Who's paying for electricity during their build?

pumpkinhouseMarch 31, 2014

I got our electric bill for the job site, for the month of March...$95 for 772 KWH. This is double what we pay for our three bedroom house right now, to put it in perspective. They had been preparing and pouring the basement ICF walls during this time. Anyone have any input as to whether this sounds reasonable?

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MFatt16

Wow, I am paying for temp. power but so far its been the monthly minimum of $10 or so and a minimal useage. They haven't done a lot of power heavy tools yet just one man on a saw and some air tools but I don't even think those use power, actually I don't know.

Read the bill carefully, is the minimum in your area high? or is it really the usage? The total is double your house but if you line by line compare is anything different?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:04PM
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illinigirl

nope, my builder pays for all that until close. I mean, it's being passed along to me in what I'm paying him, but I don't see a bill directly.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:36PM
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kirkhall

How is your house heated? It doesn't sound that bad for 770KWH, really. My house is all electric (in PNW), so that would actually be a low bill for March.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:52PM
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pumpkinhouse

I checked it against our current home's bill, and it's the same rate. What the heck are they doing to rack up such a bill? They have a trailer, and I think that's the only thing using power right now. I don't think anything with the ICF prep/pouring takes electricity, but I could be wrong.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:52PM
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mdln

Just got my $400 gas/heating bill for last month.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:54PM
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pumpkinhouse

This is the bill for just the unfinished home site. It is just a basement foundation right now, so it's not heated.
My current home's gas is billed separately, so the comparison amount is just for electric. Last month my current home was $46 for electric, $95 for the job site that consists of a foundation and a very power-hungry job trailer.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:02PM
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kirkhall

That is probably being heated? Your house probably has gas dryer, water heater and heat. There isn't much else that needs to be powered in a house...just some lights. And, hopefully those are not incandescents. Their tools will raise your bill substantially too--each saw runs at or more than a MW or a power hungry vacuum.

Be prepared.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:40PM
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carolssis

I would call the electric company first. They might be able to pinpoint when all that power is being used. Or call an electrician. He may have an idea why if they use high power tools. See what you can find out first. $95 a month and power tools not much in use right now sounds fishy to me. Especially in view of comparison with home power bill. And was there any mention of power payments in contract? Find out what's in that trailer, you're not obligated to pay for extras, if power is being used after working hours. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:53PM
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robin0919

Where are you? It sounds like they have the heat really cranked up in that trailer....which is not much better than a tent for insulation and it's been a very cold winter.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 7:34PM
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mushcreek

Electric space heaters use a lot of power, if they are using one in the trailer. And yes, air tools use power- usually an electric compressor. Some crews will use a gasoline powered compressor if there is no electricity on-site.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Even if it's billed to the contractor, it ends up coming out of your pocket i a higher GC fee. You've got to keep concrete from freezing until it cures. No way around that.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:49AM
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rwiegand

As to who pays for electricity during construction, it should be specified in your contract--though of course you pay in the end, no matter what.

Last time I saw a monthly electric bill under $100 was in a tiny condo in California in 1980!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:51AM
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jdez

We pay for our temporary construction electricity monthly. It averages around $75 a month but we are in a warm climate.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:49AM
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patriceny

We paid for our electric too. I don't remember what the bill was - it wasn't high enough to have any shock value though. :)

Like someone said, if they're running electric space heaters.....there is your answer.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:16PM
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worthy

What do you suspect the builder is doing with the power? Pilfering if for use at home? Reselling it?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:04PM
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patriceny

The other thing that came to my mind after I thought about this was......obviously you expected to pay something for the electric, yes?

So even if the bill is 100% more than what you expected - the overage is about $40.

If you're going to make yourself crazy about ~$40....you're in for a looooooong build :)

I'm not being snarky - I'm thinking more along the lines of what Worthy just posted. It isn't like they're putting the electricity in their pocket and taking it home at night. :) Power tools, air compressors, and space heaters gobble up power.

So if you think they're being too cavalier with their electricity use, you can certainly look into it. But in the grand scheme of things, this isn't something you're likely to remember after you've been through the whole build. :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:47AM
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sixgmillers

While it is only $40... nominal compared to overages we are seeing, it still can be frustrating. Is anyone else building around you? We are having a terrible time with subs from other homes using our power pole and water.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:36AM
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pumpkinhouse

Yes, a $100 bill is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But the build is projected to take at least 8 months. So that would be $800 out of our pocket that wasn't budgeted. Death by a thousand cuts.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:41AM
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carolssis

Have you tried to check it out in any way? How about going to the site at almost quitting time. Check the meter, see how fast it's spinning. Then hang around until workers are gone, check the meter again. If it's still spinning the same rate, there's your answer. The trailer. Death by a thousand cuts is not a good way to go. It's up to you to find out why. Personally, I think it's excessive, and I would check it out, it's my money that has to pay it, and double my home electric, I'd definitley find out. And don't tell them you're coming.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:00PM
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galore2112

What's you price/kWh? If it is ~15c (including fees), your contractor consumed about 666kWh (one may get carried away with superstition here!).
This translates to 926W of average power 24/7/30. Something is fishy here! Even power tools can't really explain this. It must be something like a space heater that's stuck on.

About the death by a thousand cuts: Welcome to building a house. I was my own GC over a period of 4 years with a lot of control over costs and $100/month is noise when building a house (sorry if this sounds arrogant).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:48PM
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galore2112

[just read you used 772 kWh] same conclusion applies.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:49PM
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a2sciteach

We have Amish builders, they are using a wood stove for heat, work dawn to dark and don't use power tools. We don't have power to the house yet, not until the well goes in, therefore our bill = $0.00.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:04PM
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MFatt16

I just received my monthly bill. Total of $14.11 in Western Washington. 42kWh used

$10.16 "basic change"
$3.94 "electric energy charge"
$0.18 "electrical cons. program charge"
$0.02 "power cost adjustment"
$0.01 "merger credit"
$0.11 "federal wind power credit"
$0.03 "renewable energy credit"

Don't know if that helps but most of mine is a base charge, perhaps your minimums are that? I don't know.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:57PM
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