I think my utility company had been ripping me off


#1

So a little over 3 months ago I emailed First Energy (my electricity provider) about my usage… If you look below, other then the last two months, the usage is very high… My “neighbors” averaged 894 KWH and my “efficient neighbors” averaged 612 KWH…

I have almost all LED bulbs… Most of my appliances are new (within 5 years)… My dryer is gas… My gas furnace is 2 years old… I have a gas hot water tank… I have one computer that’s on 24/7…

I have a dehumidifier that is older… A water softener that is about 3 years old…

Their reply was the canned:

Thank you for using the FirstEnergy web site. In reviewing your account, we see your consumption has been consistent for the past two years. We have attached your usage summary for your review. Your consumption cannot properly be compared with that of others when it comes to energy efficiency because every premise is different, despite the similar size and the consumption usage is different even with the same number of people in a household.

The number and types of devices can make a difference, as well. When mechanical meters begin to malfunction, they do not increase registration. They slow down and register less consumption. It may be there is something specific in your home that is the leading consumer of your power. The first step toward identifying a possible element, we would ask that you perform a breaker test.

You will need to turn off all the circuit breakers and locate your electric meter. Look at the meter. Once it has stopped spinning, turn on a single circuit breaker. Go back to look at the meter. If it appears to move at what you may consider to be a reasonable pace, turn that circuit breaker off. Go to the next circuit breaker and repeat the process until you have checked each individual circuit breaker. If you find a breaker causing the meter to spin rapidly, then whatever is connected to that individual breaker is pushing a greater percentage of your consumption.

So I ended up buying a Sense… Installed it and monitored my usage for the past two months… I was expected to find something mindblowing that was using all the electricity… But that never came… Everything looked pretty normal… Then I got my first bill since installing Sense… It was 776 KWH… Compare that to last Feburary and it was almost 1,000KWH LESS… Now, I know things can change but nothing major changed in my house… At all… So, I figured if I get another low bill I will reach out to First Energy again…

I get another bill and it’s even lower then last month… The lowest ever by FAR…

So I email them again saying basically WTF… I changed nothing and now my bill is waaaaay lower then it has ever been… They basically replied the same exact thing…

What are everyone’s thoughts? Sense confirms that the last two months usage are what they reported… They had to have done something, no?

Thanks


#2

Your bill from the same month one year ago is only $6 more expensive, but you have over 200% of the usage (according to them). How does that compute (even with the variability if KWH price)?


#3

Budget billing… Basically you can do budget billing which takes averages your bill so you don’t pay a ton in the summer from running HVAC to little in the winter…


#4

Did you, by chance, tell First Energy that you would be auditing their results using another meter ? Seems like they double checked their monitoring and perhaps turnoff the “2x” switch :slight_smile:


#5

I would ask them to calibrate your meter. Where I live in Ontario they have to comply with that and calibrate the meter but it is a double edge sword. If they calibrate the meter they might find you were right and now they will adjust your bill for the last 1-2 years. But it can also go the other way and found to be not charging enough for what you use and if it was off by say 5% then they will go back 1-2 years and charge you for not paying enough. I would call and ask them about what the policies are for their company about recalibrating your power meter! Let us know how it goes, and now you have a tool (Sense) to tell when things are off. Also on your billing cycle day go take a power reading off your meter to make sure they are reading it properly. Sometimes if the power meter guy can’t get to your meter because of snow or ice they will use previous bills to approx the usage then the next month when they can access the meter they will adjust you next bill. This can happen with digital meters also when they can’t pull a reading from it for some reason.

Let us know how it goes…


#6

wish the Sense people would add more ability to the pricing settings. I have my Electricity Cost set at 17.59cents/kWh right now but sure wish they had At least a 7day 24hr grid to give a little bit more accuracy until you figure out a better way.


#7

Would an export of CSV usage at 15 min resolution be sufficient to cost things out ? My min TOU “grid” resolution today is on the 1/2 hour.


#8

Can we get a CSV Dump at the 15 minute resolution ? Even if it is a default of 30 day or 60 days - even better 90 days. That would be great.

Is that possible and I just have not read about it yet?

Can we put that on the wish list?


#9

Curious to see if you ever found out what was the difference between the before and after Sense. Perhaps there was a short in the panel and you corrected that by moving stuff when you installed Sense?

Reminds me of a big house I once rented. I noticed one day the electric meter was barely moving. What I found was that if I turned everything off and then turned things on slowly the meter would stick and not register usage. Always made sure to do that when the AC was running in the summer :slight_smile:


#10

This would be my guess as well - the OP is paying a blended yearly average which is typically adjusted once a year - this avoids bill shock in the summer when HVAC/AC demands can be dramatically higher and blends those higher bills into statements over the winter months.

Here in Canada you can ask for your natural gas bills to be blended this way, paying more in the summer months (when most houses are using little or none) to offset the much higher bills in the winter when the furnaces are running overtime in the brutal cold.