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Massive utility hike... suggestions??

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by robbcayman, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. robbcayman

    robbcayman

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    Okay, I received my natural gas bill last night and was shocked. :faint:The bill had literally doubled. I looked and the delivery rate had almost doubled, being the main cause. I called the gas company and they said our corporation commission had authorized it. I said in the middle of winter, during a recession? The lady said they receive thousands of calls daily from ticked people.

    Should I look at moving most of my natural gas stuff to electric if possible? Main question is it sensible to spend some money buying solar panels to reduce my dependency on these companies and outrageous hikes?

    Lastly, I'm fortunate my wife and I make a good income. Our house was just built and is super energy efficent from appliances, to windows and the best insulation. However, some people, like single moms, living in non-energy efficient homes are going to be in big trouble once they receive their new bill.
     
  2. Glock&KimberLady

    Glock&KimberLady Morior Invictus Silver Member

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    Depends on your electric rates. Up here in the northwest, the electricity rates are cheap, so you get houses like mine, which is entirely electric except for a propane furnace.

    For heating and such, you can use space heaters judiciously, as they work pretty well, but they are electricity hogs.

    I can say that electric stoves/ovens really do suck. They don't heat evenly and you don't have the control the way you do with gas.

    Gas water heaters are superior over electric. With gas, if you're running out the hot water, you'll still have some warm as the gas heats the water. With electric, when you're out, you are OUT, baby. (kinda sucks when you're taking a shower in subzero weather)
     

  3. robbcayman

    robbcayman

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    Thanks for the reply. What about a tankless electric water heater??
     
  4. Glock&KimberLady

    Glock&KimberLady Morior Invictus Silver Member

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    I've only heard good things about on-demand water heaters; just haven't gotten around to installing one yet.

    Biggest drawback is tearing open the wall to put one in, depending on where your water lines are located.
     
  5. Glock20 10mm

    Glock20 10mm Use Linux!

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    Welcome to Obamanomics! Might want to re-think your house heating and insulation arrangement. I don't know your fiscal position but a suggestion (especially if you are in a REALLY cold area) is to get one of these babies:

    http://www.oldhouseweb.com/product-showcase/fireplaces-earth-stove-fireplace-insert.shtml

    OR

    http://www.hilkoil.com/

    OR

    http://thermacoil.com/

    We had an Earth stove with heating coils that fed two large hot water heaters and radiators around the house in Klamath Falls Oregon. For us we used red fir as the heat source. Anyhow with these newer fireplaces you can regulate air flow which in turn controls burn time and heat output.

    The whole point is you reduce your heating bill as well as your hot water bill and increase efficiency in your home heating scheme. The price of fossil fuels will continue to increase. If you go this route and plan accordingly and set the system up, you stand to save in the long term. During the summer months when gas prices are generally lower (less demand) you can go back to natural gas for the water heater.

    Just one suggestion to save yourself some $$$ and break free from the choke hold utilities have on our wallets. Take it or leave it.

    Oh, and depending on where you are solar may not pay off very quickly. One thing people can do also is check their appliances and upgrade to more energy efficient when possible. Insulation, double pane glass (or you can do like my dad did, build an external frame with heavy clear plastic. We would mount them over our windows during the winter months, and they worked great in assisting with heat retention. Think of them as poor mans double pane.

    Anyhow, you need to look at solar availability, then assess how much power you use on average so as to size the array correctly. And again it would be wise replace older less efficient appliances when possible. Next is your home energy scheme. You have a lot of "ghost" power that you are feeding. Many appliances, even when they are off still draw some power. Where possible place them on a switched circuit. Turn all appliances off completely (one thing I thought was really cool about Scotland, every single outlet has a switch so you can isolate individual plugs completely.)

    If you are going to work and noone will be home for 6 hours or more, then turn off / disconnect your TV, DVD, stereo. The power they draw adds up. You can reconnect them when you walk in for the end of the day. Much of what you can do is simple changes in lifestyle. Nothing too drastic but you have to be willing to make the changes and be consistent with them. Otherwise keep on paying the high rates.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  6. NorthCarolinaLiberty

    NorthCarolinaLiberty MentalDefective

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    [​IMG]
    I was always a fan of radiant heat. I wish those old radiators were still around. The radiant space heater is the only remnant, but they are electric.

    The picture above is a De' Longhi. You might save a couple of bucks, depending on your house layout. I always liked these at night in a confined area.
     
  7. Rabid Rabbit

    Rabid Rabbit

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    Tanksless may or may not work for you. It depends on how you use your hot water. We looked into it and after reading about some of the downsides to them decided they wouldn't provide any savings. Some of the down sides are
    Higher initial cost. Think $1500-2500
    They don't kick in unless there is a certain flow rate. Most are .5 gal/minute but some are as low as .3 gal/minute.

    I just looked at some of the newer models, seems they have really increased the flow rate to where you won't need 2 or more systems.

    I'm not against them at all but for our situation they just don't work.
     
  8. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

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    Check out www.hearth.com forums. There is a ton of info on heating season alternatives. There was a guy on there who paid like $30K on a solar system, but after all of the government grants and stuff he only ended up paying around $10K out of pocket and he is now completely off the grid. I use a wood pellet stove in my house. I have a 1600 sq. ft. doublewide in the frigid northeast. Pellets are about 200-275 per ton and I will go through a ton in about 50 days when it's real cold out. This year a ton lasted me from the first cold days of fall until about December 6th. The pellet stove uses the same amount of electric to run the blowers as my oil furnace does. The latest rage around here is the outdoor woodburners which you can throw pallets and whole logs into. I've heard nothing but good on these outdoor stoves.
     
  9. ManNamedJed

    ManNamedJed

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    Is your house efficient?

    I added another layer of R13 in my attic (It only had R13 to begin with) and my winter gas usage went down 20%. Summer AC bills went down too. An attic fan made a huge difference in the summer as well.

    Close off rooms you don't use and block their heater vents. Plastic over windows you don't use.

    Turn your heat down. We run 52 degrees, but have a small electric heater in the TV room and in the bedroom and use them when we're actually in there. They are very comfortable, and we aren't heating parts of the house we don't spend time in.

    I think you'll save more money in the long run increasing efficiencies rather than investing in whole new heating systems.
     
  10. Model19

    Model19 Typical GnG

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    My electric oven works great. I miss the gas burners on top, but I've gotten accustomed to the electric range. However the oven works great, much better than the gas ovens I've had in my last 2 homes.
     
  11. fork14

    fork14

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    One of the reasons that demand has grown for methane is that small municipalities are putting in gas fired electric plants. Gas goes up, so does your electric. The on demand electric water heater I looked at required two double 40 amp breakers.
     
  12. RonS

    RonS Millennium Member

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    Reducing heat loss is usually your biggest savings, although hot water is also a big user, but is also usually pretty efficient.

    You could look at geothermal for heat.

    You need to find your gas and electric rates per BTU and determine your actual cost for each. Hate to say it, but NG is usually the most cost efficient fuel.
     
  13. Diesel_Bomber

    Diesel_Bomber

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    Biggest single thing I did to reduce energy usage was to wash all clothes in cold water. Cut propane consumption(water heater is propane) in half. A clothes line did well too, as the dryer is propane as well.
     
  14. misunderestimated

    misunderestimated

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    Disgusting isnt it

    I tell you what we did. We spent all our moneys on sealing up our home ,Not insulating but air sealing the home to keep the warm in,then we insulated to the house warm.

    Next we invested in high eff heating and cooling I mean a modulating boiler with an afue of 95%

    We always cut down on our usage but some how are bill never got smaller.

    as other have stated it comes from higher delivery charges and higher taxes and tariffs

    This year I installed a 42,000 harman pellet stove

    NOW are utility bill are getting smaller

    With all of the energy eff programs starting to work and consumers are starting to use less energy ,the utility companies are finding differant ways to charge us so the can sustane all of there employees and equiptment. Where as other companies when they sell less product they restructure the buisness to a smaller size not just charge more for less


    I decided I had enough and instead of calling and complaining I am using less of the gas and more pellets

    My recomendation is to add a pellet or wood stove to the house to offset the cost

    ...
     
  15. jp3975

    jp3975

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  16. PSUEng

    PSUEng

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    The thing is, gas is at nearly an all time low. There is more gas than they know what to do with--futures prices are lower than spot prices! It's more raping of the people, just like with gasoline. There is more oil than they know what to do with, yet the price is bid way up relative to demand (especially for gasoline), and you have refiners shutting down plants left and right b/c they can't make money turning $80/bbl crude into gasoline in the current economy/demand state. Yet, gas is in the mid $2 a gallon. BS....:steamed:
     
  17. robbcayman

    robbcayman

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    Yeah, it's really frustrating. I've talked with my wife and we're going to do some of the suggested ideas to reduce the amount of gas we use. It just sucks as others have mentioned that we buy all this stuff to make our houses more efficient and then they just jack the prices. I could understand a little bit of a hike, but to double it is crazy. I just hate being at the mercy of these companies and politicians who have to approve the rate increases. Anyways, thanks for all the replies and great ideas.
     
  18. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    My house is all electric, heat pump, water well, etc. The bill isn't bad though, I guess under $200 a month average. I don't skimp on the AC and heat and have AC and a space heater in a outside shop.

    The last time I looked into getting off the grid with solar panels, etc, I probably would have never broke even.

    I have a small piece of a natural gas well. It's a shame I can't tap into that.:)
     
  19. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    This must be true because my gas royality checks have been going down, not up.
     
  20. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Bigfoot enthusiast enthusiast

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    The President made his NG bill double??