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CS Utilities - extremely high bills for May and June?

marshw011
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Did anyone else have outrageously high utility bills from the City of CS for May and June? Mine were higher than I've had in seven years of living in this house, constantly using a programmable thermostat. My "Consumption Report" shows that June usage has consistently been around 280 in both 2015 and 2016. This year it was 1395 - for a house with one person who yes, likes it pretty cool at night but was also out of town for a week. How is this possible?

I called the City and the nice lady first told me I must be mistaken about my meter reading (I'm at 1166 so far this period and counting), then she downshifted into slowly explaining to me that "it's hot." She did give me a number to call to have someone come out and look at it, and I'll give them a call tomorrow. I guess I'm just looking for some suggestions on what could be causing this, and maybe a little validation that something seems wrong with this picture.
saltydog13
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marshw011 said:

Did anyone else have outrageously high utility bills from the City of CS for May and June? Mine were higher than I've had in seven years of living in this house, constantly using a programmable thermostat. My "Consumption Report" shows that June usage has consistently been around 280 in both 2015 and 2016. This year it was 1395 - for a house with one person who yes, likes it pretty cool at night but was also out of town for a week. How is this possible?

I called the City and the nice lady first told me I must be mistaken about my meter reading (I'm at 1166 so far this period and counting), then she downshifted into slowly explaining to me that "it's hot." She did give me a number to call to have someone come out and look at it, and I'll give them a call tomorrow. I guess I'm just looking for some suggestions on what could be causing this, and maybe a little validation that something seems wrong with this picture.


280 kw usage in one month is impossible, much less a summer month. 1395 kw should be about average with how hot it's been. Maybe they mislabeled and put the 280 as kw instead of $280?

What temperature is "pretty cool"?
b0ridi
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I use 100-150 kWh/month during months where AC isn't in use. Up to 1100 or 1200 kWh/month in July and August. One person in 2000 sqft house.

Do you have an electric water heater? A problem there could cause a lot of electricity usage.
marshw011
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UI'll admit I'm pretty ignorant about kilowatts vs. kilowatt hours, but I think this is kilowatt hours. This report from my CS Utilities account provides average daily and average 30 day usage, which are 11.83 per day and 354.9 per 30 days. I assume that's over the last two years, since it has two years' worth of data. My water heater is gas, so I don't think that's it, but I appreciate the comments.

And "pretty cool" is 68 at night (and 78 all day while I'm at work), but that's no different from prior years.
saltydog13
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b0ridi said:

I use 100-150 kWh/month during months where AC isn't in use. Up to 1100 or 1200 kWh/month in July and August. One person in 2000 sqft house.

Do you have an electric water heater? A problem there could cause a lot of electricity usage.

Do you just sit there in the dark or have a lot of gas appliances? 100-150kw for an entire month is crazy low
saltydog13
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marshw011 said:

UI'll admit I'm pretty ignorant about kilowatts vs. kilowatt hours, but I think this is kilowatt hours. This report from my CS Utilities account provides average daily and average 30 day usage, which are 11.83 per day and 354.9 per 30 days. I assume that's over the last two years, since it has two years' worth of data. My water heater is gas, so I don't think that's it, but I appreciate the comments.

And "pretty cool" is 68 at night (and 78 all day while I'm at work), but that's no different from prior years.


Cooling it down 10 degrees and to 68 takes a lot of ac runtime with the weather we've been having the past couple months.
law80
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Our bill went from $220 to $440 with no changes in daily habits and we keep the AC at 78 all day and night. Went from 1383 kw to 2741 kw from May to June.

Contacted the city and they came out and reread the meter to verify it. Came back correct. They also mentioned that this was the highest month that this house has ever had since the house was built (2005). They had an electric usage person contact us and checked the meter to see if it was working properly. That also came back as working good.
b0ridi
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saltydog13 said:

b0ridi said:

I use 100-150 kWh/month during months where AC isn't in use. Up to 1100 or 1200 kWh/month in July and August. One person in 2000 sqft house.

Do you have an electric water heater? A problem there could cause a lot of electricity usage.

Do you just sit there in the dark or have a lot of gas appliances? 100-150kw for an entire month is crazy low
Just one person that only uses one or two rooms... plus gas appliances, and LED light bulbs.

OP, I'd recommend turning off everything in the house and going to the electric meter dial to see if it's spinning. If the meter says "7 Kh", one revolution of the dial is 7 Wh. If it does say 7Kh, divide 25200 by the number of seconds for one revolution to get the amount of watts currently in use. You can turn on various things in the house to see how many watts each uses.

280 kWh in June is insanely low if you're cooling your house to 68.
marshw011
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Law80, that's discouraging and I suspect my experience with them will be the same. Did they offer any reason for this other than 'it's hot'? Has it been THAT abnormally hot and I just didn't notice? I have a new meter and have to wonder if that has anything to do with it since I've never shied away from running plenty of lights, computers, ceiling fans, all electric appliances, etc. My house is about 1700 sq.ft., one of the older SW Valley ones, but it has storm windows and up till now, things have been fine.
marshw011
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Thanks for this suggestion. Even though the meter is digital and there's no wheel now, I should still be able to tell what makes it tick faster, right?
Lone Stranger
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When did they put the new electronic meter in? Whatever you do, don't give them any ammunition to cause them to look further and figure out your old meter was under-registering and they need to back bill you for the difference.
histag10
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Mine went from roughly 300 to 720. No explanation from them other than that'd what I used.
b0ridi
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marshw011 said:

Thanks for this suggestion. Even though the meter is digital and there's no wheel now, I should still be able to tell what makes it tick faster, right?
During the summer, AC electricity usage would dwarf everything else. An AC for your house probably uses 2 or 2.5 kW. If your thermostat records AC run time (or you could estimate run time yourself), you could estimate total electricity usage. Say your AC runs 10hr/day:
2.5 kW * 10 hr/day*30day/month = 750 kWh
marshw011
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Lone Stranger said:

When did they put the new electronic meter in? Whatever you do, don't give them any ammunition to cause them to look further and figure out your old meter was under-registering and they need to back bill you for the difference.

I don't know, but I do know when my bills started skyrocketing. It'll be interesting to see if it's around the same time. I've always been so smug about my low utility bills.. sounds like it's a "little did I know..." situation.
marshw011
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b0ridi said:

marshw011 said:

Thanks for this suggestion. Even though the meter is digital and there's no wheel now, I should still be able to tell what makes it tick faster, right?
During the summer, AC electricity usage would dwarf everything else. An AC for your house probably uses 2 or 2.5 kW. If your thermostat records AC run time (or you could estimate run time yourself), you could estimate total electricity usage. Say your AC runs 10hr/day:
2.5 kW * 10 hr/day*30day/month = 750 kWh
I have the AC folks coming out tomorrow to rule out any issues there. When I called they said I was the second person who called today with this problem. Based on your calculation, either my AC has been running extremely efficiently up till now, or, I hate to say it, but maybe my old meter was under-reporting.
aggiepaintrain
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July, August, September
hold on to your wallet

It's called the Summer Citizen Tax incase you didn't know.
JP76
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My BTU usage went from 1300kw in may to 1908kw for June

My August 2017 usage was 1600kw
saltydog13
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aggiepaintrain said:

July, August, September
hold on to your wallet

It's called the Summer Citizen Tax incase you didn't know.



May-October actually
australopithecus robustus
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$560 to $875. Guess I gotta suck it up
CEAg78
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I noticed there were 5 more days in my May billing period than April's.

Our house is OLD (built in '63) and we averaged 54.5 KWH per day up from 45.9 a year ago.

Our electric rate (no wind power, lol) is 12.5 cents per KWH.
aggietoolman
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FWIW

Shel noted at the end of May that this past May was the 5th hotest May on Record. I expect that June has been up there also, although not quite that bad.

stinkerbelle
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My BTU bills, the one due now is 477.00, the bill before that 325.00 and the one before that 237.00. It hurts, but if you want to stay cool in these hot months you have to go with it
marshw011
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Just thought I'd close the loop and maybe warn other unsuspecting homeowners. It turns out that my old electric meter has been dying a slow death and under-reporting for the full six years that I've lived here. It finally went to the great beyond in April and an alert meter caught it. Thus, the new meter and ENORMOUS hike in electricity use in the past couple of months.

I did learn a lot in the process. A really nice guy with the City came out and did an energy audit and pointed out several things I can do to help with summer AC and electric bills. He also mentioned that the meters are designed to fail in the customers' favor, so no worries about being back-billed if this also happens to you. Yet another example of not knowing how good you have it till it's gone.
meezermom
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I'd love to hear some of what the nice guy from the city told you to help ... I'll take anything at this point. Ours doubled from May to June. I checked our last six years' worth of bills and nothing near this high. We have a whole new (3 years ago) AC and an electronic thermostat. I'm working extra just to pay for the damn power this month, and likely the rest of the summer.
aggiepaintrain
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mine went from 650 to 750
but they play with the days in the cycle. I had 33 before and only 29 now.

Expecting next bill to be 900.

Stucco
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Is there a way to audit your meter for accuracy?
saltydog13
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marshw011
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meezermom said:

I'd love to hear some of what the nice guy from the city told you to help ... I'll take anything at this point. Ours doubled from May to June. I checked our last six years' worth of bills and nothing near this high. We have a whole new (3 years ago) AC and an electronic thermostat. I'm working extra just to pay for the damn power this month, and likely the rest of the summer.

As you might guess, there was no silver bullet, but a lot of small things that will add up. He suggested installing some of the whirling turbines on the roof to help disperse heat from the attic (on the back of the house). He also recommended one of the attic tents to cover the pull-down ladder entry to the attic, especially since it's right next to my thermostat. No need to leave ceiling fans on if you're not in the room - they don't help with cooling, just air circulation (I've been running 3 fans 24/7 for the last three months so that was news to me).

He also left me a booklet on residential utility services. I just noticed that the actual electricity rate goes up just a bit during the months of May through October. November through April, it's $0.1139 per kWh; May - October it's $0.1186. Not a huge amount, but it adds up. I'm guessing CS has to pay more and is passing that on to us (?).

saltydog13
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Yep everyone pays more in the summer. Just how it is
91_Aggie
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marshw011 said:

meezermom said:

I'd love to hear some of what the nice guy from the city told you to help ... I'll take anything at this point. Ours doubled from May to June. I checked our last six years' worth of bills and nothing near this high. We have a whole new (3 years ago) AC and an electronic thermostat. I'm working extra just to pay for the damn power this month, and likely the rest of the summer.

As you might guess, there was no silver bullet, but a lot of small things that will add up. He suggested installing some of the whirling turbines on the roof to help disperse heat from the attic (on the back of the house). He also recommended one of the attic tents to cover the pull-down ladder entry to the attic, especially since it's right next to my thermostat. No need to leave ceiling fans on if you're not in the room - they don't help with cooling, just air circulation (I've been running 3 fans 24/7 for the last three months so that was news to me).

He also left me a booklet on residential utility services. I just noticed that the actual electricity rate goes up just a bit during the months of May through October. November through April, it's $0.1139 per kWh; May - October it's $0.1186. Not a huge amount, but it adds up. I'm guessing CS has to pay more and is passing that on to us (?).


FYI, be careful in adding whirling turbines if you have ridge vents... they are not compatible with each other and will likely make it worse.
musicforall
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Raising the temp from 68 degrees obviously will save you money, anywhere from 3-5% per degree. My AC would never stop running if I tried to keep my house that cold. I was raised in a house that was around 68 degrees, but now anything below 72 has me putting a blanket on the bed. It took a while to train myself, but I now keep the house between 74-78, day and night, with occasional use of ceiling fans. No one complains. Just don't change it all at once, raise it a degree a week, and you will adjust.
dubi
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68 degrees is nuts if you care about your electric bill.

And if you were on balanced billing, you wouldn't see crazy swings.....
curry97
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My bill increased $50 from the previous bill.
Wicked Good Ag
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We do average billing and have found that we have about one payment free each year because of various things we do

We are moving into a bigger house so I expect that price to rise quite a bit and we can't use average billing in the first year so it will hit us come August and September
MemphisAg1
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I'm a BTU customer. 2479 kWH in June and $280 bill. Up 13% from May, and 18% from June last year.

4k SF house. Two years old, two heat pump units. Keep thermostat on 72 during day, and bedrooms are zoned to allow individual settings, typically 65 to 70 at night.

Also a metal roof which deflects heat, and generous insulation. Combined with efficiency of new units, keeps electricity bill low.
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