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As of November 30th, we have incurred $875.84 in electricity costs year to date for our primary residence. This is roughly $80 per month. We live in a detached two-story, four bedroom house that is about 2500 square feet.

I am curious how we measure up to other families. We try to be conscious of not being wasteful.
 

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Way too much!!!! I spend about $180 per month. I think it because of all the computers around here. We have about five running at all times.

I am also self employed so work from home as well which adds to the costs.
 

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Calgary 2300 sqft ( includes finished basement ) we pay avg 169 per month, works out to 2028. now that includes 70 per month for water and sewer tax, so 2028 - (70 * 12 ) = 1188, and also we have recycling/garbage tax of 12 per month, 1188 -144 = 1044 per year.
 

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My average is about $50 a month between Oct - June and about $75 between July - Sep.
It is one of my pet peeves that so little of the bill is actual usage - the majority is delivery charges and junk fees.
In ONT, we have the additional, "debt retirement charge" of the now defunct Ontario Hydro Corp. which our generations (and a couple more to come) will be bearing for the follies of the past.
Anyhow, last year I embarked on a consumption reduction spree and was disappointed that all my best efforts led to less than $10 difference in the overall bill.
However, since then our household consumption has reduced by close to 25%.
I can only hope that it has helped the environment, even though it may not have helped my bottom line much.

Earlier this year, our hydo company instituted the time-slot based billing.
This means that families that have one partner stay home are penalized than those families where both members work.
For example in summer, the air condition runs during the peak hrs.
Because consumption is not the main component of the bill, this has not made a significant difference, however, the bill has gone up slightly since the new meters were installed.

Overall, the consumption is about 25% of the bill.

For comparison purposes, we live in a 1,300 sq. home in central Ontario.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
last year I embarked on a consumption reduction spree and was disappointed that all my best efforts led to less than $10 difference in the overall bill.
However, since then our household consumption has reduced by close to 25%.
I can only hope that it has helped the environment, even though it may not have helped my bottom line much.

Earlier this year, our hydo company instituted the time-slot based billing.
This means that families that have one partner stay home are penalized than those families where both members work.
For example in summer, the air condition runs during the peak hrs.
Because consumption is not the main component of the bill, this has not made a significant difference, however, the bill has gone up slightly since the new meters were installed.

Overall, the consumption is about 25% of the bill.

For comparison purposes, we live in a 1,300 sq. home in central Ontario.

We have been uber-diligent about our consumption as well, and it is frustrating when that diligence isn't reflected on the total cost. Our provider installed smart meters in our community over a year ago, but they haven't been turned on yet, so I can't say yet whether it will make a difference.

I stay home, but I don't run the a/c or the furnace when I am alone in the house. I don't like a/c and it seems a waste to heat a whole house for one person.

Regarding the other charges on our most recent bill: the delivery charge, debt retirement, regulatory charge and GST were 60% of the total bill.
 

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Speaking of electricity charges, I wonder if you folks have one of those newer furnaces with DC motors that use far less electricity to run. When we changed our furnaces a few years back, I noticed a sharp drop in my electricity bill.

Added: We heat our home using natural gas. We have a natural gas water heater. Our dryer is electric.
 

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In an average month, we use about 1500 kWh of electricity. (It's pretty consistent year-round; it fluctuates upwards a bit in the somewhere, around 1800 kWh, but goes down to 1200 kWh usually in the winter.)

We just got our smart heater installed yesterday. I look forward to it -- I think we'll be able to save a bit more.

We have a hot tub (it came with our house when we bought it). It's a money pit. The one year that we ran it year-round, our electricity bill was ~$1600 more expensive than the following year where we didn't run it at all. So the plan, essentially, is for me to rip it out next summer ... hopefully someone in the K/W area will take it off my hands.


House specs:
- 90%-efficient natural gas furnace
- 95%-efficient on-demand Navien gas hot water heater
- R-60 insulation in the attic
- 3777 total sq. ft. (includes basement)



K.
 

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Speaking of electricity charges, I wonder if you folks have one of those newer furnaces with DC motors that use far less electricity to run. When we changed our furnaces a few years back, I noticed a sharp drop in my electricity bill.
Funny you should mention that.

We run our furnace fan continuously -- we find that, in combination with a good filter, it helps to keep the dust down, the air fresh, and reduces the frequency of heating/cooling.

Anyway, last week, I got paranoid about the potential cost of the continuous-run fan, so I opened up the furnace, and realized that the motor on our furnace had four speed settings. I rewired the furnace fan to use the lowest setting for continuous run operation. (And my furnace isn't too new -- it's about 6-7 years old.) If the documentation is to believed, this dropped the current consumption from about ~10A to ~6A.

I bet that a lot more people have this capability than they realize.
 

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We're on the equal payment plan which costs us $227/month - that is both heat and light. 2 Story detached house with garage (about 2000 sq ft).

Note that here in NL, we pay an annual water tax (no hydro meters).
 

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Way too much!!!! I spend about $180 per month. I think it because of all the computers around here. We have about five running at all times.

I am also self employed so work from home as well which adds to the costs.
A few things to consider:

Next time you buy a computer, make sure it meets ENERGY STAR 4 standards, the latest energy efficiency standard, and better yet make sure it meets EPEAT Gold or at least Silver standard. I have an EPEAT Gold desktop computer that about as much electricity as a 40-watt light bulb, and a super-efficient EPEAT Gold monitor that adjusts its light output based on the ambient light in the room. None of those cost more than standard models and you save big bucks on electricity.

The other thing is that your computers shouldn't be running "at all times." Use the sleep function, it makes a huge difference. Even better, turn your computers and monitors off at night when you're not using them (unless one of them is a server, for example). In the old days you were advised that turning a computer on and off was bad for the electronics, but that hasn't been true since the early 1990s (a fact I confirmed with IBM, Dell, and Apple engineers more than a decade ago). I turn off my computers every night and have done so for years; it does no harm.

I work at home as well, and all my equipment is EPEAT Gold or Silver. We pay about $120/month for all electricty (which includes our heat and hot water) for a three-bedroom detached home.

One of the biggest electricity consumers in a house is typically a dryer. The other is a teenager.;) When my teenage stepdaughter moved out last year, our electricity bill dropped by 40 percent, mainly because she always kept the heat cranked in her bedroom with the window open, never turned off lights, and washed her clothes and used the dryer constantly; she refused to use our clothesline.
 

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Following on to my previous post, I think it's important to keep in mind that electricity covers different things for different people. When I lived in Vermont, for example, my electricity bill was typically $35/month for a one-bedroom detached cottage. But that didn't include heat or hot water, which were provided by an oil furnace. Here in Montreal, we have electric baseboard heat and an electric hot water heater, so all our home energy use is reflected in our electricity bill.

So when you're saying how much you spend on electricity, it's probably worth stating whether you have electric heat and hot water, or if you heat with gas, oil, propane, whatever. That will make an enormous difference in our electricity bill.
 

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Wow I really need to do something about my hydro. It's out of control!!!!!
Yes, your $160/month really is high! Does that include water - if not, whew.

I'm intrigued enough to check tonight. I think I will be around $500 for the year to date for electricity alone (of which my consumption is probably just about $20 per month)....delivery, debt retirement, etc form the majority of the bill.

Electricity really is a cheap commodity, which doesn't sufficiently reward conservation as yet. If I shave 10% off my usage, I save $2/month.

However, all of Ontario is moving to time-of-use (TOU) pricing by sometime in 2011 - I've had one for a while now. The TOU rates are set right now so that the average user will pay the same whether on TOU or flat-rate - it wouldn't be fair to penalize someone for the type of meter they have. Once everyone is on the same playing field with the TOU meters, then I guarantee you that we will see the spread between on-peak and off-peak rates widen, to incentivize electricity consumption in off-peaks hours when excess generating capacity exists.

The goal of all of this, as I understand it, is to flatten out the gyrations in the demand curve to be more in line with the supply curve, and minimize investment required in new gas and nuclear facilities to supply those peak demand periods without brown-outs. The downside is that, theoretically, the entire generating capacity becomes critical (base load equals supply). The response to the downside is that Ontario would import excess electricity from other provinces/US. Hopefully, not every jurisdiction will take this approach, or there's nobody left to import excess capacity from! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I should specify that the $875 we have spent on electricity TYD is for electricity only. The house is heated by forced air gas (which does use electricity for the motor) and the water is also heated by natural gas. We have a dryer that uses electricity. I line-dry at least 1/2 the year to avoid using the dryer.

That being said...our consumption seems high by comparison.

Thanks for your input, everone!
 

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To really compare consumption, you have to report kilowatt-hours, because prices vary (certainly from province to province, at least).

The dryer really is the biggest energy hog in most homes, apart from those with electric heating and hot water heater. Central A/C units also can consume a lot of power. The fridge and washing machine are additional culprits, although unless your fridge is really old it should be relatively efficient. We have Energy Star everything in our house and I think it makes a difference. Individually the savings are small but they add up.

Lighting is a good place to start: I know some people hate compact fluorescents, but if you avoid the cheapest drugstore models you can get compact fluorescents with reasonably warm light and even ones that work on dimmer switches. I've been using CFLs since the early 1990s; the old ones lasted forever (10-12 years); the new ones don't seem as reliable but still usually last longer than conventional incandescents.

People tell you to unplug your little electricity vampires, like cellphone chargers, when you're not using them, but the studies I've seen find that those things really just consume pennies per year if they're left plugged in all the time. It's not going to save you much, but of course it's not a bad idea to do it. I just wouldn't lose sleep over it.
 

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I did some digging through my last 12 electric bills and here are my results for the last full year. My furnace and water are on gas, dryer on electricity.

Annual
3936 kw/h
$564 total electric bill, of which
$231 is actual consumption.
Only 41% of the electric bill is actually within my control to reduce.

Monthly
328 kw/h
$47 total electric bill, of which
$19.29 is actual consumption.

If I reduced my electric usage 10%, I would save $1.93. This is not a large incentive. The rate structure may well change in 2011 to incentivise off-peak usage.
 

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I have an EPEAT Gold desktop computer that about as much electricity as a 40-watt light bulb, and a super-efficient EPEAT Gold monitor that adjusts its light output based on the ambient light in the room. None of those cost more than standard models and you save big bucks on electricity.
A typical computer nowadays comes with a 400W power supply, but in practice, the entire system consumes much less during the course of normal operations. A pretty good guess of average power consumption, I think, is around 250W for a typical, modern system. So if you run your computer every day for a month,

(250W/1000) * 24 hours * 30 days = 180 kWh per month

And if you're paying ~6 cents per kWh on average,

180 kWh * 0.06 = $10.80.

I dunno, I wouldn't say that $10.80 amounts to spending "big bucks on electricity" for a computer. You can nearly halve that amount by sleeping your computer for half the day (so you'll save yourself ~$5/mo). The real culprits, as others have mentioned, are things like: (electric) hot tub, dryer, dishwasher, old refrigerators, and so on.

K.
 

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I dunno, I wouldn't say that $10.80 amounts to spending "big bucks on electricity" for a computer. .
Yeah, I meant "big bucks" in relative terms. My desktop machine (lenovo a61e) uses 47 watts at normal draw; standby power draw is 4.1 watts. My 22" monitor (Dell G2210t) draws 12 watts. So using your math I'm paying $2.50/month (without going into standby power). Over the course of a computer's lifetime (three to four years), the $8.30 in monthly savings adds up to about $300. If you have five computers like Berubeland and you switched them all over to more efficient models, over three years you'd save $1,500 in electric costs, enough to buy a nice laptop ;-)
 
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