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  1. #1

    Angry Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Aloha kakou,

    I wonder if anyone out there can help me with this:

    I live in a townhouse complex. A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor sheepishly asked me if my electric bill has been really high. Yes, it has been ever since January of this year. Attributing the larger monthly bills to the rising gas prices, I never looked at my HECO bill which shows kilowatt-hour usage on a graph. Finally doing so gave me a shock!

    Among the several problems I see, the one that stands out most prominently is the fact that for all of 2010, my energy usage was consistent. In February of this year, HECO show me as having the highest usage I have ever had! Never mind that February is the shortest month of the year, and I wasn't home for 10 days that month. Since then, HECO shows my usage as dropping slightly then rising and rising.

    I called HECO twice, and I was told, in a nutshell:

    1. I must be running my A/C since it's been a warm summer (I don't use a/c)
    2. It has to be one of my appliances (though none of them have been changed or malfunctioned in 3 years)
    3. I don't need anyone to come out and take a look at my meter because the only way a HECO meter would malfunction is to slow down and stop, and
    4. A senior HECO employee will call me back in 4-8 weeks (!!!)

    So my biggest concern now is how to go about checking my appliances to see if I'm "leaking" electricity somewhere. What do I need to do to accomplish this? Anyone?

    Mahalo nui loa in advance!
    Jo

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    2. It has to be one of my appliances (though none of them have been changed or malfunctioned in 3 years)
    Hi, Jo. By any chance, do you have any kine digital converter boxes for cable, maybe a recent addition? Those things are electricity hogs.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Wow, mahalo for the speedy response, Leo!

    Y'know, now that you mention it, I do have a digital cable box, but... that was installed last year. I should also add that February's purported usage was an astounding 400 kH more than the months in the year before. I just don't understand what appliance could do something like that... Any ideas?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    Y'know, now that you mention it, I do have a digital cable box, but... that was installed last year. I should also add that February's purported usage was an astounding 400 kH more than the months in the year before. I just don't understand what appliance could do something like that... Any ideas?
    I've often wondered about this. How can you verify your electrical usage, other than relying on HECO's determination? I live in a rented apartment, but I pay for electricity. I don't know my kH usage (I have no way of getting info on it), but it seems that recently, the charges seems out of proportion to my usage. Sometimes I think "garans this month's bill is going to be lower than last month's," but it's not. Other time, it's the other way around (though this is rare). So, how do you determine your kH usage? And how do you determine which appliances are responsible for each charge?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Definitely. I've been hearing a lot of complaints recently from so many people about their high electric bills. When I called HECO initially, there was a two hour wait to speak to someone. I figured that maybe I wasn't the only one with this problem.

    As an aside, my neighbor who originally approached me about our electric bills told me that she talked to another neighbor across the way who lives in another townhouse complex. He said that his electric bill is never more than $150/month, and this guy is home all day! Seriously, ours is only slightly less than double that. She noticed he had a digital meter though. According to the customer service rep, this shouldn't make a difference.

    My friends have a single-family home in a household of 5 adults. At least two of them are home all day, every day... they cook for an army every night... are online and have the tv on constantly. Their electric bill is around $245/mo, a balance I'd expect for that kind of usage. In my household, there's just my husband and me. What gives?

    By the way, I have access to my meter, but I'm not sure how you would know what your usage is if you don't...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    There's also a fairly active HECO thread HERE, in case you haven't seen it. My bill is exorbitant for a 464 sq. ft. studio.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    By the way, I have access to my meter, but I'm not sure how you would know what your usage is if you don't...
    If you have access to your meter, I would just turn everything off at the circuit breaker box, then one-by-one, turn on each circuit individually to determine how much power each one is sucking up.


    BTW, it's just my wife and me, and our electric bill is about $220/mo from Nov 2010 - Mar 2011, and $270/mo ever since (we've been running the AC a lot more since March). This is roughly a $40/mo jump from the same months the previous year.
    Last edited by zff; July 18th, 2011 at 11:41 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    I've often wondered about this. How can you verify your electrical usage, other than relying on HECO's determination? I live in a rented apartment, but I pay for electricity. I don't know my kH usage (I have no way of getting info on it), but it seems that recently, the charges seems out of proportion to my usage. Sometimes I think "garans this month's bill is going to be lower than last month's," but it's not. Other time, it's the other way around (though this is rare). So, how do you determine your kH usage? And how do you determine which appliances are responsible for each charge?
    You can procure one of these meters to individually measure what power consumption an appliance is doing to help you identify what's the energy hog or if HECO is simply overestimating.

    http://www.amazon.com/P3-Internation.../dp/B00009MDBU

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    Among the several problems I see, the one that stands out most prominently is the fact that for all of 2010, my energy usage was consistent. In February of this year, HECO show me as having the highest usage I have ever had! Never mind that February is the shortest month of the year, and I wasn't home for 10 days that month.
    The same thing happened to me last month. I was away for over a week and the usage number was higher than other months. Is there a meter reader every month or do they just have estimates for some months?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    I live in a townhouse complex. A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor sheepishly asked me if my electric bill has been really high.
    Uh, why were they asking?

    On your water heater, there's an pressure relief valve. Quite frequently it just drains to the side of the tank. Is there any signs that water has been coming out of it? Does your sinks or shower drip?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walkoff Balk View Post
    Is there a meter reader every month or do they just have estimates for some months?
    Some months they estimate. But since the meter is a running total, when they read it again, then next bill will adjust for the estimate.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Gecko, my neighbor asked because her electric bill is really high too. We have no water draining from the water heater and none of our fixtures leak or drip. Just checked again earlier this evening.

    Walkoff, I can't figure that one out either. It was a whopping 400 kwH more than HECO shows we normally use.

    Joshua, I'm going to look into that. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    How can you verify your electrical usage, other than relying on HECO's determination? I live in a rented apartment, but I pay for electricity. I don't know my kH usage (I have no way of getting info on it)
    You don't have access to the meter? If you have access, then you can read it yourself to get an idea.

    Otherwise, if you don't mind installing something in your electric panel, you can use something like The Energy Detective


    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    Joshua, I'm going to look into that. Thanks so much for the suggestion!
    Pleaes see my message in the other thread. To rack up 400KWH, you'd need something like 550W running 24/7. I tend to doubt if it's anything you have plugged in.

    Quote Originally Posted by maliemalamalama View Post
    We have no water draining from the water heater and none of our fixtures leak or drip. Just checked again earlier this evening.
    I remembered a problem my neighbor had. There was a water leak in the hot water line in the slab. Since it was under the building, there wasn't much evidence of the leak.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
    You don't have access to the meter? If you have access, then you can read it yourself to get an idea.

    Otherwise, if you don't mind installing something in your electric panel, you can use something like The Energy Detective
    Actually, I lived in a condo where I couldn't get access to my meter as all the meters for the units were in a common locked closet accessible only by the bldg mgr. So it can be an issue for some.


    Quote Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
    Please see my message in the other thread. To rack up 400KWH, you'd need something like 550W running 24/7. I tend to doubt if it's anything you have plugged in.
    I agree at ~600W an hour, it's probably not the smaller devices. However, having a power meter is a great way for anyone to do a little detective work to get an idea of what portions of power consumption go where. Then it can be a process of elimination. The TED device you listed still requires removing an electric panel and I would relegate that to someone who is a professional to be on the side of caution.


    Quote Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
    I remembered a problem my neighbor had. There was a water leak in the hot water line in the slab. Since it was under the building, there wasn't much evidence of the leak.
    Some other thoughts would be an electric water heater where maybe the thermostat is no longer operating correctly. Same goes with the refrigerator. Maybe the central air if that is involved as well?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
    Some months they estimate. But since the meter is a running total, when they read it again, then next bill will adjust for the estimate.
    A customer is out of luck when the overestimating is done when the fuel prices are high.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Ridiculous Electric Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by Walkoff Balk View Post
    A customer is out of luck when the overestimating is done when the fuel prices are high.
    If the fuel prices went down the following month, then that could be bad.

    BTW, I did some more math on heating water. If there is a leak, I'm sure it would show up in the water bill. Since living in a townhouse, it might be part of the maintenance fees. But it would be worth asking if it's gone high for some reason.

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