I swear I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. After nearly having a heart attack when I received a SIX HUNDRED DOLLAR gas bill last month, I was fearing the worst when I opened this past month’s gas bill. But we’d had the furnace inspected and the guy said the venting hose had been loose, so our heat was making our attic nice and toasty. So I figured this month’s was going to be high, but maybe a little less than $600. But it was OMG NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS!?!

I know our house is poorly insulated and all that, but this is freakin’ ridiculous. We just can’t afford this. I’m going to end up sitting around with the heat off, wrapped up in blankets. Off it goes.

No wonder poor people need so much help with utilities this year

36 thoughts on “No wonder poor people need so much help with utilities this year

  • January 22, 2006 at 9:53 am
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    Ouch.

    Check to make sure your gas bill isn’t based on estimates, but on actual data. I know that’s an issue here.

    Stay warm!

    -J

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  • January 22, 2006 at 11:05 am
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    HOLY SHIT!

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  • January 22, 2006 at 11:44 am
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    Yikes! Are they sure something isn’t wrong with the meter?

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  • January 22, 2006 at 11:58 am
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    YEOW! That’s pretty scary.

    A couple more months and you could pay for double-paned windows!! :-O

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  • January 22, 2006 at 12:31 pm
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    Wow! You are welcome to come over here and warm up.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm
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    G says (as a licensed heating contractor) that spending the money on insulation is some of the best money you can spend. Unless you’re planning on ripping the drywall down anyway for remodeling, the best suggestion is blown-in insulation. Also, if you don’t have good windows, replacing them saves tons. But of course, that’s kind of obvious 🙂

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  • January 22, 2006 at 12:49 pm
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    That’s part of the reason I moved out of the apartment I had on the West Side of Buffalo. It’s kind of silly to live in Buffalo and have an insulation free 125 year old home. 🙂

    Look into insulating the home and then into windows. In the long run, it’ll pay off.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:14 pm
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    I’ll be calling tomorrow, that’s for sure.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:15 pm
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    I dunno. I’m planning to call tomorrow and ask if that’s possible.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:15 pm
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    I know! And we haven’t even been warm!

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:17 pm
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    I know, that pisses me off. Right when we’re trying to scrimp and save every penny we can, and right when we felt like we’d done all the home renovation that was necessary before taking a break to focus on songwriting — it’s just such GREAT timing. Although I can’t say I’d EVER be thrilled to pay $1500 for two months’ worth of gas.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:17 pm
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    Thanks — we may take you up on it. Brr.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:19 pm
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    Yeah, I’m sure that’s all true, but the thing is we didn’t want to spend ANY money on that kind of thing for a little while and didn’t realize we had to. So we have nothing budgeted for the next, like, 9 months in that regard — everything is allocated to staying afloat while focusing on songwriting. Oy. This is so obviously a conspiracy. I just have to figure out who my conspirators are and make them come sit in my freezing-cold house.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:20 pm
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    Going to have an energy audit soon. Watch them tell us to just rip the place down and start again. Ugh. Not fun.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:34 pm
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    They won’t tell you that. 🙂

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  • January 22, 2006 at 1:57 pm
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    Good, because that kind of gas bill can’t just be due to a lack of insulation. There are houses in *Edmonton* with no insulation, for god’s sake (I know — I lived in one for two years), and there’s no way they actually pay that much.

    -J

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  • January 22, 2006 at 2:04 pm
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    either something is wrong with that bill (based on estimates, you’re paying for your neighbors’ gas, gremlins sneak into your house while you’re gone and feed on your completely open natural gas outlets) or else your walls are made of uninsulated tissue paper. in minneapolis, in about 1000 sq ft, i am paying 250-300 a month, for both electricity and gas. and i bet you a quarter it’s colder here than there.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:00 pm
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    I trust you have a thermostat that drops the temperature at night?

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:15 pm
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    A cheap immediate solution would be putting that heat-sealing plastic up on the windows. A lot of labor but much less moolah!

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:26 pm
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    My sister just did this in my aunt’s fairly large house for about $45 for all the windows and it made an immediate difference.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:29 pm
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    Ouch! Glad you’re calling them tomorrow and not just taking it on faith that they’re right. I’ve heard that the electric heaters that are filled with oil and look like stand alone radiators work wonders for space heaters. I hate the thought of y’all shivering in the cold.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:32 pm
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    That’s good input, thanks. I need all the ammo I can get for my little chat with the gas company tomorrow.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:33 pm
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    No, but we adjust the temperature manually many times per day to make sure we’re not overheating the place.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:37 pm
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    Yeah, the furnace repair guy recommended those oil-filled ones, too, so we just went out to buy one or two. Unfortunately, every place we checked is completely sold out of them. Instead, we just bought a few additional ceramic space heaters and will be using those as needed. The furnace guy said even with several space heaters running, we’d probably be looking at a $200-300 bill for our space — which would ordinarily sound outrageous, right? — and that, of course, is a huge improvement.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:37 pm
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    Probably not, but they may faint. 🙂

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:52 pm
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    Imagine how fun it would be to toss buckets of water on them?

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  • January 22, 2006 at 4:57 pm
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    That is, if the water doesn’t turn to ice in mid-air…

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  • January 22, 2006 at 5:01 pm
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    You got me there 🙂

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  • January 22, 2006 at 6:00 pm
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    When we lived in a house where we paid the utilities, we had a huge problem with the gas company’s estimates of what our bills would be. They charged huge amounts (not $900, but still…) and then we got a big refund in the summer, when the equalization month came around. Good luck!

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  • January 22, 2006 at 7:52 pm
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    If you can see the meter, turn off everything that uses gas in your house, and see if the meter is still recording anything.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 7:57 pm
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    Uh, that was me. And the other anon comment. Oops.

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  • January 22, 2006 at 8:55 pm
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    Another data point…

    When I lived in a very poorly insulated 3-level house (probably close to 1400 sq. feet) in Oakland, CA (were temperatures rarely touch on freezing), the gas and electric bill was close to $300 a month, so I can see if something like that house was plopped into colder environs the bill would be well over $300. If there are multiple levels and the heat is rising and escaping that can result in insane bills.

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  • January 23, 2006 at 12:56 am
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    Yeah, we used to do that in Chicago and at Mr. E’s old place. Made a huge difference.

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  • January 23, 2006 at 9:58 am
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    Oh my – that is awful. I hope there is an affordable solution soon

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  • January 23, 2006 at 12:50 pm
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    I realize I’m a bit late on this reply.. however if it helps…

    the house I’m renting poorly insulated as well. My gas heater can’t even keep the place warm. After receiving extremely high gas bills last year, I turned it off. I now use a ceramic heater per room and keep the doors shut. Along with the ceramic heaters, I use a kerosene heater when I feel like hanging out in the main living area.

    I’ve noticed I can keep the place somewhat warm if I attempt to heat each room individually

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  • January 23, 2006 at 1:56 pm
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    There are tons of things you can do to winterize your house. Send me email if you’d like to hear them. Mostly they are pretty obvious like covering any gap in your wall (window/door/whatever) that you aren’t using and sealing it shut.

    Reply

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