Thursday, January 24, 2008

Heating Costs Soaring

I noticed from Richard Marks' blog that I'm not the only one freaking about heating costs this winter. By coincidence, the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat had a story this morning on heating costs. One of the comments on Richard's blog was wondering if the prices had been raised. According to the PG&E guy quoted in the Press- Democrat article, the prices haven't gone up. The soaring bills are a result of soaring heater usage.

My last bill was for $132- the highest PG&E bill I've ever received living at this house. Unfortunately, I think that might have been for less than a full month as I changed the way I heat my house a couple months ago and the change was made during the middle of the month. I feel pretty good when I hear what some others have been paying, but I won't be surprised if I end up right up with them when I get my next bill.

23 Comments:

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PG&E's "balanced payment plan" lets customers pay the same amount each month. It balances out over time, and prevents the very high bills of winter. I use it. It rocks! You can ask for it, too.

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Price cord of firewood lately?

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just heard the newly elected Mayor of Eureka, Virginia Bass,is running against Board of Supervisor, Jimmy Smith. Has the economy improved in Eureka in the last year? All I see is small are business closing down.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I think there was a notice from PGE recently regarding a rate increase.

 
At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our heat bill usually is high as we keep the temp the same day and night and turn it down only when out of town. Bought one of those Eden Pure heaters and it doesn't seem to heat and just runs constantly to even change one room 1 degree.

Do you qualify for a medical rate? Have to get a form from PG&E and have a doctor sign that you need extra heat for a health issue. Gives higher baseline which is the cheaper rate.

 
At 11:30 AM, Blogger Fred said...

"Our heat bill usually is high as we keep the temp the same day and night and turn it down only when out of town.".

That's what I started doing around November of last year. I used to just keep the thermostat turned off and only turn it on when I was freezing or needed to do something like take a shower. Then I'd put it on full blast for an hour or so.

Problem was, the house was always real cold that way, but I was kind of used to it and would just wear multiple sweatshirts and such.

Finally, last November, I realized the super cold air was giving me earaches and a slightly sore throat when I'd sleep at night. I finally set the thermostat so it was on all the time with it set between 55 at night and up to 60 when I was up and around.

Heater runs a lot now but the house is warmer. The wife made the point that, if the heater is off all the time, things in the house (like the table this computer is on) acquire the air temperature so they actually help make the house colder. If you raise the average house temperature, the furniture and everything else warms up, too, so it doesn't cool off so fast.

I'm afraid that's going to be very expensive. I haven't yet received my first bill for running the heater like that, I don't think. That half month, or so, when I started doing it cost $132. That's a lot for me but I could live with that to stay warm.

And yes, I am on that poor people's savings program- Lifeline, or whatever it's called.

 
At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, the "balanced payment plan" means you pay the same amount every month. People at any financial level can use it. Lifeline is a different program, designed to help people with lower incomes.

 
At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two programs - Lifeline or something that sounds like that and also a Medical exemption. I seem to remember the Lifeline gets some sort of discount but the Medical actually increases the baseline on both gas and electric so you pay a cheaper rate for lots more gas & elec and then you go to the next step in rates and if you go over that one you are in the high priced bracket. Might want to ask someone at PG&E especially if you could qualify under a medical exemption with your wife's treatents which is better.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Understood. I considered the balanced payment plan some time ago but decided against it. I guess because, despite high bills in the winter, I like getting the smaller ones in the summer.

If my bills go too high from my running the heater all the time now, I might have to go to the balanced payment plan.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I don't know if the previous rumor is true regarding the Mayor of Eureka running against Jimmy, but I know I stand with Jimmy!

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Jimmy going to run again??

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Carol wrote, "but I know I stand with Jimmy!".

Of course you do. He's a Democrat.

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And a damn fine Democrat, too.

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I know a lot of republicans that support Jimmy,too, Fred.

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I don't think this rumor is true. Virgina is good friends with Jimmy. They celebrate election night together, that is what Jimmy once told me.

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger lodgepole said...

Best Supervisor in the bunch. A damn good man. Smith should stay, the rest should go.

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Nobody works harder for his constituents than Jimmy Smith. If I contacted him about a downed road sign the other day and it was back up when I got home. Most people know Jimmy is one of the good guys.

 
At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get back to the problem of heating the house during these cold winter nights.

I used to follow the conservation guidelines by setting the thermostat back at night. But then in the morning, it took two hours for the house to warm up. What's the point of saving money if you are freezing your backside off every morning for two hours?

So this week, we've been keeping the heat on at a comfortable temperature all night. No more freezing mornings for us.

And when the PG&E bill arrives next month, we will find out if it was an expensive decision. Wish us luck!

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Good luck, 8:09.

We keep the thermostat at 60 at night. We have a fire in the woodstove that we start in the afternoon after work and keep stoked until bedtime. The heater usually turns on around 4 AM. We turn the heater off during the days we are working. Lately, when we come home the house is in the chilly 50's. The little old lady who built the house with her husband in the 1950's kept the house at 72 F, as she kept it marked on the thermostat. She was in her eighties when we bought the home.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Fred said...

72 degrees!!! Yikes! I know I used to do an old in law's lawn some years ago. She used to keep her thermostat way up there. Felt like 80 to me.

I'd get done with her lawn and she'd always invite me inside the house to chat while she wrote me a check. It was stifling since I was already hot and sweaty from working outside.

And good luck, 8:09. I'm afraid of what my bill will look like, as well. I usually keep my thermostat below 60 now but the heater comes on all the time. But like you say, at least your not freezing.

I used to get a bit miffed with my utility bill just from how rarely I used my heater. It would usually double or more during a cold winter. I wouldn't of minded the bill so much, but I was freezing in my house more than I was warm. Just how high a bill will be worth it just to stay warm remains to be seen for me.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Pogo said...

It is not likely to improve as far as energy costs are concerned. No new supplies are allowed to be tapped such as nuke or fossil even though their availability is proven. At least during cold weather (soon to vanish according to Owl Gore) you can add more layers of clothing. Those who need energy for cooling however are SOL. Welcome to the wonderful world of the eco nazis.

 
At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My house was "zipped" (insulated) by PG&E in the 1970's by a previous owner. Even so, heat used to pour out of our big picture window and the other windows too, every time the temperature dropped. No matter how high we set the thermostat, we froze.

Last Fall, we put new vinyl double-paned windows in to replace 1/3rd of the old windows. Now, the house stays much warmer, even when the temperature drops WAY down, the way it has been doing lately. We'll probably save money, and we know for sure that the house is much more comfortable.

 
At 7:10 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

During winters in our Weitchpec house when we had 5'X10' single pane windows on the west side we would go through just under 12 cords of wood per season. When we replaced the windows with double pane vinyl frame of the same size, the wood consumption went down to just over 6 cords per season.

 

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