Real Estate

PREMIER Reports: Going Green Part 3

In the April issue I told you about my ridiculously high electric bill that soared to $492 and the lessons I learned regarding worn out and broken appliances. With that knowledge and some other new energy saving habits I was able to bring my bill down

Part 3

PREMIER Reports: Going Green Part 3

Mission: Saving Money while also saving the environment

In the April issue I told you about my ridiculously high electric bill that soared to $492 and the lessons I learned regarding worn out and broken appliances. With that knowledge and some other new energy saving habits I was able to bring my bill down to $299 the following month. Then in the May issue I told you about some other lessons I learned which then decreased my bill further to $143. When I received my April bill the first week of May I was so pleased to see the bill was only $83. Over the last 3 months I have lowered my bill 83% from $492 to $83.  I know if I can do it anyone can. If you would like to see both my articles from the April and May issues, visit www.sandiegopremier.net

Electric bills:

November       $453

December        $488

January            $492

February          $299

March              $143

April                $83

Lesson #3

The more you know, the more you can save. I spent over an hour on the phone with the electric company and the information she told me was eye opening.  Some of the things I had heard about but I didn’t imagine the results would be so dramatic.  If someone had told me 3 months ago my electric bill would and could be only $83 a month I would have never believed them.  So I am here to tell you, the more you know, the more you will save.

Residential electric rates are tiered, meaning the more you use then more you pay. I know you are saying, of course, the more you use the more you spend, but more than just that, the more you use the higher your cost per kilowatt-hour. I know, what does that mean? Before you can understand what electricity costs, you have to understand how it’s measured. When you buy gas they charge you by the gallon, when you buy electricity they charge you by the kilowatt-hour. When you use 1000 watts for 1 hour, that’s a kilowatt-hour, also known as kWh.

The wattage will be printed on the device or its label when your purchase it.  To get kilowatt-hours (kWh), take the wattage and divide by 1000 to turn it into kilowatts, and then multiply by the number of hours you’re using the item.

Example: A 100-watt light on 24/7 for one month:

24 hours x 30 days = 720 hours

A 100-watt light bulb:

100 divided by 1000 = .1 x 720 hours= 72 kWh

Box

Wattage          Hours Used    kWh

1000                1 Hour             1 kWh

1500                1 Hour             1.5 kWh

500                  1 Hour             .5 kWh

24                    10 Hours         .24 kWh

100                  72 Hours         72 kWh

25                    73 Hours         18 kWh

California has a complicated way of figuring tiers.  First you have to find your “baseline quantity” (different for winter vs. summer) and then multiply that by the number of days in the billing cycle.  For example, an all-electric (no gas) San Diego household has baseline quantities of 10.45 for summer and 11.548 for winter.  In a 31-day month, the baseline is 10.45 x 31 = 324 kWh for summer and 11.548 x 31 = 358 kWh for winter.  From there the tiers (and pricing from my SDG&E bill, April for summer and December’s bill for winter) are as follows per my bills:

Example using old bills Tier 1 (Baseline) Tier 2

((101% – 130% of baseline)

Tier 3

(131% – 200% of baseline)

Tier 4

(Over 200%  of baseline)

Summer $0.06026 $0.08103 $0* $0*
Winter $0.04455 $0.06472 $0.21019 $0.23019

*I didn’t have Tier 3 or 4 rates for summer, due to all my conserving of energy this month, but if you look at your bill you can understand and see the numbers I am showing you and figure out your Tier rates.

Question: Assume (this is not true just an example for this article) that your DVR Box uses 200 watts. How much does it cost if the DVR was on 24 hours a day, for a whole month? Assume 12¢/ kWh

Answer:

24 hours x 31 days = 744 x 200 watts = 148,800 divided by 1000 = 148.8 x .12 = $17.86

Understanding Baseline Qualities

The baseline rate structure provides residential customers with a minimum quantity of electricity and gas at the lowest possible cost, while offering an incentive to conserve energy. A monthly baseline quantity is indicated on each bill you receive, based on the number of billing days in your cycle. Energy use below the baseline amount is billed at a lower rate than is energy use over the baseline.

Here are some appliances and what they will cost you around the house.  With the charts and labels on your appliances you can calculate what most of them are costing you every month. These examples have been supplied to me by SDG&E

For this chart

Low-use electric cost estimates reflect a rate of .15 cents per kWh*

High-use electric cost estimated reflect a rate of .25 cents per kWh*

*the price you pay may vary depending on your tiered rate and some other factors

Kitchen

Coffee Maker

3 cents per pot

4 cents per pot

Dishwasher (electric)

47 cents per load without heat

55 cents per load with heat

79 cents per load without heat

91 cents per load without heat

Oven (electric, cooking)

23 cents per hour

38 cents per hour

Oven (gas, cooking)

13 cents per hour

13 cents per hour

Range Top (electric, medium setting)

5 cents per hour

8 cents per hour

Oven (electric, high setting)

18 cents per hour

330 cents per hour

Range Top (gas, medium setting)

2 cents per hour

2 cents per hour

Range Top (gas, medium setting)

12 cents per hour

12 cents per hour

Refrigerator (22 cu ft, doors side-by-side)

19 years of older, frost free

$23.55 per month

$39.25 per month

2001 or newer

$8.40 per month

$14 per month

ENERGY STAR (15% more efficient than standard)

$7.14 per month

$11.90 per month

Wine Cooler

$3.51 per hour

$5.85 per hour

Microwave Oven (standard size, 1500 watts)

23 cents per hour

38 cents per hour

Household Rooms

Plug-in Air Freshener

Less than ½ cent per month

Less than ½ cent per month

Air Conditioner (electric, room air, ½-ton)

11 cents per hour

9 cents per hour

DVD Player

Up to 1/2 cent per hour

1 cent per hour

Stereo

2 cents per hour

3 cents per hour

Television

(color)

2 cents per hour

4 cents per hour

(54” Plasma)

5 cents per hour

8 cents per hour

(54” LCD)

3 cents per hour

5 cents per hour

(54” Rear-projector)

3 cents per hour

5 cents per hour

VCR (while is use)

Up to 1 cent per hour

Up to 1 cent per hour

Video Games

2 cents per hour

4 cents per hour

Bedroom/Bathrooms

Clock

22 cents per month

36 cents per month

Hair Dryer

18 cents per hour

30 cents per hour

Night Light (5-7 watts)

1 cent per night

2 cents per night

Portable Heater (electric 1500 watts)

23 cents per hour

38 cents per hour

Home Office

Answering Machine

$1.08 per month

$1.80 per month

Cell Phone Charger

While charging

Up to 1 cent per hour

Up to 1 cent per hour

Computer & Monitor

4 cents per hour

6 cents per hour

Laptop

Up to 1 cent per hour

Up to 1 cent per hour

Printer

While in use

Up to 1/2 cent per minute

Up to 1/2 cent per minute

Scanner

While in use

Up to 1/2 cent per minute

Up to 1/2 cent per minute

Fax Machine

While in use

1 cent per hour

1 cent per hour

On standby

$2.70 per month

$4.50 per month

Keep in mind when looking through this chart that most appliances also drain electricity even when not in use, I have indicated the ones specific to “while in use” only.  Some of the costs might seem low but many homes have 3-4 TV’s, DVD Players, VCR’s, DVR’s, Stereo’s, Game Stations, Clocks, Chargers, Phones, Lamps, Blow Dryers…I think you get my point.  Do the math, everything adds up.

Conclusion #3

Knowledge is power. Understanding your electric bill is crucial to be able to effectively manage your costs. When in doubt, call and speak to a service representative. You will be surprised at how helpful they can be and, as I was, at how much can be saved so easily…for me over $400 a month!

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