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Bastardos - Karen's Musings
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estherchaya
estherchaya
Bastardos
Three hundred, sixty dollars. That's right. $360.

For a freaking GAS BILL. When it hasn't even been all that cold. When we have a digital thermostat programmed to use less energy during the day when no one is at home and at night when we are sleeping. DOUBLE what our bill was a year ago (with the same amount of energy consumed).

Yeah, I get it. The Gulf Coast was hit hard. I know. And it's probably insensitive of me to say, "I don't care if the Gulf Coast was hit hard, this is outrageous."

I get that Washington Gas is a Public Utility, not a for-profit organization. I get that they pay what they pay and we pay them back for it. I get that it's one of the costs of owning a home. I'm especially amused by the note they put in the bill about hypothermia. Because yeah, there are definitely going to be people who simply turn off their heat for the rest of the winter, and there could be some casualties from that.

Can we pay the damn bill? Sure, but it's going to hurt. A lot. But what about people who CAN'T? I've heard people's bills in the local area ranging from $342-450. $450!!! Holy COW!

I know there's not a darned thing that can be done about it. I'm just frustrated.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually considering moving to Florida.

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: cynical not amused

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Comments
pocketnaomi From: pocketnaomi Date: January 10th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
There was a thing on local news radio a few weeks ago about people installing wood stoves because firewood, even precut firewood from the supermarket, is cheaper than heating gas this year. Ugh. We aren't hit directly because our gas is covered in our condo association dues, but want to take a guess what is going to happen to those in a few months?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
sigh
From: have_inner_lady Date: January 10th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mine was nearly that, too, even out here where gas (for cars) is always 20-30 cents cheaper.

And where people probably average about half the income.

I _am_ thinking about that wood stove we didn't put in when finishing the house, even though I remember from last winter how much effort it takes to actually use it as a heat source.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't imagine putting a wood stove in our house. But we do have a fireplace. I don't use the fireplace, though, because Julian is far too curious a kid. Even if he didn't burn himself on the flames, he'd probably figure out a way to make a mess from the ashes.
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arosoff From: arosoff Date: January 10th, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually considering moving to Florida.

Unfortunately, then you'd just have a whopping electric bill from running the air-conditioning more... :/

We've got evil electric heating--not looking forward to the Powergen bill as it's been damn cold here.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah, I know. And anyway, I despise Florida. A lot.
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estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh I know it's not the age of the house. covering the windows wouldn't help much. The only windows that aren't new upstairs are the dining room windows and the far back of the kitchen. It might reduce our bill by a dollar or three, but not by half.

We looked into getting a heat pump for this house when we installed the A/C, but we were told that in this type/age of house, it would be inefficient at best and most likely ineffective.
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leahmiriam From: leahmiriam Date: January 10th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I worry about those who will simply shut off their heat. I worry about folks who are just eeking by as it is financially. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark..

osewalrus From: osewalrus Date: January 10th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just because they are a public utility doesn't mean they (a) aren't private sector, and (b) don't make a profit. In fact, they are guaranteed a 12-15% "reasonable rate of return" under public utility law.

I used to do energy law representing industrial end users. Trust me, these guys are doing more than just passing on high cost (although Lord knows that is there as well).
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good to know.

Well, sucky to know. BUT, good to know I'm allowed to have a tiny amount of outrage. ;)
cahwyguy From: cahwyguy Date: January 10th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've also seen higher bills out here in Southern California. Some of it is the larger house and having dual-zone (meaning dual heaters) and a much larger water heater (75gal). But our rates have also gone up significantly.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's not the dollar amount that's causing me conniptions. It's that the rate has actually DOUBLED. We used the same number of therms last month at half the cost.
magid From: magid Date: January 10th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
The local natural gas utility offers customers an energy audit, where someone comes and gives suggestions about how to minimize therms and water and such. It was useful for me. Maybe there's a program there that might give you food for thought?
cellio From: cellio Date: January 10th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aiieeee.

I haven't seen an accurate bill yet (meter reader was just here last week). I was kind of hoping when we put in the programmable thermostat last summer that our bill might drop this year, but it sounds like it'll just go up less than it would have otherwise. :-(
yarbiedoll From: yarbiedoll Date: January 10th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, you win! Our bill for last month was only $320. Ugh.
ellipticcurve From: ellipticcurve Date: January 10th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man, I so feel your pain. Remember the great California energy crisis, a few years back? It was actually natural gas that was an arm and a leg. That winter, I had one $400 energy bill, and one $300 one. It sucked, very very badly.
mscongeniality From: mscongeniality Date: January 10th, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah...that's one of the reasons I tend to go for older apartments which have utilities included in the rent. Ugh.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 10th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes but what do you think will happen to rent in the coming years to make up for this?
ichur72 From: ichur72 Date: January 10th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gas prices tend to follow oil prices with about a six-month delay, so this is right on schedule, as it were. That said, let me get on my professional high horse and say how ridiculous and retarded the oil markets have been over the last year or two. Conditions WRT supply are not optimum, but the way the traders have run up prices is outrageous. Someone's making money off of this, and it's not me.
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mysticchyna From: mysticchyna Date: January 11th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
that is insane! our landlord pays the Wash. Gas bill so i really don't know how much it is...but wow...
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 11th, 2006 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but if this keeps up (and my guess is that it will), expect a rent hike next time you renew your lease. That's the problem.

I'm really worried about the people out there that can't handle a sudden increase. It'll hurt us, but we can move other things around to make it work. There are plenty of people who will be hit with similar gas bills who can't do that.
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