Insane Electric Rate Increase $508.68/1522 kWh


Site Donor 2023
Jan 9, 2009
New England
We were warned last year that rates would be going up this month. We have all electric everything, including baseboard heat.

Last month: $0.2320/kWh overall (supply + delivery)

This month: $0.3342/kWh

Increase: 44% overall (supply rate $361.95, Delivery $146.73 = $508.68)

Use: 31% less than last January (1522kWh this Jan vs 1987kWh last Jan)
- Ave temp was higher this year: 39F this Jan vs 26F last Jan)

House: a little less than 2700 ft^2; however, half of that is the unheated basement

TL;DR: all-electric heat stays off to the entire house most of the time. Switched to a cheaper supplier, but won't take effect until next billing cycle, earliest. Home energy audit Feb. Looking for obvious things to save money

Larger Loads:
- All electric heat: As some of you know, I've kept the heat off for most of the month (not low, off completely), since we don't mind hanging out in the 50s, which I know is extreme for some of you. The heat is controllable in each individual room, so it's not on in unoccupied spaces.
- I run three relatively new dehumidifiers for at least 12 hrs/day. The one in the bathroom in our main bedroom is used after showers since it's pretty much all just extra heat to the bedroom, so nothing is wasted out of the vent. The one in the basement is needed to keep < 50% RH.
- The hot water heater is probably at the end of its life, but it's wrapped in a fiberglass blanket. In the 50F basement, the temp between the heater shell and blanket is usually 40-50F higher than ambient. The setpoint is 122F at the farthest faucet.
- I have two fridges and a freezer. We tend to stock up on staples (like we just got 3# of chicken thighs for a buck a #, and we buy stuff from Costco when it's on sale, which sometimes means buying things like soup and other perishable items in bulk and either refrigerating or freezing them.
- Dishwasher: we use it pretty much daily and it's an older Bosch model. It has it's quirks, but does an excellent job. My wife, unfortunately, likes to pre-wash the dishes with the faucet on hot-high. I scrub the dirty dishes to break up any gunk and then use just enough hot water to get the chunks off. I do just enough to prevent issues with the washer. If I had to guess, she probably uses an order of magnitude more energy/water than the washer itself, but I can't quantify that.
- Washer/Dryer: 4 yo Samsung. The front loader is efficient, but my wife likes to run the dryer on medium instead of low. The dryness sensor isn't very good, so it tends to run longer than required. I use the lowest setting and check it as soon as it's finished the manual cycle an hour or so later. The dryness sensor is very inaccurate on the low heat setting, so even on the driest setting, it will stop the cycle too soon. Even on the mid setting, it will also tend to run the dryer too long on Medium.

The water heater and the dryer are probably the main offenders.

Short-term solutions
- I bought mattress pad heaters for all three of the beds, so the heat has been off in the bedrooms at night for the past week or so, whereas we were keeping it between 60-62F, maybe higher if we were feeling cold. It wasn't uncommon for my wife to want closer to 68-70F when she was feeling particularly cold. My wife/kids keep the pad set to 5/10 and have no complaints at all. I've been 2 or off (i like the cold). They control the thermostat in the rooms, so if they wanted it warmer they can do what they want. That was the compromise for keeping the living spaces colder.
- I have a home energy audit later in Feb. I know we need some upgrades. I know for sure that insulation will help, but, as I said, we don't use much heat at all, so 0 X anything = 0
- I'm going to start measuring other loads, such as the dehumidifiers, for energy usage with my smart plug to see if anything is going crazy.
- I lowered the hot water heater temp from 127F to 122F at the farthest location away from the heater

Long-term solutions:
- Last month we switched suppliers, and the paperwork states that it will take 1-2 billing cycles to take effect. We should have done this sooner. I'm kicking myself for dropping the ball on this! The price we locked in at is even lower than what we were paying before with the default supplier (new rate will be $0.1659/kWh vs last month's $0.2320/kWh), so, if this bill had been based on the new supply rate and the current delivery rate (that doesn't change), our bill would have been roughly $400, which is still very high for how little energy I feel we use.
- Add insulation
- Possibly replace the hot water heater, although prices are pretty high right now and I'm not sure I can use a hybrid tank at this moment due to such a cold basement. I'm looking into whether a diverter is possible, so I can exhaust the cold air outside during the winter, but inside during the warm weather to help dehumidify the basement.

I'll be going back through the related threads online to see if I'm missing something, but I don't think I'm missing anything obvious.
Oh, and one thing we did a couple of years ago to save money and make dinners faster was buying a countertop convection oven. We use it 99.999% of the time, because it fits all of our meals, except for when we need to bake a turkey or something.

The convection feature is pretty awesome. For most meals, no preheat is required, and we can lower the time/temp on the box to fully cook most things. This is mostly objective since we use a temp probe for the meals that require a certain temp, like 165F for chicken dishes.
Sounds like you might be a contender for one of those cold climate heat pumps.

For electricity I pay 0.09324 KWH. 996 KWH I used last month. All in was $117.00.

For natural gas I used 383.358 cubic meters. $40 of federal carbon tax ffs. Came too $198.69.

Both were estimates last month so this was an actual read. I'm guessing they estimated low.
Woodstove an option in the basement? We heat with wood for the most part. Cheap to run with free wood and not really much of PITA once you know what you are doing with a chainsaw, splitting maul, storage, and running the stove.
Also takes care of your humidity problem as long as you don't store too much wood in the basement.
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I run my SS washer on the Quick Wash setting. It runs about 36 to 40 minutes depending on the light, normal, or heavy setting. Maybe that will help.
Usually the issue in winter is too low humidity and not too much. Many people run a humidifier in the winter, perhaps you meant to say humidifier and not dehumidifier (?) but then why have one in the bathroom.
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How old are the fridges? My sister in Pa had an old fridge in the basement, they thought their bill was too high, when they unplugged it the bill immediately went down $30-35/month. They've had it for years.

Dehumidifiers use more electricity that you'd think. Find a cost calculator online. You capture the heat but it can't be a 1:1 energy thing.
I see two pieces of low hanging fruit .

Get a quality drying rack and air dry some clothes - it's way better for the fabric anyway
A little harder on the dehumidifiers, but you should save a bit overall.

Like John Galt says- usually with electric heat you are usually looking for more humidity did you flip this by any chance?

You can probably skip washing the dishes prior to washing the dishes - just scrape off the plates into the trash and load them up
I haven't pre washed dishes in 20 years.

Get a kill-o watt and rotate it around your house to look at what things are really costing you to run.
Can you switch to gas? I'm lucky in Colorado as our gas rates are at least reasonable. Can you use an insulated blanket on your electric heater to increase efficiency ?

Man, I miss gas. Our old condo had gas and our total utility bills were cheap, even with the 1960s furnace.

Like I said, we have kept the heat mostly 100% OFF, so the massive bill isn’t majorly affected by that, so gas or heat pumps or better insulation in some locations wouldn’t cost less than zero.

I‘m perfectly comfortable in jeans, socks and a sweater with the temp at 57.9F. When it gets down to 50-55F or I’ve been sitting for a bit I put my electric throw on and usually have to turn it down it gets too warm.
Sounds like you might be a contender for one of those cold climate heat pumps.

Indeed, but that wouldn’t help lower my bill, considering the heat has been off the vast majority of the time. If I had to guess, my wife has turned the heat up in only the main room for a total of 20 hrs or so over the whole month. We also might have used the 1500W space heaters during shower time the same amount. I mean, that might be in excess of 300 kWh for the two, I don’t know, because the room baseboard draw and duty cycle would be hard to calculate.

So, the heat pump solution would save us money while used in the room, but the majority of the system, which will be sized for the whole house, will go unused, based on how we’re doing things now. It would definitely save us a ton when her family visits, because every space is kept at 68-70F+, but that’s maybe 10 days out of the year.

If we decided to use the system to heat and cool, we’d probably end up spending the same amount just by using it more often in spaces we don’t currently heat or cool.

In the end, I‘m doing more than probably 99% of the population would do and I’m 100% not willing to make any other changes to things.

I should also say that I’m firmly middle class, but no where near wealthy, so major increases to bills like this are making things a lot harder. We were waiting for the kids to be in school full time for my wife to go back to work, but that’s probably going to have to change.
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Woodstove an option in the basement? We heat with wood for the most part. Cheap to run with free wood and not really much of **** once you know what you are doing with a chainsaw, splitting maul, storage, and running the stove.
Also takes care of your humidity problem as long as you don't store too much wood in the basement.

I did forget to mention the wood stove, and it is a consideration. We actually just had the badly damaged chimney to the stove repaired last year and I have a couple of trees that are too bit and should probably come down, but I don’t have experience with that. I’ve only ever cut down smaller trees, like mature apple trees that were easy to limb and take apart.

The stove is also in the basement on the other side of the house from the room, with the only airflow via a small grate and the stairs to the basement. I’d have to use fans to really get the heat to the rooms I believe. With that said, every house I’ve ever been in with a wood stove this size (and smaller) put out a TON of heat.

This solution will likely make it warmer overall, but with such little use of the heat as is, I’m not sure it makes financial sense. I guess I could save the wood for when family is over and emergencies.
I run my SS washer on the Quick Wash setting. It runs about 36 to 40 minutes depending on the light, normal, or heavy setting. Maybe that will help.

That’s what I do. Before I got the office gig my clothes would get pretty dirty, but now the quick wash on cold is all that’s needed. My wife doesn’t use that setting though and she won’t.

I also need to monitor how much water is used. I read somewhere recently that the quick cycle is shorter, but uses more water.
We've been going through the same thing here. Last month my bill was $170 and my most recent one shot up to $264! However, I think mine is due to some electric oil filled heaters I have. One (living/dining area) had been running on high for most of that month. I've cut down on the usage on those and I removed the one in the dining/living room area. Unfortunately my furnace is fueled by oil and that's ridiculously expensive. We had a 45% rate increase back in May '22 right when AC season was kicking into high gear. No gas or any public utilities out my way, it's electric/oil only.