High Gas/Electric in Studio Apt?

onestudiodwellerJanuary 19, 2006

Hello guys,

This is my first post here. I moved into my first place recently - a small studio apartment and the gas/electric bill for Nov. was around $90 ($50 for gas and $40 for electric). I called the company to find out why the bill was so high since the Oct. bill was only $38. They said it was based on the month's usage and I said fine. I told them I never even turned my heat on, so how could the gas be so high. I was informed that gas is used whenever I turn on the oven or use hot water. I rarely use the oven, and I only use hot water to take my quick morning showers or to water my hands or do a few dishes here and there - no different from previous months.

I just received my Dec. bill and it was a whopping $157 (97 electric/$60 gas)! Again, no change in my usage. I even used LESS electric and didn't dare touch my HEAT because of the previous bill incident but the company swears my usage is correct.

For heat I use a programmable electric radiator, which comes on from 5:30pm to 12am and from 4:30am to 7am. The customer service rep told me that using the electric heater was a bad idea. However, I rarely used it in Dec. because of warm weather. I used it nonstop back in October and the bill was not high. I was told to check the meter myself, but I haven't yet. But I still don't get how my bills keeps increasing? I know I don't use that much gas/heat in this tiny dump. Can someone help me figure this out??? I feel confused and taken advantage of.


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Those electric radiators use a staggering amount of power.

Of course, check your meter. They may have sent a bill based on an estimated reading, in which case it will be adjusted when the meter is next read in the field.

Remember, though your place may be small, utility bills usually have a minimum starting charge for the first xxx amount of energy, then a metered charge above that, plus often taxes on top of that.

That said, your December bill was higher than our bill here for a 3BR house, but then, energy prices vary around the country.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 11:57PM
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Studio Dweller,

Check to make sure no one else is connected to your electric, see if your electric company can come and do an investigation.

I used to live in a studio and I could swear that my landlord's washer and dryer (which were in the garage right next to my apartment) were somehow connected to my electric. I am never home (I get home in the evenings around 7 and leave in the mornings around 7) yet my bill was always abnormally high.

Thank God I am out of that dump.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 9:12AM
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Also, compare the *usage* figure on your bills (therms of killowatts), not just the total dollar amount.

Gas rates are going WAY up, just shockingly so.

And do compare the bill's list of usage figure w/ the meter's.

Someone on another forum, who owns a house, alerted people that her utility was charging a WHOPPING amount through estimated billing. The got a credit huge enough to take them through the next year, probably.

And call your landlord to see if there's he/she knows any reason this would be so high. Mention the possibility of someone illegally siphoning off your electrical (outside outets and other outside wiring sometimes are vulnerable to this) and how easily this could burn down his property. Mention also the possibility of a gas leak, which could also burn down his property. Those ideas might get him to pay some attention.

The biggest problem is that it's so DIFFERENT (unlike Jen's place, where I bet the bill was ALWAYS way high). So, if Oct. wasn't that cold to your upstairs neighbor (or some other apt.), or perhaps it wasn't occupied in Oct), you may be paying for THEIR electric heater.

You might ask the folks on the Electrical Wiring forum to tell you if there's a way to find out whether your meter reads wires in a different unit.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:34AM
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Most gas and elect companies will give you a 12 month avg in costs if you ask. Other possibility is the meters have been switched. Peraps you are paying for unit 3 and unit 3 is paying for your ussage. It also may be your elec is also running someone elses stuff. Shut off all your breakers for a while and ask the neighbors if all their elec is working correctly.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:54AM
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Update: I checked my meter. Then I spoke with the gas/electric company and was informed that my meter was indeed correct. Apparently, my gas heat is always on. I thought by turning the dial all the way down meant it was off, but was told that I have an automatic thermostat that automatically comes on when the temperature in the building falls below 55 degrees. So while I had my electric radiator on full blast, the heat to my unit would come on regardless, though I never felt it.
Prior to November the average gas and electric bill for my unit was $40 bucks. My building turned the heat on in mid-November. I used the radiator in October but once the building heat kicked in in November and I was still using the radiator at the same time the bill skyrocketed. I was told that I should stop using the electric radiator and turn my heat to 70 degrees and leave it there, as turning the heat on and off would just increase usage and energy.
My problem is that I've noticed that my place is still cold after turning the thermostat to 70 degrees, especially the bedroom. Now I'm wondering if I should turn the heat to 80 degrees. Any more tips?

P.S. This issue is even more troublesome since my housing company has been receiving my gas/electric bills for the past few months by error. I just figured my rent covered the utilities - again first time renter here. It appears they didn't catch it until the bill skyrocketed and then called me.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:22PM
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Years ago I was in a tiny studio apt.. One month my electric bill was sky-high. I was fortunate to have nosy old-guy neighbors who kind of looked out for everyone. They noticed a significant water leak on the back of the building--it was MY hot water (thus, the high elec. bill). Thank goodness (sometimes) for nosy neighbors! Could it be a water issue in this case?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 9:03AM
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I rent a small 2 bedroom apt and I got a whopping $300 gas heating bill for the month of Jan. 2007. I called the utility co and they told me this was normal for January. I showed the furnace in the basement to an inspector from another utility co and he told me the furnace was ancient, over 40 years old. the owner said it'l be replaced that was over ten months ago. any suggestions?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 6:59PM
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This conversation is over 19 months old. I think your timing is off! :- )

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:59PM
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