Half Moon Bay Review
 
 
 
 
 
TalkAbout Start a topic Login Create Login Forgot Password  
All Categories Around Town Elections Entertainment/Dining Schools
City Council Environment Sports Beyond the Coastside Catch All
Clay Lambert's Blog Mark Foyer's Blog Stacy Trevenon's blog Mark Noack's blog Bill Murray's Blog

What do you pay PG&E per month?

My bill was $422 this month! The electricity alone was $344!! We have been battling this dilemma for 10 years now. PG&E is of no help, of course. We've replaced the dishwasher and 2 years ago we replaced the water heater with a gas one...the bill reduced a little, but not much. We have a brand new 2008 high efficiency washer. The heating is central gas. The stove is gas. We only use the electric oven 3 times a week. We have no other major appliances other than the fridge which is 3 years old...yes it is Energy Star. We've asked neighbors about their bills....some have a 2nd freezer in their garage and still they pay several hundred less than we do! We've even shut off the breakers to see if the meter moves thinking perhaps someone else is hooked up to us. There is not. We are a single story home under 1800 sq ft! We have TV's and computers, but this seems extreme. What gives? Any one else with similar bills?


Comments

Are you on a well? Check your system. A running toilet will kill you!


Looks like there is a problem here. With the amount of costs you

are billed with; a professionl needs to look at your energy loads

and billings.Not to fix and report back what the results were would

be not right..TRK


Homeowner, here are some things to consider:

1. Make sure your meter is accurate

2. Turn off lights (replace with compact florescent bulbs - This can save $20 per mo)

3. Consider a water heater blanket and turn down the water temp. (This could save a lot)

4. Unplug appliances at night (this can save on trickle charges)

5. Turn computers off when not in use and adjust your computer settings to go into sleep

mode after 20 min.

You may find these simple changes are worth more than $50 per mo!


My bill was $118 this month. One other thing to try is programming your heater thermostat so that it comes on in the morning to take the chill off the house, but then stays off the rest of the day. A heater running all day and night can run your bill up that high.


No well. Computers have sleep schedules. We've done the eco-bulbs but for some reason they don't last very long. The water heater, which is gas, is wrapped with insulation. I signed up for PG&E's online account analysis and it says our gas usage is average but our electric is almost double the average! Anyone have a suggestion for a professional that can look things over for us?


...and we also have a programmed thermostat for the heater which we program to be off most of the day. However, since that is gas I doubt it's the source of the problem.


No dishwasher, line dry all clothes, propane cook stove, electric water heater, 1300 sq ft house, wood heat. No natural gas. PG&E bill averages $50/mo. The bill for our water pump (supplies more than one family) is an additional $5/mo.

We do have a larger baseline allowance because of the electric baseboard heaters (unused by us) and electric water heater that were installed when the house was built.

Our neighbor, who has an electric clothes dryer and knows how to use it, television that is on all day, yet has a propane water heater and cook stove pays around $90/mo.


We never notified PG&E about the gas water heater and the electric heaters that we took out when we bought the house in '99, so our baseline is higher than it should be. Still we are tiered for higher rates because of our usage. Wish we could afford to switch to solar!


Did you mean "gouged", rather than "gauged?" Anyway, we had PG&E do an energy audit many years ago and they sent someone out who did a comprehensive audit of our energy consumption. We also are on time of use, which means that energy used between Noon and 6 PM on weekdays costs more. We have LP gas for water heater, stove (cooking) and furnace (only used during the winter months.) Family of 5, 2000 sf house, typical monthly bill around $50-$60. FWIW


Yes I meant gouged...spelling isn't one of my strengths. ;-) I called PG&E several times in the past and they would only do a phone analysis. Don't know that time of use would benefit us now because our highest consumption is during those hours.


I'm guessing you don't see a seasonal variation on your bill so are pretty sure it has nothing to do with heating the house? (and PG&E is not averaging your bill for you?)

We had a bad sump pump last year that drove our electric bill up an extra $75 per month until it finally burned itself out. New one is much nicer on the PG&E bill. Drove us mad for a couple of months trying to find the problem, which became obvious when the pump burned out.

Still, gas and electric combined are pushing $120/month


It appears that you are one of the PG&E customers who has been selected to receive an advance notice of the amount everyone's "normal" bill will total after the carbon tax, cap and trade, greenhouse gas tax, etc. are fully implemented by out state officials to satisfy Al Gore.


Have to admit we are not very good when it comes to conserving energy, but our bill only runs about $180-$250 per month (most recent was $180). We keep heat at 68 degrees or higher at all times, do tons of laundry with an electric dryer, have a 20 year old fridge, so I gotta believe there is something wrong with your meter!

(Is it possible the fan is running constantly on your furnace even when the heat is not on? Do you have an older house with single pane windows?)

As an aside, probably about 5-6 years ago, our PGE bill was only show gas charges for a year or two - no electric charges. Obviously a faulty meter that wasn't working. I'd keep on PGE until you get some satisfactio - if they won't come to do an energy audit, maybe call them for something like a pilot light, and then talk to the rep when he is there about the electricity usage.


Unless you have an extra fridge in the garage something does not add up. Are your kids growing a secret herb garden in their closet?


No sump pump. No major seasonal changes....that stopped when we changed our electric water heater to gas and we noticed that it went down during the winter months. As for the advance notice, this has been a problem going on 10 years so it is way advanced! I checked the attic and there's no secret garden up there. The meter was checked a few years ago and PG&E claims there's nothing wrong with it. I'm wondering if old wiring could be enough to cause this? Like a short in a wire somewhere that we can't see? I have the breakers turned off where there used to be wall heaters. We do tend to blow bulbs pretty quickly which makes me reluctant to buy the more expensive eco-bulbs.....they blow too. Last summer we had a $262 bill even tho I was away with my kids the entire month and my husband was only home sleeping 7pm to 6am. PG&E says I could pay an average monthly of $369 which is about $4500 a year. Half the year my bill is usually around $275, which is still high, but it hits hard when we see a bill like this. It just makes no sense at all.


Could someone, another household(?), be tapping into your line? PG&E really needs to check out your line, internal and external!


Get rid of your TV. Your electric bill will go down and your quality of life will improve.


January 7 to February 6 bill was $69.84 total. The most recent bill is $50. This is a 1500 ft2 older house with old aluminum windows and is poorly insulated. I keep the heat around 62F if I'm here and awake; otherwise it's off. If you want to walk around the house in a tee shirt and bare feet in the winter you're going to have to pay the bill.

The electric blanket saves money by just locally heating what you need (the bed). Seldom-used rooms are not directly heated. We're good about turning out lights (florescents) and drying clothes on a line in the garage when it's warm. The TV is on a couple of hours a day average and there's also another freezer in the garage ( but disconnected this month). We don't use the oven much, gas stove yes. Dryer is electric but I hang clothes to dry in the garage when it's warm enough.


Heating is not the issue. Our gas bill has always been $60 on average for our heater, gas stovetop and dryer. We have no major appliances, no standing freezer, no major equipment of any kind. We have lights, alarm clocks, TVs and computers. We have an electric oven, coffee maker, microwave and other stuff that rarely get plugged in. That's it. I've done the PG&E calculators assuming everything is on all the time - which they are not - and it still amounts to much less than we get billed. I'm calling PG&E again today to discuss but I am not hopeful.


$422.00 is what I pay in summer and I am in the Central Vallel with AC. You really need to look into that... PG&E are not good helpers.

Also do you have a freezer? They say they do not take alot of electricity but they do...


PGE probably does not like me. Of course one does not need an AC

in HMB in the summer. So now we must address heating in the winter.

The comments about heating blankets are good. My wall heater has

not been used in years. The real deal is do not use what one does

not need. The utility costs that have been been posted on this

blog are avoidable. TRK


Sounds like someone is tapping into your electricity somehow...

Another suggestion is to use 'switched' power strips for the computer and for cell phone chargers. Even in 'sleep mode' computers suck power and chargers suck power all the time. If you use the power strips with a switch you can easily shut down power to a group of appliances/computers/chargers overnight or when not in use during the day.


Dear Gouged PG&E, I'm not an electrician but agree something is very wrong. Is it possible something beyond the breaker is grounding? Can't PG&E send a electrician on a possible fire hazard? Sometimes using the "safety card" brings results (and it sounds legitimate here).


Unplug everything in the house (everything!!!). Turn off all wall switches. Then go to the meter and see if it's turning. If it is, there's either a neighbor getting "free" electricity after your circuit breakers, or there's some electricity-hogging item in your house of which you are unaware. If it's not turning, then something(s) you own is(are) a energy hog and you should re-plug one-at-a-time to find it(them).

I have loads of AV equipment and several computers all in the standby mode 24-hours/day, and we burn a 60-watt bulb 24-hours a day in the master closet (to limit mold), and our electricity bill is always below $100.

By the way, if you had a short in your wiring, the circuit breakers would "break", or you'd have a fire.


"We've done the eco-bulbs but for some reason they don't last very long."

That's a worry. Maybe you've got a floating ground or similar. I had a problem with the ground wire being effectively broken because the builders had spliced the main ground wire (!) and over time the splice corroded. The voltage wasn't stable and damaged some appliances. Anyway, maybe your house has a basic wiring issue.


there has to be a problem somewhere. i have the same size house and pay 1/4 of what you do, or less. would an electrician be able to help???


Just got off the phone with PG&E and they agreed that there is something wrong. I told them about the bulbs blowing and the fact that people with comparable homes and lifestyles are significantly less on the bills than us. They are suggesting that since this an older house it has something to do with the wiring or the breaker box and I need an electrician to check it all out but that is not something they can provide. I now need to find someone competent and thorough. The last 2 guys were no help....one nearly burned down our house! Back to square one... :(

Already Conserving, how did you discover the broken ground wire in your house? I wouldn't know what to look for! We plan to try a breaker test one at a time for each part of the house and each electrical item tomorrow.


Something is wrong, meters tend to slow down not run faster.....something in your house is using the KWH do you own investigation if you do not think PG&E is helping you. If this was a one time thing confirms your reads are correct. DO you have any electric hter going, hot tub running......call PG&E and demand a high bill investigation and do not take no for an answer. Get names and ask for supervisor. I did High Bill investigations for many years and 99% it is something that the customer is doing. Meters can be tested for accuracy but was very rare to find a fast running meter. If there is any construction going on in a lot near yours be sure they are not using your electric. Was this a sudden jump? You did not get one of those Amish heaters did you, they are killing folks with the amount of energy they are using. Good Luck, let us know what happens. PG&E offers this service, do not hire an electrician until they come out for free and investigate!!!! Keep asking for a supervisor. mgr etc till you get the help you need. This is why I retired. PG&E never ever should troubleshoot over the phone. I have had a yellow band around my gas meter for 2 months and just found out it signals a gas leak at the meter! That used to be a big deal! Crazy


If you have a home with bad electrical ciruits one can have a problem.

All aluminum wiring is a problem if the wiring is not terminated

properly. Aluminum oxide is not a conductor and will arc when a

power load gets too high. Any person who has a 1970's house should

hire a a professionl to reterminate all connections and coat it with

the proper product which will prevent aluminum oxidation. TRK


I think the original symptom was the microwave breaking, and the refrigerator acting up.

A friend who knows what he's doing measured the voltage fluctuation through the wall sockets... I -THINK- (I'll ask him as soon as I can). Please try to find a licensed electrician though.

You're right, PG&E is responsible for electricity TO your house, but not in it (except they take care of furnace pilot lights, right?)


A.

Let us get the ducks in order here. PGE has used aluminum for undergroud to our cheap houses. The breakers that they have in

in the streets are in the thousands of amps. PGE does their thing

for the power to the power meter. If they mess up and burn your

house down caused by a bad aluminum termination only your insurance

company has the resources to take on PGE.

B.

Inside your house you may have aluminum from your meter to your breakerbox and to your electric stove and more. A home owner is

going to have to deal with this. If the lights fligger when the

electic stove is turned on..call a electrian because you are in

trouble. TRK


"Just got off the phone with PG&E and they agreed that there is something wrong. I told them about the bulbs blowing and the fact that people with comparable homes and lifestyles are significantly less on the bills than us. They are suggesting that since this an older house it has something to do with the wiring or the breaker box and I need an electrician to check it all out but that is not something they can provide. I now need to find someone competent and thorough. The last 2 guys were no help....one nearly burned down our house! Back to square one..."

I don't usually comment on talkabout, but maybe you have a "loose neutral"

My father in law was a distribution engineer for PG&E. He not only saved me and my family (more than once), he also saved a friend who had been pulling his hair out for years with system problems that sound just like yours.

Loose neutrals are more common here on the coastside than other places on account of the salt air.

I hope this helps....................................JB


A few years ago they had to replace the transformer outside my house because of corrosion. They also replaced my meter about 6 months ago for the same reason. I will try another call to PG&E to ask about a loose neutral....although I don't know exactly what that is. Thank you JB.


Did some research on the loose neutrals and it very well could be that. I will call PG&E in the morning as well as seek out a good electrician. Seems we should really have the entire circuitry looked at. Thanks again.


Yes, an open nuetral can be very messy. A failed nuetral at an

industrial plant that this person worked at costed big dollars

in ruined equipment. HP and Tectronx test equipment are very expensive

to fix. The bottom line is to have your home inspected and have any

aluminum termiations properly maintained. Bad aluminum terminations

can burn down your house. With the salty air and high humidity on the

coastside one should address this issue. TRK


Add a comment

Please login to comment on this topic.

Login Here

Create a Login

Powered by Podium