Saturday, October 10, 2009

Energy Savings: A Comparison

I received an almost unpleasant surprise yesterday. My bill from PG&E showed up in my inbox and it was over double last month's bill. How could that be, I asked myself? Did they raise rates as I thought they were going to do? Nope. Turned out I neglected to pay last month's bill so I had to pay for two months.

Whew! Close one.

But it got me to thinking. I mentioned earlier this summer that we'd been chosen by PG&E to participate in a program they had to promote energy efficiency for poorer people's homes- us being on their poor people's program. They had some contractors show up and put in weatherstripping, replace light bulbs and such.

So, this last bill showed around $22.00 total for both electric and gas with the usual nickel and dime fees added in. Pretty good compared to most people's but, it seemed to me, our bill was usually close to that this time of year, anyway. With the energy efficiency work by the PG&E contractors, I wondered how this year's bill would compare to last year's for the same billing period.

Turns out I was wrong about the bills being about the same. PG&E has a bill comparison application on their web page (you'll have to register and log in to the page to use it). You can pick a billing period from this year and compare it to last year's. They even break it down further and tell you why your bills differ. Here's what mine showed:

This year's: 9/11/09- Total bill: $22.50
Last year's: 9/9/08- Total bill: $40.87
A difference of $18.37 lower than last year's.

Here's how they explain the difference:

Gas rate changes ( they provide a link to show the difference in prices) caused an $8.00 decrease in the bill. That confirms recent news that natural gas prices are lower now.

Gas usage decreased, contributing to savings of $5.00: .45 therms this year to .56 therms/ day last year. That could be the result of at least some of the energy efficiency work they did although I wouldn't be surprised if some of our lifestyle changes contributed- taking fewer showers being an example.

Electricity usage per day contributed to $4.00 less than last year's bill: 5kwh/ day to 6.59 kwh/day last year. That could be the result of some of the energy efficiency work, too.

Shorter billing period for gas this year saved us $2.00.
Shorter billing period for electricity saved us $1.00.

Definitely some savings there from the energy efficient upgrades. More so than I think could be credited to lifestyle changes alone. The real test should come this December and January when we're running the heater a lot. It will be nice to see a big difference in heating costs then but I'm not counting on it.



At 12:37 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

Hopefully the same trend will continue. We are having to crank up the wood stove already, but our last electric bill was around $40, so you are doing good!

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots to think about there, Fred.

These days, I'm taking fewer showers and standing farther away from people when I go about doing my business around town. So far, no one has wrinkled their nose at me, so I think my new plan is working well.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I used to try and not take showers more than every other day. Saves both water and gas. Now I'm getting to the point where it's maybe 2 showers a week, although if I get really dirty I'll break down and take an extra one.

Connie has never complained about any smells, although she's complained in the past sometimes about my feet (or socks) smelling, but that was even when I took showers more often.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try moisture-wicking socks, Fred. Dry feet are usually not stinky feet.


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