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High utility bills in MA.

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 08:19 pm
I am in a new apartment. When we asked about the cost of utilities in the winter (cost of heat, mostly), the former tenants said they didn't really know/remember. The 'winter' here has been very mild, the gas bills have been ridiculously high.

October was $57
November was $204
December was $340

The apartment has new windows which seem draftless, and they are double-paned. We keep the heat between 60 and 66 degrees, the higher only in the evenings and weekends. The apartment is around 1000 square feet and is on the second floor of a two-story house. I think there is lame insulation in the attic. But, still......

I lived across the street for years and the heating bill never got above $300 - even in the most brutal of winters. The windows sucked, you could see light around their frames. I'd leave my window open a crack most days and nights. But, we lived on the ground floor of a 3-story building. Is it all about the heat loss through the roof? What else could it be?

Does anyone around this area have a similar apartment/condo? Slappy? Are your bills comparable?
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 09:22 pm
I'm not in the area, but maybe the difference is in the price/mcf (thousand cubic foot). Sure sounds like the new digs should be using less fuel, if not less dollars.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 09:34 pm
Heating prices are up almost 50% over last year. You can call the power company and get a breakdown. In NY there is a program where the power company sends out a rep. to tell you how to make you home more energy efficient, MA might have the same.

Good attic insulation is very important, we cut our heating bill by 20% when we upgraded our attic insulation. I keep my 1300 sq ft house around 62-65 when we are home and just let the temp. drop overnight (min. 55), but we heat with mainly oil, so I can't give you a direct comparison, but I think my overall costs are lower than yours.

Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, big savings over time.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 09:51 pm
That's an awfully huge jump between October and November. Is the October bill a full month's use?

Move to California lil'k. My apartment is about 900 sq ft and also on the second floor with cathedral ceilings and no insulation anywhere. It also has a fireplace that sucks all the heat and cooled air out of the place.

In the four years I've been here, never has the monthly bill gone over $40 bucks. In fact, over $30 gives me serious cause for concern and has happened only twice. One month in July last year when we had the 110+ degree days for three weeks, and this past December when the nights got down into the mid 20's. Both cases were still under $40.

I don't use heat at night, I use an electric blanket in winter and keep the therm set at 63 during the day. I only use the a/c to cool the house down in the evenings to 85.


$300 bills for an apartment are ridiculous. Mine is all electric. Is yours, or are you using gas? Is your bill from the utility company or a pro-rated one from the landlord?
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 10:15 pm
Oops, it's the gas bill I am speaking about. Gas powers hot water, heat and stove. The bill is from the utility Co.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Jan, 2007 10:18 pm
I keep meaning to dig out the gas bills from last winter to compare therms used and sevice charge fees. Won't happen this weekend, maybe next week.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 07:15 am
Call your utility company.

Years ago I investigated a stepson's high heating bills and discovered that because of a mistake in installation that he was paying to heat both his heat and the apartment downstairs.

The utility company should be able to give you last year's figures.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 07:42 am
That's awfully high on the second floor. Usually, the second floor reaps the benefits of the first floors heat so your bill should be lower.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 07:45 am
You might try moving again. To another state.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 12:12 pm
I live in Quincy - I have a condo about 1700 - 1800 square feet. My gas includes heat and hot water. My Dec bill was $97, my Nov was $47 and my Oct was $41 (this is when I paid so it may be a month lag to when accrued). We keep our heat at 60 when we are not home (M-F during the day) and then about 68 when we are home.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jan, 2007 12:17 pm
Not sure if the gas company does this, but we had the water company do an audit for us once when are water bill skyrocketed. The water company came over and checked things for us - they discovered that two of our toilets had leaks that was causing the water to run consistently - it was small enough that we didn't notice or hear it. We fixed the toilets and then the bills were normal again.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jan, 2007 10:06 pm
Yikes! Last month's bill is near $450......
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 09:17 am
My place is about 1700 square feet, my last gas bill was $340, but I think that's a little high. One of my bonehead roomates went to France for a couple weeks in December and left his windows wide open. We'll find out the next bill...even though the heat has been left on in the mid 60's 24/7 recently.

I may be buying another place, it's 2300 sq feet...that heat bill is going to be scary.

Littlek, these houses around here are 100+ years old, and usually have no insulation. They don't retain heat well, even if the windows are good. My windows aren't old at all, and it still feels drafty in here.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 09:21 am
Sigh......

For reference, Slappy's house is significantly bigger than my place.

It must be the insulation. But, I dunno if that accounts for all of it. The house across the street which I used to live in was almost the exact same design. We could see outside through cracks around the windows. I am pretty sure no work had been done there to put in insulation. The bills there weren't ever close to this high.
0 Replies
 
Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 09:47 am
Could be different factors...maybe gas prices have risen, and maybe the heating system across the street was more efficient.

I feel bad for one of my roomates...his room just doesn't heat well at all. And he just moved here from CA. The women upstairs have the same exact unit, and their room above is the same way.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 03:05 pm
It's the higher gas prices, at least in part. And the lack o' insulation. I know we got an oil refill recently and the bill isn't here yet (we'll get it by Mon. or Tues., I'm sure), but it will be high.

One thing we have done is install thermal curtains and blinds where we can (we have very wide windows so it can be tough to find blinds in particular), it helps a bit.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 10:03 pm
Just for comparison sake, this is my tracking from Keyspan for gas use for the last several months:

Bill From Date/ Bill To Date/ Days In Bill/ Date Bill Rendered/ Usage (Therms)/ Gas Charge
12/01/2006 01/03/2007 33 01/03/2007 126 $240.48
10/31/2006 12/01/2006 31 12/01/2006 81 $158.85
10/04/2006 10/31/2006 27 11/03/2006 62 $78.89
09/01/2006 10/04/2006 33 10/06/2006 26 $47.49
08/02/2006 09/01/2006 30 09/05/2006 5 $19.31
07/03/2006 08/02/2006 30 08/03/2006 4 $17.98
06/01/2006 07/03/2006 32 07/05/2006 15 $33.48
05/02/2006 06/01/2006 30 06/02/2006 47 $72.52
03/31/2006 05/02/2006 32 05/03/2006 85 $146.73
03/02/2006 03/31/2006 29 04/04/2006 135 $226.94
02/01/2006 03/02/2006 29 03/03/2006 186 $308.63
01/03/2006 02/01/2006 29 02/06/2006 155 $293.06
12/05/2005 01/03/2006 29 01/04/2006 167 $312.11
11/02/2005 12/05/2005 33 12/06/2005 129 $248.16
10/04/2005 11/02/2005 29 11/04/2005 66 $138.89
09/01/2005 10/04/2005 33 10/07/2005 16 $40.41
08/02/2005 09/01/2005 30 09/07/2005 6 $20.30
07/01/2005 08/02/2005 32 08/05/2005 5 $19.76
06/01/2005 07/01/2005 30 07/05/2005 15 $29.92
05/02/2005 06/01/2005 30 06/02/2005 78 $96.00

As you can see, the therms and billing amounts reflect the warmer winter we've had thusfar. I'm surprised your bill is so much higher than mine though. I know my house has no insulation in the walls (which will be fixed come spring) and mine is a stand alone house so I'm not getting any heat at all from an apartment below me.
0 Replies
 
Tai Chi
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 10:29 pm
littlek, can you arrange for equal billing? We pay the same amount every month whatever we use (based on an average of last year's usage) with summer being reserved for catching up or being credited for overpayment. It seems like a lot in the summer but it makes winter bills a lot easier to take.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jan, 2007 10:42 pm
Fishin - I'm surprised too....... and a little anxious about what the winter will bring.

Tai, I think we can. I'd rather the landlady find and fix the problem.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 08:28 am
Hey littlek, how often is tighty whitey boy home alone?

(That so seems like the kind of thing he would do -- crank up the heat so it's more like home instead of horrible, evil, American winter...)
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