Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Too Much Missy

I was listening to the wireless and I heard of people complaining that their electric bills were around $1000 per quarter. They must really be doing something wrong. Our electric is about $300 per quarter, I thought. How could you use $1000 worth of electricity in three months?

Then our electric bill arrived, $600+. We knew it would be a bad bill. It covers the period our air con wasn't working and for about three weeks we had two small electric heaters running. I can see how a family's electric bill could get to $1000 per quarter. While we don't stint with heating or lighting, we certainly don't overheat and nor do we leave lights on in rooms if we aren't there. Air con and fridge are what chews up our power.

We don't get a  gas bill, as the Owner's Corp pays that and it is only for stove hotplates. The OC gets a very large bulk discount price.

We receive a normal style water bill, but that is only for cold water.

We receive a bill for gas used to heat our hot water in the buildings two boilers, but the Owner's Corp pays for the water that is heated, again heavily bulk discounted.

As far as I know,  our meters are read remotely and they don't require anyone to visit each floor and unlock the doors to the service core so I assume we don't get estimated bills, which makes the gas hot water bill very puzzling. It can vary by a huge amount and we cannot understand why. For years it was around $70-$80 per two months. Now, it can be anything from $110 to $150. We scratch our heads each time a bill arrives and try to work out why there is a big variation. Ok, holidays away for two weeks would make a slight difference. R not working for a while meant less clothes washing, so less hot water, another difference but neither can explain such a large variation. R not working probably meant he took longer showers in the morning.

I am expecting the next bill to be high, with reason. The building's two boilers have been playing up and for a while, the hot water temperature was down to about 50C or less, meaning the same water pressure in the showers, but little if any cold water needed to be added. I think there also may have been a pump problem too as we seemed to be waiting longer for hot water to arrive.

The two boilers are going to be replaced by ten smaller ones and the whole hot water system rebalanced. It will cost tens of thousands but the old ones have reached the end of their life spans. However, ours is only about fourteen years. Check out the contender for the oldest boiler in Adelaide.


18 comments:

  1. During an extended period when my mother's unit was unoccupied I never understood why her water bill and mine were virtually identical, quarter by quarter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless you use no water Victor, that does sound odd. Did you follow it up?

      Delete
  2. Colin8:28 am

    My God you do know how to open cans of worms and very good also.
    Here in Brisbane, everything as gone through the roofs in costs of gas, hot water and electricity.
    My last hot water bill was up 150%!!!!!
    I have refused to pay it until a re-check is done. The people here who do the readings are all outsourced people, so the company - Origin says it has no control over them!!! What utter clap-trap!
    We in my apartment block have no fence - quite often the reading appears as a bill, of course, with the comment - estimated, savage dog on premises!!!! Beat that.
    You have to have a fence if you have dog, and how many apartments or units do the occupants or the owners, have pit bull terriers racing around the precincts do any of your readers know of????. The police and council people would be knocking down your door for an explanation.
    So my hot water account has been put on hold until I return from the South - 31st October. Then I have to phone them again, to find out what is going on!!!!!!
    Aaaaaaah - the companies are taking up all for a pack of idiots and we must rebel against this injustice. What would happen,taking the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield as an example if all the residents of that suburb refused to pay????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colin, the matter is much the same Australia wide. Caulfield not paying would be much noticed, rather more than a poorer outer suburb.

      Delete
    2. I only selected Caulfield as I follow the "gee gee's". So it must be a more upmarket suburb of Melbourne? I can't see what difference a lower socio-economic suburb would be. People still live in those suburbs. Well then, say we select a town of about 10,000 plus, Sale for example, residents and the outlying farms within the shire and they all refused point blank to pay these sky-rocking fees, then what would happen?? Does the company turn off all access? Will the government of any persuasion allow this? Does this prosperous town just fade on the vine?
      The politicans, the heads of Departments and the CEO's of big companies and the Allan Jones's (the unspeakable creature) and others of radio power (talk back shows), have a clue - answer, no - they live on another planet. There is really only one interest that they all have in common is more money for themselves. End of story.
      And I might finally add, that when the superannuation funds of thousands of Australians crashed a few years ago, the politicans had "protected" superannuation.
      I worked with one fellow, who lost 1/2 a million. He had a heart attack and now is a "vegetable"!
      Ah strange world - eh?

      Delete
  3. I moved from a one-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment. My usage is the same. There my bill was $80-95/month. Same weather, but in my new apartment $156. Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, same utility company.

      Delete
  4. Less efficient air con Rubye? It is a large difference, whatever the reason. Can you check if you are paying the same tariff per kwh?

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have gas hot water, cooking and heating, our latest bill went from 484 for 60 days to 698. With Aunty here all day and heating on, the next bill should be a corker. Far too many rooms for 3 people and 2 doglets.

    Electric [I assume ducted heating uses some electricity] was 405 for 90 days. For some reason there is no Off Peak amount. Since Aunty arrived we have not used the clothes dryer.
    Both of these include a token pensioner discount.

    TO signed up for some 'loyalty' plan as both are Origin. Gas is calculated at 3 marginal rates, increasing as consumption increases. These have been charged at increasingly higher rates each month over the years, though from the latest month it appears the marginal rates are now locked in.
    Service to property represents about 15% of totals. I would have expected this to be higher given damage to infrastructure from bushfires. No smart meter - yet.
    I assume plan salesmen are on commission and there has been no increase in workcover claims following my outbursts when they knock at the door.

    Water is the killer in terms of no incentive to use less. $284 for 65 days, before pensioner discount, with only $92 for usage + sewage. Service to property charges for water and sewage, Parks, and waterways charges make up the rest. There is $11 refund because desal plant not yet up and running.

    Service charges for water are based on property valuations from 1990. Aha! One tick for living in Frankston.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Extraordinary figures FC, but I gather your house is pretty big and would cost a good bit to heat.

      Delete
  6. We have always had high electricity bills due to ducted aircon and heating. However, so far we haven't had a big increase. But $350 is enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds very reasonable Diane. I guess heating doesn't cost you much.

      Delete
  7. I'm expecting my electricity bill to be high, I've used the heaters a fair bit this winter and the electric blanket to keep my back warmed so the muscles don't stiffen up too much and the warmth eases the arthritis too. I turn it off as I get into bed, I don't want to cook myself over night. But I'm able to make advance payments on my gas and electricity accounts now, which helps a lot. My last gas bill had zero to pay with a good amount still in credit. I don't expect that from the electricity, but the final amount to pay shouldn't be too much, because I've paid so much already. The way costs have risen this year is shameful! The companies are ripping us off.

    Quotes from our newspaper a few months ago:

    "Retail power prices rising steeply while wholesale prices are the lowest they have been in eight years shows the electricity market is failing to pass on the benefits of green energy to consumers."

    "Inquiries by The Advertiser have revealed electricity generators have been allowed a 43% INCREASE since 2009 in what they earn for wholesale electricity when THEIR COSTS in that time HAVE DECREASED 35%."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish my mother could learn your budgeting skills. The quotes are very interesting and I was not aware of the figures. If they are true, we should all be aware of them.

      Delete
  8. ALWAYS question it. It might be as simple as a faulty meter. Our utilities went up by 15% last quarter - and that's PRE-carbon tax!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Red, on the occasions that the service area has been unlocked, I have checked the meters and they match readings. Given what you say about a 15% rise, I think our bills are probably correct. I will monitor it carefully though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I compared this years winter bill with last years. Almost the same usage but nearly double the price. Bastards.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fen, essential services making profits sent mostly overseas is just so wrong.

    ReplyDelete

Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.