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Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:59 AM

Help. My electricity bill has gone through the roof. It used to be $50 every two months. Now it is

$230 every two months. I got a laptop and leave it on all night. Would a laptop take up more power than a tower which I left on all night? I have a one bedroom apartment and do not pay for heat. I don't cook here very often. What could it be?

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Reply Help. My electricity bill has gone through the roof. It used to be $50 every two months. Now it is (Original post)
applegrove Sep 2012 OP
LunaSea Sep 2012 #1
ges625262fes Sep 2012 #34
MiddleFingerMom Sep 2012 #2
Shankapotomus Sep 2012 #6
LynneSin Sep 2012 #13
MiddleFingerMom Sep 2012 #14
Joe Shlabotnik Sep 2012 #3
applegrove Sep 2012 #4
Denninmi Sep 2012 #5
HopeHoops Sep 2012 #7
Blue Diadem Sep 2012 #8
dimbear Sep 2012 #23
Blue Diadem Sep 2012 #24
RebelOne Sep 2012 #9
mrmpa Sep 2012 #10
Rambis Sep 2012 #11
Major Nikon Sep 2012 #25
Lydia Leftcoast Sep 2012 #12
hunter Sep 2012 #15
Tallulah Sep 2012 #16
applegrove Sep 2012 #17
brentspeak Sep 2012 #18
progressivebydesign Sep 2012 #19
applegrove Sep 2012 #20
ThoughtCriminal Sep 2012 #21
applegrove Sep 2012 #22
Tallulah Sep 2012 #26
applegrove Sep 2012 #27
Baitball Blogger Sep 2012 #28
applegrove Sep 2012 #29
Incitatus Sep 2012 #30
applegrove Sep 2012 #31
Curmudgeoness Sep 2012 #32
Orrex Sep 2012 #33

Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 02:38 AM

1. Can you easily monitor your meter?

Check the rate. Kill all the breakers and turn them on one by one and find out if anything kicks up the spin (or the count if it's digital) at a high rate.
You might be able to narrow down the culprit that way.
Call maintenance and have them check it out too, you could have an issue with a microwave or dishwasher even if it's turned off.
It's very rare, but it happens in modern chip-laden appliances.
Check your bills for any notice of a rate increase, or call the utility.
If a laptop were the cause you'd likely notice lot of heat.

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Response to LunaSea (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:05 PM

34. ^this

 

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 02:39 AM

2. A/C has ALWAYS been my biggest money drain -- I wouldn't think a laptop would require much...

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... but unless you use it for sleepytime music or something (I use mine for nature
sounds like thunder and bonfire and rain and such), why not try to turn it off?
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I know I drift off using mine in bed a lot, too.
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Response to MiddleFingerMom (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 06:48 AM

6. OH GAWD

Now I feel like getting you an mp3 player and a solar charger. You're going to start a fire with that set up.

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Response to MiddleFingerMom (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 02:13 PM

13. I knew it - I knew you were into computer sex

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Response to LynneSin (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 03:38 PM

14. I try to distract people from thinking about the size of a USB port.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 02:46 AM

3. I'd be very surprised if its the laptop.

Smart-meter malfunction maybe? Neighbour stealing your hydro for a grow-op? I'd call the hydro company.

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Response to Joe Shlabotnik (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 03:12 AM

4. I'll do that. At the very least perhaps they'll let me off the hook on part of my bill. I can't

afford it and put off paying most of it until next month.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 03:44 AM

5. Our bills here have done that as well.

Do you have old bills to compare to?

The reason I ask - our bills used to be $50 to $80 a month. A few years ago, our local utility DTE Energy changed to "smart meters" and our bills went up considerably. But, when comparing old bills to new bills, which range generally in the $150-$175 range, the difference isn't usage in kilowatts, that is remarkably the same. The difference is that we are now billed for all kinds of "extras" that are now allowed by our PSC in Michigan -- not only the electricity itself, but charges to get it to us through the wiring ("line charges" I believe its called), charges by secondary utilities for the use of their lines, etc. All kinds of weird new mandatory charges that all add up. Plus taxes and fees.

But one thing to check out if this is really sudden and no big change in your habits or useage -- ask them to check that the meter is functioning properly and that you don't have some kind of voltage leak somewhere.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 09:40 AM

7. Nope. A tower's always going to take more electricity. Something's fucked.

 

It could be the A/C, but it certainly isn't computer related. My tower's on 24x7 and most of the laptops are on the charger even when they're closed. They don't eat squat. Still, $230 is REALLY high. Call the power company to see if they can help you figure it out.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:11 PM

8. Check your refrigerator

We noticed our electric bill skyrocket before we noticed the fridge was running more than usual.

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Response to Blue Diadem (Reply #8)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 01:50 AM

23. I second this. Check the seals on fridge and freezer. Leaks are energy wasters.

Next most likely problem is a meter fault.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #23)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 01:38 PM

24. Our fridge was going bad,

Not long after that bill, it began running non stop and not able to keep the temp cold enough. New fridge fixed the high bill. Bill was about equal to a very hot month running AC.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:19 PM

9. I had the same problem with my water.

I live in a mobile home and the manager reads the water meter monthly. Twice, I caught her with incorrect readings. The readings are recorded on each month's lot rent statement, so I checked them out with the current reading and saw she had read the meter incorrectly.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:32 PM

10. it could be theft by another unit............

we had an empty rental house on our block, it had been empty for about 8 months. One day the owner was looking around the property. While talking to him, learned he was trying to figure out why he was getting a hugh electric bill for an empty house. I took him to the side of the house & showed him where his neighbor had tapped into his line for electricity.

The neighbor's power had been shut off for about 6 months, he lived there with girlfriend and 4 kids. The owner took the neighbor to small claims court for the payment of the electric. The owner did this, he said, because if he had him arrested, he would never see the money and the kids would have nowhere to go.

The neighbor paid before he got in front of the judge, so the owner withdrew his suit.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:52 PM

11. Dude grow lights

use a lot of energy. That is how they bust pot growers

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Response to Rambis (Reply #11)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 06:30 PM

25. That's why you replace your refrigerated A/C with a swamp cooler

You save on electricity AND the extra humidity is great for the plants.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:56 PM

12. Did you use AC more than usual?

My electric bill averages $25 a month for a two-bedroom apartment here in Minneapolis (I don't pay for heat, either, thank goodness), but if there's a period when I have to use the AC a lot, the bill can quadruple. That's why I try not to use it.

I have neighbors who turn their AC on almost as soon as the snow melts, and last night (I could tell as I approached the building from outside) at 10PM with temperatures in the lower 60s. I can't imagine what their electric bill must be.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 04:47 PM

15. I was living in an apartment with a miswired outlet.

An outlet wired to our meter was in the apartment next door.

We never noticed when he had nothing plugged into it, but then he plugged an air conditioner into it and our electric bill went up.

I figured it out by turning off everything in our apartment and checking the meter. Sure enough it was our meter that spun when his air conditioner was on, and it stopped when his air conditioner turned off.

Fortunately everybody played fair, the electric company, the landlord and my neighbor. I think we got a refund that was a little more than what my neighbor actually used.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 05:53 PM

16. That's very high

During the summer months when it gets in the triple digits here I pay $230 in a month but that's for a 3 bedroom home with power going day and night.

Here you can call the electric company for an audit of your usage if you think the bill is too high. There is no charge for the service. If your power company offers something like that, have one done.

Could you have had a fuel adjustment bill ? I can't imagine a laptop causing that much power usage.

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Response to Tallulah (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 10:27 PM

17. I did. At first I thought it was that I had updated my computer, but that doesn't make sense.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 11:03 PM

18. When not in use, pull the plugs on any "stand-by" electrical appliances/stereos/etc.

Electrical appliances with a stand-by indicator light use up electricity, even if the appliances themselves are not fully powered-on.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 11:28 PM

19. Wow. I'd call the company as ask someone to help you audit, to find out what's up.nt

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Response to progressivebydesign (Reply #19)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 11:30 PM

20. I did.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 12:01 AM

21. Laptop probably pulls 40 watts max

And that's just when it's working hard. If you're just surfing and not pushine the CPU, maybe 20 watts. When my laptop goes to sleep, it uses less than 4 watts.

You should consider getting a "Kill-A-Watt" meter. Got mine on Amazon for less than $20 and used it to track down electricity hogs.



Refrigerators can pull a lot, especially if it is having defrost problems. If you have an electric water heater, that would also be worth checking. If you have an Interocitor, try not to use it for trivial pranks.

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Response to ThoughtCriminal (Reply #21)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 12:04 AM

22. I have been opening the freezer a lot. Maybe that would do it???? Opening

the freezer 4 times a night to get popsicles?

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Response to applegrove (Reply #22)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 07:29 PM

26. No, it can't be.

Have you used the air conditioning or heat more than usual ? Is your water heater electric ?

My electric bill came in yesterday. It was $167 and some change. It's all central air. It wasn't as hot as last month.

I just can't imagine what's causing your bill to go up so much. I hope you find out soon. That's a financial hardship you don't need.

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Response to Tallulah (Reply #26)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 07:30 PM

27. I will figure it out.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 07:32 PM

28. Someone may be stealing your electricity?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #28)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 07:34 PM

29. I will look at my meter and see if I see anything suspicious tomorrow.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 07:58 PM

30. $25 a month was your usual power bill?

That sounds very low, even for a 1 bedroom apt. You should ask your neighbors what their bill runs and see if it's comparable. Maybe they have been undercharging you for a while and recently installed a more accurate meter.

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #30)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 08:03 PM

31. I called them and my power bill was more than I had thought. But not 115 a month.

That's just not right.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:44 PM

32. Try a Kill-a-watt meter.

It can be used to test all your electrical appliances to determine how much energy it is pulling.

http://www.degreedays.net/kill-a-watt-meter

And if everything seems reasonable, I would call the electric company to get them involved. There may be someone else pulling your power.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:52 PM

33. Was your electricity recently deregulated?

Despite the promise of prosperity for all, in every single case that I've heard about, deregulation results in a substantially higher monthly electric bill. Not 5X higher as in your case, but a lot more in any case.

Good luck!

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