We moved into our house last fall. We started getting bills that were 200, 300 and then finall our highest was 400 dollars for our electric bill because we have electric base board heat. We talked to our city who provides the electricity and they said the previous owners had the same bill. Our house isn't that big. Two bedrooms upstairs and a finished basement downstairs. Then we called the electric company to see if we could get a discounted rate for having base board heat as our only heat source and they just laughed. (My brother did this and it worked, but different area with different provider).
So now I am panicking as we have more bills this time around, I am working two jobs and Dh is working his good paying job and we are barely scraping by. Does anyone have any ideas on what we can do?
Wow, those are outrageous bills! Do you rent or own? If you own, could you get a small loan to put in a furnace? With that kind of electricity bill, I bet it would pay off in one or two years. How old are the windows, do they lose a lot of heat?
We have the opposite problem, the electric bills are super high here in Las Vegas during the summer. (Nothing close to yours, at around $250 in the hottest month with a 1200 sqft. house.)
I just finally called the power company and worked out a plan (it is pretty standard I think) to equalize all of the bills. They just average all of the months and you pay the same amount each month.
It really helped this month when our bill was $200 and I only had to pay $93. Of course during the winter months it will stink paying that much when it is usually only around $40, but budget wise, it was definitely the best plan.
I would also look into contacting someone to see about how much it would be to redo the heating. It might be much more at one time, but would help a lot in the long run.
Also, is there a way to disconnect the heating to rooms that you rarely use? That might cut down quite a bit as well.
*Just a random question after rereading your post...are you using heat during the summer months? How are the bills going up during these months?
Yikes! My mom's highest winter electric bill was nearly 700.00! She about died right there on spot when she opened that bill. That was a Texas winter, not even in the north! We had just moved in Oct and I guess we were still adjusting to the new size and all that (our new house is not quite twice the size of our old one). Soo yeah, they turned the heat down and we wore an extra layer...
Your best bet is to take a long hard look at your house and see where you can improve on energy efficiency.
Areas that generally need attention:
*windows (as stated before)
*attic--do you have enough insulation in the attic? And easy way to tell is after a snow, does the escaping heat transfer to the roof and melt the snow off the roof. Or measure the thickness of the insulation in the attic. We had this problem. But the fix was relatively easy and you can do it yourself. Most home improvement big box stores have the machine that spreads it and the bags of cellulose. In some cases, rental is free if you purchase so many bags of insulation. It's time consuming and yucky since insulation tends to go where it's not wanted as well as where it is wanted. But shutting the doors to other rooms will help.
*electrical outlets and switches--when you take the cover plate off in the winter, can you feel cold air coming through? They make insulation inserts to help block the cold air coming in. And no, it's not a fire hazard. If it is, you've got bigger problems than a large electric bill.
*Personal tastes: how warm are you keeping it? Can you keep some rooms colder when you aren't using them during they day (like bedrooms) and others colder at night (like the living room)? Can you dress more warmly?
*Your heaters themselves--they could just be really ineffecient. Would new ones save you more money in the long rung? Remember, with baseboard heat you can swap them out one at a time as you have the funds.
Also definitely check out the payment plans available through the electric company.