using “phantom energy”. It annoys my husband to no end that he has to plug in the toaster every time he wants to use it, but I’m on a mission – a mission to save money.
I didn’t see how our electric bill could realistically be about double what our gas bill was. We heat with gas, and we live in a northern state. We’ve got a gas hot water tank. Our oven is gas. How could we possibly be using so much electricity? The bill wasn’t a fluke. We’re on the budget plan with nearly every bill, so it’s the same price every month.
I looked at everything that was still plugged in: the dryer, 2 baby monitors, 2 computers, the telephone, a TV, a DVD player, a refrigerator, and a clock. That still didn’t seem like much to me. Then, I looked at the lights. We have light fixtures that take 3-5 bulbs each, and not those energy saving bulbs either, candelabra light bulbs with what seems to be a very short life pan.
Okay, now I could see the electric bill being a bit high, but the bill still seemed outrageous. I began thinking of the climate here. Yes, we heat with gas, but we use 3 window air conditioners in the summer. And we use 2 electric space heaters in the winter. Those definitely aren’t cheap. So, I started trying to use the air conditioners less.
After unplugging practically everything and roasting in the summer heat with limited air conditioning, I finally managed to shave 12% off of the bill. Not exactly the results I was hoping for.
When I received my gas bill this month, for some odd reason I read the insert that came with it. It stated that electric rates are roughly triple the cost of gas rates. Finally, confirmation that my appliances weren’t using triple the energy they should, they were just costing triple the amount!
Around that time, a new house came up for sale in our area. We toured it. It was nice, in a decent location, the kids loved the yard, and it was about twice the size of our current house. Had I not been so obsessed with lowering my electric bill lately, I probably wouldn’t have given the electric baseboard heaters much thought.
“What’s the average heating bill?” I inquired. The owner said she wasn’t quite sure. The house had been vacant for almost 2 years. She said the bill was quite reasonably though, probably not more than about $1-200 per month.
I don’t know what $1-200 per month 2 years ago equals out to today, but I’m sure it’s alot more than the $78 that we currently pay to heat our home with gas, and I just don’t see electric prices dropping significantly in the near future.
We ended up passing on the house. It was bigger, but it needed work. The yard was nice but small. The location was decent, but not worth the asking price. The house was affordable, but I doubted the heat would be.
Although electric prices vary around the country, I believe they’re currently quite high. If your bill is higher than you think it should be, call your electric company and ask them to do an energy audit.
If you plan on moving to a new house or apartment, don’t forget to take the utility costs into consideration when figuring out if you can afford it. The last thing you want to do is to get stuck in a reasonably-priced house with unreasonably-high utilities. It would be very difficult to sell that kind of house in this economy. Even renters don’t want to find themselves in a 1-year lease that they can only afford to pay the utilities for for 3 months.