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  I hope you die, PG&E. 
 
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Michael A. Jan 20, 2008, 12:48pm EST Report Abuse
So, I got my first electrical bill. Oh. My. God. Something is seriously wrong with the state of the California economy and my lovely, local electrical company. That's sarcasm, by the way.

http://www.pge.com/

According to the bill, I used 766 Kwh in 17 days. My question is, to those who pay their own bills, does this seem a bit...high? I have no real way of seeing on the bill what each device uses.

For the first time in my life, I'm actually turning off my computer at night and putting it in standby when I'm away. Other than a small electrical heater, the only devices in the house that I can think of that use much electricity are my computer, my laptop, and my girlfriend's laptop.

Our hot water heater uses electricity, but we don't pay for propane so I feel that balances out. I realize that using electricity over propane is more expensive for heating, but if you knew my local propane companies you'd understand. They want a $600 down payment to start service. I told them to pound sand.

Is it really my computer using all this electricity, or do you think it's the heater? I'm not about to turn either one off until I get my next bill to find out. Lol.

Ideas? Any suggestions for saving power or contesting a ridiculously high power bill?


Michael A.
Website: http://itnode.net
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FordGT90Concept Jan 20, 2008, 01:07pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
I use in the neighborhood of 5000 Kw/h a month being all electric. It costs over $100 a month but not too bad...considering.

The water heater will use a lot more than a computer. Also, microwaves, electric ranges, dishwashers, refrigerators, cloth washer/dryer, etc. They all consume a lot of power. It adds up in a hurry.

This site lists a lot of typical power consumptions. Do realize they can vary a lot from device to device though:
http://www.oksolar.com/technical/consumption.html

________________________
If I remember what I forgot, I have not forgotten it.
Jan 20, 2008, 01:47pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
You can get a watt-meter such as http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/kill_a_watt_electric_usage_monitor_review and see what your appliances are using ...

Sean Costello Jan 20, 2008, 01:57pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
I thought this thread was gonna be about PCGEEK at first. :S

______
Story of My Life- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c764JWVt5Fw
john albrich Jan 20, 2008, 06:13pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
My 3 bdrm house used on average about 1200kwH and that was with extensive computerized energy savings systems (e.g. X10 control of water heater, thermostat, etc)

During the summer (100degF not unusual) usage went up to about 2100kwH due to extensive A/C usage (it was also very humid were I used to live) I don't tolerate heat at all well.

The water heater will be a big part of it. My TOTAL kwH usage went down something like 30% when I started controlling just the water heater on/off times with my computer.

Microwave ovens are generally very energy efficient, and usually not used enough to make a huge difference in the bill.

Even using really crude estimates (I don't need no stinkin' meter) can give you enough info to see where you need to focus.

Do some calculations for your computer.
e.g. 700Watts x 24hours/day x 30days ~500kwH

A small heater:
e.g. 1000Watts x 8hours/day x 30days ~250kwH
(8hr/day assumes about 30% duty cycle for on/off cycles with the unit actually being "on" 24 hrs/day)

and so on.


edit to add-
X10 doesn't have to use your computer, so you wouldn't have to keep it on just to control the X10 stuff. It also has a small stand-alone timer that can be used to program X10 device on/off times separately.

john albrich Jan 20, 2008, 06:23pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Michael Adames (Admin) said:
...my local propane companies you'd understand. They want a $600 down payment to start service....


Some of that is due to government fees. You might also check to see if any of that is deductible on taxes. Might be some energy or homeowner's deductions possible. May be fed and state deductions...it varies by state. Might even be some outright credits available if you're in California.

Sometimes, the "start-up" fee (whole or part) can be applied to the homeowner's fuel bill after a certain period of time...many energy company "deposits" are, but they don't advertise that fact. I've seen this period range from 6 months to 2 years, assuming monthly payments have been made regularly and on-time.

leastcmplicated Jan 20, 2008, 08:29pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
I pay around $60/mo more in the summer, this month I used 561KWH. only thing i can suggest is setting your thermostat at 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer. make sure your faucets arent dripping after a shower or using hot water. i keep 2 computers on all the time, so i know its not taking that much energy but you'd be amazed at what a dripping faucet can cost you.

____________________________________
"Log off, that cookies**t makes me nervous" - Tony Soprano
"I don't know what to believe, I just show up and breathe anymore"

ian elliott Jan 20, 2008, 09:57pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Welcome to global warming. The new reason why utilities suppliers can now charge you more for your electricity&gas.

Michael A. Jan 20, 2008, 11:36pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Lots of good replies in here, thanks guys and girl (lol).

I took a look at my water heater and I think that's probably the culprit. I did some rough estimates and was surprised by how much that thing actually uses.

I wish I could get 5,000 kwh for $100. My bill was over $200 for less than 1/5 that.

I think that getting a controller of some kind might be a good idea, and I'll look into what you mentioned, John.

As far as propane goes, it's because the companies here are corrupt. There's only two in my county: they run a monopoly. I have no credit, so they'll charge whatever they want because no one can stop them. Lovely, yes?

Our shower seems to drip a bit more than I'd like and I think that might be adding up to, which I didn't even think about until you mentioned it, Least.

How do you go about insulating a water heater? I think that might help too.

Thanks for all the help so far.

Michael A.
Website: http://itnode.net
Jan 20, 2008, 11:42pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Just be glad you don't live in Hawaii ... prices there are nuts. :X

I just looked at the average prices by state ... California is more than twice the price that we pay in Oregon. :( Yow.

john albrich Jan 21, 2008, 12:37am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Michael Adames (Admin) said:
...How do you go about insulating a water heater? I think that might help too.


It's really easy. "Wrap-around" fiberglass kits are available in many "hardware" stores. They're ok, but some are kind of a kludge (some just expect you to duct-tape the fiberglass sheets around the heater)

You can also do what I did which was to build an external "closet" around the heater. I double-insulated the insides and added some 25cuft of shelving (the wasted space above the water heater) to my utility room at the same time.

Michael A. Jan 21, 2008, 06:45pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
john albrich said:
Michael Adames (Admin) said:
...How do you go about insulating a water heater? I think that might help too.


It's really easy. "Wrap-around" fiberglass kits are available in many "hardware" stores. They're ok, but some are kind of a kludge (some just expect you to duct-tape the fiberglass sheets around the heater)

You can also do what I did which was to build an external "closet" around the heater. I double-insulated the insides and added some 25cuft of shelving (the wasted space above the water heater) to my utility room at the same time.


And there's no real heat or electrical danger from storing things near the heater? I might go that route now that I finally have a proper garage and workshop set up.

Michael A.
Website: http://itnode.net
john albrich Jan 21, 2008, 09:20pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Michael Adames (Admin) said:
...And there's no real heat or electrical danger from storing things near the heater?...


There wasn't with my electrical water heater. Everything was well protected and the only source of heat is located internally to the tank (unlike a gas water heater). The only things I had to make sure remained un-affected were the automatic shut-off and the pressure-relief valve.

You can close off the top perhaps 10cm or so above the water heater (depending on interference) and leave any added shelving above that exposed to open air if you wish...to help keep things cool. But, I just stored things above the heater that wouldn't mind a little extra warmth. It never even got as hot as my attic in that small shelf space I created above the heater...so anything that would survive the attic would easily survive there.

A_Pickle Jan 21, 2008, 11:58pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Michael Adames (Admin)
I wish I could get 5,000 kwh for $100. My bill was over $200 for less than 1/5 that.


Hooray for inefficient power grids! :(

Michael A. Jan 22, 2008, 01:37am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
A_Pickle said:
Michael Adames (Admin)
I wish I could get 5,000 kwh for $100. My bill was over $200 for less than 1/5 that.


Hooray for inefficient power grids! :(


I think it's a bit more than that, really.

Our local power company runs a monopoly, so just like the propane, they'll charge what they want. On top of that, California has been having energy issues for years. Our prices are significantly higher than most states in the country.

Michael A.
Website: http://itnode.net
A_Pickle Jan 22, 2008, 01:48am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Well, I'm saying that... if we had a more efficient power grid, states could share power more easily. Get a solar panel on your roof and a wind generator -- if you can generate more power than you use, and contribute BACK to the power grid, they pay you. :D

KM Jan 22, 2008, 03:26am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
"Well, I'm saying that... if we had a more efficient power grid, states could share power more easily. Get a solar panel on your roof and a wind generator -- if you can generate more power than you use, and contribute BACK to the power grid, they pay you."

And you get a huge tax break for solar and wind power set-ups. $5,000 each on your state taxes.

When I die, I want my last words to be, "WTF?!"
FordGT90Concept Jan 22, 2008, 03:37am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
Considering how much you're paying, they should be way on top of the energy crisis in California. I smell a scam and it could be mostly because of environmentalist pressures.

My power comes from three coal plants about 60 miles away which get their supply on train from Wyoming, Montana, or Colorado which is 800-1000 miles away. There's a monopoly here too because you can only get power from the company that has a line going past your residence. If memory serves, I think I pay about $135~ for 5000-6000 kw/hr. per month. Something is definitely up.

________________________
If I remember what I forgot, I have not forgotten it.
KM Jan 22, 2008, 04:15am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
California's extremely high energy rates are solely due to the former govenor. In his infinite wisdom (most likely huge kick-backs and bribes involved), California residents pay up to 5 times the price of energy compared to other states. This occurred when energy suppliers to this state created a false energy crisis. The people of California, in the usual knee-jerk fashion, demanded that the governor do something about this little farce, believing it to be a real crisis. So the governor signed a guarantee of payment to these companies at 3-5 times the prior rates. The persons squarely behind the governor, and duped all the way, were the environmentalists. They supported the governor in this illegal endevor to achieve their goal of reducing energy usage. And since the end always justifies the means ;-) , they backed him thinking this will reduce energy usage via economics. Guess what, it worked! We do use 25-30% less energy in homes and businesses.
The end result is actually NOT beneficial to the environment though. Now, the energy companies are using this huge windfall to invest in more off-shore drilling, pounding the congress with bribes and lobbyists to open Alaska up for drilling, etc. ad nauseum.

Always follow the money trail.

When I die, I want my last words to be, "WTF?!"
FordGT90Concept Jan 22, 2008, 05:31am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
It makes way too much sense. Most prominent people reside in California (e.g. directors, actors/actresses, political figures, business men/women, etc.) and a very large chunk of those are tree huggers participating in PETA and the like. Fame + money + "a cause" = havoc. No state is even half as strict on anything as California is. I suggest that if you don't want to be the target of extortionate, environmental centric behavior, move elsewhere.

________________________
If I remember what I forgot, I have not forgotten it.
Michael A. Jan 22, 2008, 06:01am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: I hope you die, PG&E.
FordGT90Concept said:
It makes way too much sense. Most prominent people reside in California (e.g. directors, actors/actresses, political figures, business men/women, etc.) and a very large chunk of those are tree huggers participating in PETA and the like. Fame + money + "a cause" = havoc. No state is even half as strict on anything as California is. I suggest that if you don't want to be the target of extortionate, environmental centric behavior, move elsewhere.


Are you kidding me!? Not all Californians can be grouped into one category and assumed to be all the same. To even say that, well honestly...I find it extremely offensive.

Wow. Just wow.

Michael A.
Website: http://itnode.net

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