I KNOW I didn't cook THAT much more.
January 27, 2010 9:14 AM Subscribe
Did my downstairs neighbor break my gas bill? Or does the meter reader need glasses?
Here's the stats: I'm in a 4-unit brownstone in Brooklyn, on the top floor. 2 persons in my apartment. One floor below me: a guy who lives alone, and often goes out of town. One floor below him: a family of four, kids ages 3 and 6 months. One floor below them: 3 women. All of us have the same size space, all of us have our own gas meters. Each unit controls their own thermostat; we have radiator heat via boilers in the basement.
A couple weeks ago, my roommate was home sick for the day, and when I got home he mentioned it had been awfully cold all day, and turning up the thermostat didn't seem to help. He pointed out that he'd turned the thermostat all the way up to 80. I'd also noticed it was chilly when I got in; it sure as hell wasn't 80 degrees, so I called the super. The super discovered that one of the radiator pipes had frozen; apparently, the downstairs neighbor had turned his heat OFF before leaving town for the month of December, and we had one good cold night and the pipes froze. They replaced the pipes that same day, we left the thrermostat at 80 for a couple hours to catch up, then turned it down to 68 and left it there, and it's been there ever since. All in all, the thermostat was only up a day and a half to two days.
Then yesterday, I got my gas bill. On average, my gas bill for that unit is between $75-$100 a month (using between 20-40 therms a month). The highest it ever got in two years was $121 (60 therms). But this bill was a whopping $300, with 196 therms usage.
My roommate and I tried to think of whether there was any excessive thing we did this past month -- and no, neither one of us cooked any more than usual, took any more showers than usual, or anything like that. The only anomaly was that two days of trying to turn up the heat while the radiator was down - but that was just two days. Not even.
I've already called the gas company to come out and re-check that meter (one of the three women on the ground floor told me that "yeah, our gas bill was a little weird too,") so someone really could have written something down wrong. But in case that's all correct -- is it possible that the two days we tried to turn up the thermostat while the radiator was down made THAT much of a difference? And, if so, should I bring that up with the neighbor who froze the pipes? Or, is it way more likely that it was a meter reading error?