Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

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ladycat
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Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

Post by ladycat » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:57 pm

Any chance a neighboring appartment had work done and they mistakenly tapped into your utilities?

bloom2708
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Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:58 pm

Could any outside outlets be tied to your electric meter?

Any plugins in the garage or outside outlets? Could someone be "borrowing" electricity to charge an electric vehicle? Any remodels or updates to the building that could be using electricity?

We have 2 Kill-O-Watt devices. Could your time of use have changed? More day rate (higher) vs night rate (lower)?

Any desktop PCs that may not be sleeping and be running more than they should? I had an old desktop with 3 fans that would cost $20/month as it would wake up at night and then the 3 fans would blast away.

Hopefully you figure it out.
"People want confirmation, not advice" Unknown | "We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you" Unknown | Four words. Whole food, plant based. Bing it.

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baconavocado
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Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

Post by baconavocado » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:15 pm

These are issues that caused our utility rates to increase in the past and were kind of hard to track down:

1 - In one house, our heat/ac registers were mounted high on the wall in a house with vaulted ceilings. The flexible ducts were attached to the registers with duct tape. The duct tape failed in the hot environment of the attic and the ducts fell off the registers, blowing conditioned air into the attic instead of the house.

2 - In another house, the neighbor had owned and remodeled our house a few years before we bought it. The houses were close together and they had wired their walkway lights into our electric panel. When they installed new lights, our electric bill increased.

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dm200
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

Post by dm200 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:44 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:58 pm
Could any outside outlets be tied to your electric meter?

Any plugins in the garage or outside outlets? Could someone be "borrowing" electricity to charge an electric vehicle? Any remodels or updates to the building that could be using electricity?

We have 2 Kill-O-Watt devices. Could your time of use have changed? More day rate (higher) vs night rate (lower)?

Any desktop PCs that may not be sleeping and be running more than they should? I had an old desktop with 3 fans that would cost $20/month as it would wake up at night and then the 3 fans would blast away.

Hopefully you figure it out.
yes .. some folks are clever..

mpnret
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun May 20, 2018 9:16 am

Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

Post by mpnret » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:41 pm

I think the first thing you need to do is verify you have increased consumption for electric and/or gas and how much and also verify that consumption is not because of colder weather. I may have missed it but I didn't see what gas and electric company you have in NJ. All the bigger ones like PSE&G, JCP&L, etc have your bills online so you can log onto your account and do some analysis. They also provide the average degree days in a billing cycle. Look at months from last year that had the same average degree days and compare them to this year. This way you will know if you have a consumption issue or just colder weather. Think consumption not cost.
If it's a consumption issue with both electric and gas I would expect the heater is the problem. It consumes both electric and gas. Plugged filters, leaking ducts or whatever.
If it's more of a electric consumption problem you could get a Kill-A-Watt meter at Home Depot for about $20. and check all 110V plug in electric items for issues. I can't think of many common items in an apartment that would cause a noticable problem other than the refrigerator but this will help you eliminate some items. Is your water heater gas or electric? If electric it will be 220V so the Kill-A-Watt won't help you there.
The fact that you don't have access to your meter is an issue. My bet is (as a previous poster already mentioned) that someone is tapped into your line either intentionally or by accident. You would need your electric company to prove that. Could be one of your maintenance guys. Intentionally is theft. You need to do your homework first.

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dm200
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

Post by dm200 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:23 pm

Probably unlikely - but possible - that something outside your individual apartment has been connected to your billing service. Maybe lights in a common stair/hall way or some kind of heating unit. If so, it might be an error OR something intentional.

Many years ago, one of my coworkers bought a new, single family home in a new subdivision. He was very, very detailed about his expenditures/budget - even though he had a good income. By reading all the fine print in all his homeowner and utility documents, as well as his watching his electrical usage, the street lights in the development/subdivision were connected into the service of the nearest home. One (of many) thing that angered him was that not all homes had street lights connected.

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