Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Electricity and time for a change

Our electric bill is going up every month.  Last year, the fuel surcharge was almost as much as our usage bill.   I just got a letter from our electric company saying that they are anticipating the fuel surcharge to be more than the usage bill this year!  With temps already being in the 90s, we cannot afford another summer of high bills-- especially with  summer being almost year-round here in Houston!


We have put in additional insulation, got all new double-paned argon gas windows, attic fans, radiant barrier paint on the inside of the attic, new front doors, and caulked and sealed every nook and cranny.  Plus, we have one of those programmable thermostats (set at 77) and ceiling fans in almost every room of the house.  And yet, our bill for March was still over $160.  That means that when it really gets hot, it will be waaaay over $350 (at least).  I have no idea what prices are in other parts of the country, but that is really high!!!


Since we will be in the market for a new roof soon (a metal one this time), I thought I'd start researching alternative energy sources. Do any of you use photovoltaic cells (solar energy)???  Do you know anyone who does?  I would LOVE to hear any advice, info, etc. that you can share about your experiences!!!




MrsRitchey said...

Well, I don't know about solar panels, but it it makes you feel any better, I live in PA, and my electric bill for winter has gone over $400. We are planning on getting a heat pump to replace our current heat, which is radiant heat. Hopefully, this will help! I know your pain!

chickadee said...

i can't believe you've done all that to your home and it hasn't made much difference! maybe you should move out of texas to a state with milder temp!

Bek said...

our march bill was only $85 and that was running the heater, set on 65, the first half of the month and the air conditioner, set on 70, the rest of the month. what is the surcharge all about? i don't think we have that.

dawilli said...

Umm, we had a bill over $600 one month last summer... a couple in the $450 range, the usual for us is $200...

Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog again, I've been so out of commission lately I've been missing everyone around here!

From what I've read, it's pretty pricey to get started with solar power, so it takes several years to see any return of investment... though in some cases you can make more power than you need and sell it back to the power company.

Anyway, hang in there, 90's already! at least it's a dry heat though, right? That's what we always say in Minnesota, 'cause while we may have some seriously cold and snowy winters we also have steamy humid summers, it's the extreme change that's hard to bear! We had a high of 56 yesterday, supposed to hit 68 today... my hostas haven't even sprouted yet, the leaves are still just little buds on all the trees...

Well, have a good one,


mcrgintx said...

But i'm with you, so if you find anything out, let me know! I've been talking to Hubby about solar energy's a big deal in Canada! Good for you, taking those steps! We just shut all the blinds and heavy drapes and keep our a/c at 77 ourselves. Maybe I'll have to take some of your advice with the windows and insulation!

MistyKrasawski said...

We have high ones here in Florida, too! So I can empathize. I'm thinking about putting in solar panels also when we do some remodeling. Sounds like you're doing all you can!!


Amber said...

I saw your comment at Amy's, hop over to and email me what you want and your address girl. Happy Day Early Birthday!!!!

God Bless,


Amber said...

It's the humidity--UGH! DH sets the AC at 65 and below, therefore it's our bill is at least $350+

0:) Amber

Amber said...

OH YEAH, DH should be talking to the Katahdin man in a few days about our house (in NC) he advised us to get a metal roof also, I'll ask DH more about it.

0:) Amber

DandelionSeeds said...






Love ya!


creativehsmom said...

The rising energy prices have to stop somewhere. We were comtempalting getting a scootr (Mopad) type bike to save gas be decided to use our bikes more this year.


amada said...

I'm sorry about this! Yikes that's a lot. I just learned you're in Houston. We have friends in Houston and will visit there most likely in August! It's a small world.

Just wanted to say hi, and that I stopped by.


Cajamarca, Peru

PS. I finally got some pix of Peru up!

Leigh2 said...

I have no advice....our electic bills in the summer sometimes top $400...and we do not know what we are going to do if it happens again this summer. We are trying everything we can think of to keep it down...and it's one of the big reasons why we are planning to move!

dawilli said...

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, la, la ,la.... (sing the birthday song for yourself, or better yet- get your little ones to sing it over and over again all day...)

I just noticed your comment on DandelionSeeds blog and had to stop right by,

have a good one,


Amberleoda said...

Hey Marsha,

Have you guys thought about getting your house windows tinted? You can save a TON of money on your heating/cooling bills year round, not to mention keep your furniture from fadeing. There is even film that can be put on your windows that is clear and will still keep out the heat and UVA light and all of it should come with a lifetime warrenty. I know all this cause this is what my husband does for a living. It might be something worth checking into! If you need more info, just email me and I'll send ya some links to check out!

mommyx3 said...

Hi Marsha,

Sorry I can't give you any advice. I don't use solar energy and don't know anybody who does, though I wish I did. I sympathize with you though. Our gas & electric bill this winter was close to $450 for one month during the coldest part of the winter. I am enjoying this time of year right now, when our bill is the lowest due to using no heat or a/c. But this summer will be a killer as well I am sure.

I also read that tomorrow is your birthday, am I correct? If so Happy Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day!