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(Another) Why is my ConEd bill so high?
December 2, 2010 8:32 AM   Subscribe

I searched and found some good info on this subject, but i have some specifics about my situation and i'm wondering if Mefi can help me figure out why my bill seems so high.

I live in a tiny (approx ~300 sq ft) studio apartment on the LES of Manhattan. My current arrangement calls that i pay for heat and hot water, as well as electricity.

My bill is about $130-140 a month during the winter which seems very high. I asked the super and he said that other apartments are paying maybe $80-90 (to be fair he doesnt speak english that well and i'm not sure why he would even know the details of their bills-- he is not a live-in super). I called ConEd and the woman said my bill is on par with my neighbors (to be fair-- most of the apartments are a lot bigger and are 2 people living per apartment).

My bill break up generally leans more on gas. This month it was 80$ gas and 50$ electric. I am paying 61cents per therm for gas and 10cents per kwh for electricity.

I'm not sure if the electric seems high or not. I work during the day and have the bulk of my appliances (TV, PS3, Cable box) plugged into a power strip which i turn off while im not at home-- i make an effort to keep most things unplugged. I am also not home during the weekends, where i stay at my boyfriend's.

I do however, think that my gas is very high. I have a gas stove and cook occasionally, and so far i have not turned on my heat at all this year. I know i pay for my own hot water and the building has the hot water turned on scorchingly hot. I've asked them if they could turn it down, and i've been told the super has done it but i don't feel a difference in the water temperture.

I've looked into ConEd's ESCO program but called about 8 of the energy providers they listed for me and they are all offering rates for natural gas that is higher than what i am currently paying with ConEd.

I am told that my meter gets read every month, so this isn't a case where they make a guess and figure it out later.

A little research led me to possibly changing my faucet and shower heads to something that conserves water. I'll definitely look into that (any recomendations on models?) but something still doesn't seem right.

Does anyone have any advice on how i can tackle this problem? I've asked around and i know ConEd's rates vary from area to area but so far, no one i have asked pays as much as i do. In the summertime with my AC my bill gets as high as $400--- again for a 250-300 sq foot studio apartment. Thats another post though, i'm just trying to tackle the winter bills for now.

posted by modernsquid to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How old is your building? The place I lived in right after college had some interesting wiring and it turns out that some tenants were paying for other tenant's utilities.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:37 AM on December 2, 2010

What's your window situation like? Are they old or drafty? Also, are you sure your gas is really metered for just you? The place I'm in now actually splits overall bills based on square footage and number of residents.

As for your electric, my usage at $.03 per kwh comes out to $50 for a place four times the size of yours, with one to three lights on six hours every day and two PCs, a router, a modem, and my fridge on continuously. It seems close to reasonable, maybe a bit high. I'd want to look at your cost of service charges.
posted by SMPA at 8:58 AM on December 2, 2010

I'm not familiar with NYC utilities, but that sounds way too high, especially given that you seem to be a saint when it comes to conserving energy. Methinks your power/gas lines are feeding more than just your studio.
posted by schmod at 8:59 AM on December 2, 2010

I am not sure how old my building is but its been brought up before by a friend that maybe i am paying for another tenant's utilities. My building is certainly not one of the new high rises but its not old enough to have my shower in my kitchen either.

I called ConEd to ask them to check on this and they weren't very helpful. They insisted that someone came out every month to check my meter and they would have noticed if i was paying for another apartment's utilities.

Is there a way i can check this myself?
posted by modernsquid at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2010

Like TWinbrook8 says, I would think that something is amiss with your wiring/metering.

I bet you could find a helping hand at one of the tenants' organization in the neighborhood. I would try GOLES first. Give them a call, explain your situation and your attempted remedies so far, and see what advise they have.
posted by minervous at 9:38 AM on December 2, 2010

(Er, advice.)
posted by minervous at 9:41 AM on December 2, 2010

Well, one way to see if you're paying for someone else's electricity would be to shut the power off at your own breaker box, and then leave it off for a while. People generally make complaints when their power goes out, so you might get your Super's attention that way if in fact your wiring is not exclusive to your apartment.
posted by Jemstar at 10:02 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

One thing that would be helpful is if you posted a scan of your latest bill minus all the important details. As a Manhattanite in a 550 sqft 1BR, my normal electric is between 60 to 150 (winter to summer). I used to do a breakout of the kWh to see what was costing so much, if I saw your statement (minus the personal info) I could let you know if you were paying a lot per kWh or just paying for a TON of electricity you aren't using.

As far as the ESCO stuff, DONT DO IT! I looked into that as well and any advantage you get is short lived. Your best bet is really just using Con-Ed.
posted by darkgroove at 3:01 PM on December 2, 2010

If anyone is curious, I am still toying with trying to get my Con Ed bill down.

I think i've narrowed it down to the fact that my gas bill seems to be really large. I started using an electric heater instead of the heater that is installed in my apartment (that is gas-controlled) and my bill is down to about $120-- which is still REALLY high but at least its not $180 (which is what it was last month).

I am starting to think whats causing the really high gas bill is my stove. Its rather old, and my boyfriend recently noticed that the broiler seems to turn on whenever i turn my stove on (no matter if i turn it onto a lower temperature and NOT "broil"). Short of replacing my stove/not cooking/moving out i'm not sure how to remedy this. The name/brand of the stove is "Modern Kitchen" which yields like, 0 google results. :(

Thank you for your input, everyone! Jemstar, i did try your suggestion of turning off my power in my own breaker box. I shut it off over a long weekend thinking that if anyone was using my power, they would call the landlord and the landlord would call me since it was a very long weekend. No calls though, so I don't think thats the cass.
posted by modernsquid at 10:51 AM on February 7, 2011

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