heat bill question

Kar4119October 7, 2005

Hello - I'm new to this site so pardon me if this is not the right forum for this question. I have to decide tomorrow whether to take a nice one bedroom apartment (in Phila, PA) but have budget concerns as I have never paid for heat before. Is there any way to estimate the heat bill? Electric bill? It's a small 1 br with radiator, gas heat and there are new windows in the apt if that's helpful. I do spend a lot of time at home. Also, someone suggested I get space heaters to help -- anyone have a good, safe suggestion for that as well? Many thanks for any guidance.

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When I resided in Canada (now in USA) I rented a 1 bedroom apart. I called up the heating (my heating was electric)company, and gave them the address and they were able to tell me how much the past tenants average heating bill was!! Then I had 2 options--Pay what the actual months usage was,OR they would estimate (going on past usage) and I would pay a fixed amount each month, and then at the end of the yr, if I was under, they would credit my account or I was over, I would have to fork over more $$$. I went with the first option. Was a good thing too, because I must have used a lost less heat (electricity) than past residents. As well ask the Aprt manager. If I was near the complex, and saw a resident outside, I would introduce myself as a possible future tenant and ask how much approx do they spend on heat/gas. Cheers

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Great ideas. Thanks v. much.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 9:31AM
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Space heaters use a lot of electricity. The radiator is more efficient. When I lived in a small apt., the electric heating basically doubled my electric bill during the winter months (and I was never warm enough). Modern windows in the apt. will also help retain the heat and you can get insulating drapes as well. Hopefully your utility providers can help you plan your costs and allow you to make average or pro-rated payments if you think that will be easier. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 5:32PM
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I saw in the news today that natural gas heating costs will be up by about 45% this winter due to production shortages caused by the recent hurricanes.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 9:44PM
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do people have thoughts on the pros and cons of using a pro-rated or budgeted plan with utility company versus paying what i actually use? (sorry krustytopp for the duplicate message -- i meant to send to whole group). thanks.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 9:39AM
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I've never used the pro-rated type of payment, and I would be concerned about overpaying. Regardless of the payment plan you choose, some utilities occasionally estimate your usage instead of charging you for your actual usage.

It's more a question of your personal budgeting style: are you OK with a big sticker shock during certain months?

The Canadian government is planning some kind of financial assistance for low-income homeowners to deal with the huge increases in heating costs expected this year. Perhaps other countries/states are offering such help.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 8:12PM
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I have voluntarily used what my utility company calls "Levelized Billing" for several years. They take your last year's usage and divide it by 11 and that is your monthly bill. When they "settle" up in November, I usually have a credit balance equal to that month's bill and don't have to pay that month and any left over credit after that carries over to the next month even though I begin to pay the levelized amount again. It works out great since it's near Christmas and not having to pay a utility bill then comes in handy. It works for me since all utility services including cable & internet are provided by the city and come on one bill.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 8:53PM
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If the apartment is set up so that the tenant pays thier own utilities you should be able to call the respective utility providers and get a historical average consumption figure from them.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 9:24AM
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