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help with utility bill
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: September 13, 2018 09:08AM
So my last utility bill was $142. My current bill is $269!!

I looked through my account history dating back to when we moved into our new home in 2016 and the highest my bill has been is $185.

Naturally I figured my upstairs AC unit had been running more than it should. We have bonus room thats on its own unit. Coincidentally, my Nest usage report I got just a few days ago stated we used 31 hours LESS energy than last time. So I'm stumped.

Duke Energy said they'd have someone come out and check the meter but I'm skeptical that will result in anything other than a shoulder shrug.

So what else can i look at? Malfunctioning appliance? How do I check to see if my dryer (for example) is pulling more power than it should?




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Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 13, 2018 09:17AM
Rate changes ?
Dryers clog with lint and that reduces airflow and drying efficiency.
Refrigerators have sealing problems or defrosting water draining issues.
AC units lose refrigerant pressure and become less effective. They also get clogged with dust / lint and lose efficiency.
AC units also have

While you can use a Kill-a-Watt on any 120 VAC device, they won't help with 240VAC split phase devices. You can use a ammeter to get an idea of consumption, but that will require you to get into the breaker box and clamp the ammeter onto the wires one at a time. That makes most people nervous, and rightfully so.

Good luck !
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 13, 2018 09:25AM
What he said. Kill a watt may help with 120V appliances but good luck with 240V.

You didn’t get a Tesla by any chance, did you?
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: 3d
Date: September 13, 2018 09:27AM
Did last month's bill payment go through?
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: MindMeld
Date: September 13, 2018 09:59AM
Good point 3d. It's happened to me when my check didn't get credited until after the billing period ended. I finally noticed an "unpaid balance" from the previous month.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: September 13, 2018 10:05AM
Quote
3d
Did last month's bill payment go through?

Believe me. That was my first thought. Even though I got a thank you email for paying the last bill, my initial thought was that must be for TWO bills. But nope. Its one.

And I would think if something is broken. An appliance or whatever. And it's broken enough to consume THAT much power. Then over the course of the month, the problem would manifest itself in some other way. i.e. something in the house would just stop working. The fridge. The dryer. Whatever.




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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 13, 2018 10:21AM
What type of energy is this? Electric, Gas, or both?

Do you have smart digital meters that are read remotely, or do they send a human out to read them visually?

Maybe they hadn't been able to read the meter for a few months and were estimating low, then finally read it and caught up with actual usage. Also read your own meter to see if it might be below what their reading said, possibly if someone misread one digit.

If you have smart meters, usually the website for your account can show you usage info down to the hour and a very long history so you can fairly easily spot days that had unusual usage and think about what was going on? If the Nest saves daily history it may help in comparing.

And first focus on the usage in KWH/Therms or whatever units they use to understand that and see if the energy usage pattern really changed significantly. Also see what your energy usage per day is to compare to other bills, the number of days in a billing cycle can vary slightly.

Then focus on the cost for that amount of energy. Is it a constant cost per unit or do they have a sliding scale, where it increases as you cross certain thresholds, or possibly based on time of day, or season. Or as mentioned, they're some additional charge like a previous month's bill.

Lots of info in those bills and on your account website, you just need to do a bit of math to really understand what's going on. A spreadsheet can be helpful in computing all of the statistics starting with just the meter read date, meter reading, and dollar cost for each billing period.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: clay
Date: September 13, 2018 10:22AM
does your utility show you online your hourly usage? My small local electric co-op has online account page where you can see your hourly usage. I can see when we plugin our EV or when our water heater runs at night after showers, etc. Do you have something similar? If you see some big spikes, perhaps you can do some sleuthing to see what is causing the spikes, etc.

Good luck.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: 3d
Date: September 13, 2018 10:36AM
Quote
GGD
Maybe they hadn't been able to read the meter for a few months and were estimating low, then finally read it and caught up with actual usage.

In lieu of a missed payment, this might be a good lead. Your current bill is for last month — August. Peak summer energy usage. Maybe it's a badly estimated monthly usage algorithm the utility used. And it'll "correct" out in the coming months with the next physical meter reading. I don't think one wonky appliance will jack up your bill to that degree.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: billb
Date: September 13, 2018 10:42AM
A/C pumps the electric bill up here a LOT.
We've had a fridge pump up the bill a lot too, not noticing how much it had been running until it got so warm it wasn't keeping ice cream frozen. (no A/C then)
A new fridge cut the bill in half and the electric company replaced the meter shortly after. (went from $75 to $30 )

with rate changes here I compare kWh not $.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2018 10:43AM by billb.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 13, 2018 11:19AM
My moms fridge went bad and her bill went from $35 (seriously $35) to $185 one month. We replaced it and she went down to $28 the next month. It was just running almost continuously.

I noticed you had Duke Energy, unless your online access is different than mine, don't expect to get anything useful there. It gives last months bill and that is about it.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: September 13, 2018 11:51AM
I'd like to help, but I'm a little short myself this month.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: CW2V
Date: September 13, 2018 12:03PM
Misread the first dial on the right, you get a few dollars off, the next one to the left you may be off tens of dollars, next one, hundreds of dollars, etc. Your bill should show the previous read number and the current read number. You can check that to your actual reading and compare.

CW2v
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: September 13, 2018 12:23PM
I will check the meter tonight I suppose.

We are supposed to be getting the digital meters so they can be read by wifi I guess. But until then the meter man is supposed to come out and check it on the 19th. If we wanted someone before that, we'd have to pay.

Our usage only shows the months, then average per day. Not very specific.

And the most current bill is Mid August 9 to Mid September 12. So yes. August included. But I have to say the previous one was mostly July and i think that was hotter. Plus Nest tells me I used 31 LESS hours of AC this month.

In addition. This summer hasn't been any worse than the last. Or the one before. And like I said, the highest my bill has EVER been was $185. That was two years ago.

We've had no difference in usage or anything. I even stepped through Duke's "high energy usage" tool and based on my responses, said my bill should be $2 higher this time. NOT $94!!

I guess, I'll get one of these: [www.amazon.com] to at least check the fridge.




__________________________________
Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2018 12:24PM by bazookaman.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 13, 2018 12:28PM
Quote
bazookaman
And the most current bill is Mid August 9 to Mid September 12.

That was through yesterday, so go out and read your meter now and see how it compares to what they supposedly read yesterday. That will at least tell you if they misread it.

Also try to read your meter every day at about the same time of day to see what your current daily usage is, and how that compares to previous days/months, to know if the problem is still occurring.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: AllGold
Date: September 13, 2018 01:30PM
Is the meter reading on this bill and the previous months shown as "estimated" or "actual"?







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2018 01:31PM by AllGold.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 13, 2018 02:17PM
Quote
CW2V
Misread the first dial on the right, you get a few dollars off, the next one to the left you may be off tens of dollars, next one, hundreds of dollars, etc. Your bill should show the previous read number and the current read number. You can check that to your actual reading and compare.

CW2v

Yes, this could be one possibility. Nice idea!!!
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: CW2V
Date: September 13, 2018 05:28PM
Take a pic and I can read it for you

CW2V
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Re: help with utility
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 13, 2018 05:56PM
Accidentally left your old G5 dual processor tower plugged in?

We were gone two months one summer. We left our air conditioner run to keep the humidity down although we set the thermostat up a few degrees. Our air decided to leak off some freon, just enough so the evaporator iced over. Our bill more than doubled and the house was not cooled. Fortunately it happened near the end of our trip.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2018 05:56PM by Speedy.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: btfc
Date: September 13, 2018 07:59PM
Do you have a well?
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 13, 2018 09:10PM
Quote
btfc
Do you have a well?

??? could the pump run that much?
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: btfc
Date: September 13, 2018 09:30PM
There are several malfunctions that can cause high power use, including a bad pump, bad pressure switch, and bad pressure relief valve.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: rgG
Date: September 14, 2018 08:30AM
Keep us posted on what they say.
Years ago I had to fight with GA Power about the fact that they had my meter and the unit above me backwards. They finally corrected it, but not until after some no nothing lady told me that even though I had cut off the main breaker to my unit and the dial on my meter was still running, "you couldn't just turn the power off, like water." Ugh. Told her it sure was odd that the dial on the unit above me had completely stopped when I threw the switch. RollingEyesSmiley5





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2018 08:35AM by rgG.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: September 14, 2018 07:22PM
So I took a look at my meter this evening. Turns out I now have a new fangled digital one. I know I didn't have that last time and i cannot make heads or tails of what it is telling me. Hopefully this link works. Its a video of it going through its various screens...whatever they mean...

[www.dropbox.com]




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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 14, 2018 07:36PM
All I get from that video is that you've used 774 kWh since the meter was installed. That and it seems to be syncing to the network.
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: CW2V
Date: September 14, 2018 07:46PM
That's alien to me. I left before they rolled out the digital ones.

I'd say the 000774, is the odometer of reading (total used since install). I doubt they set the digital meter to the last read of the analog one, so it started at zero. The sync net is probably the remote read. If you have an electric water heater or something like that, that could be charged at a different rate so maybe level 3 is a different tier?

Anyway, they might not have changed the meter on the same day or even week of your normal read, so you could've had a partial read last month.

Or you got a lemon meter.

CW2V
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Re: help with utility bill
Posted by: billb
Date: September 15, 2018 12:45AM
we have a digital meter and yeah 774 is the cume since install
mine doesn't flash sync net and we still have a driver in a truck slowly driving up the street once a month doing a read - it is radio so he doesn't have to stop
next town over has the wifi system (no driver in a truck)
I think they have a wifi system for the water meter as well.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]
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