Can't We Just Roll That over a Bit More?

Updated on August 21, 2012
J.W. asks from Saint Louis, MO
31 answers

So I just got my electric bill. I have budget billing. Once a year it is "settled up", guess what month this is. So my little 143 a month is 300! Okay after a month and a half of god trying to make St Louis into jerky that isn't surprising. What is surprising is my new payment is 130. Okay couldn't we have just continued the 143 and "settled up" next year?

So how about your usage horror story. Anyone else get a crazy high bill after or because of the heat we got/are getting this summer? I tried to word that since I realize a good part of the country still has crazy heat.

Guys, just wanted to say it isn't a matter of not having the money, it was just the shock factor. I knew the bill was going to be high but I haven't seen a bill that high since I got new windows put in.

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So What Happened?

Dad this house is 20 years old, I have done all I can to hug trees, just never going to match that. I have to say I am jealous.

Bug, "settle up" means zero out your balance. Even though most of the year it is a credit when it goes positive they want it down to zero. Pretty much what it means is we went about 180 over what was predicted.

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answers from Albany on

We rarely see a utility bill under $300. This year with TWO out of three away at college could be the year!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Got my highest bill ever in July. I have a small (less that 1500 sq ft) house that is all on on one level, have a digital therostat, increase the temp slightly in the day and typically stay around 75. In July, the electric bill (which covers strictly electricity, nothign else rolled in) was $339. I'm concerned my next bill will be even higher. Yikes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My water bill for this month! I was shocked it went up so much. We pay quarterly. I am really really hoping it is caused by letting the kids play in the water since it was so hot out and not because someone is wasting. Just for the water more than doubled.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

Seattle, from May-Oct not only adds a 'summer premium' on water costs (about 1/3 higher), but DOUBLES the entire bill as a 'sewer' fee under a 'No Green Lawns' bill that went through.

So our normal 250 bill changes to 400 in the summer and THEN doubles to 800.


Sometimes I HATE this city.

((No pool, no lawn watering... Heck it RAINS here all summer idiots! Sorry. It's like when I've been paged over the grocery store intercom in 65 degree weather, because someone called the cops because I left my DOG in the car... Under the theory that it's "hot" out and his brain's melting. It's like people watch the news, have NO understanding, and then just lemming/ sheeple along with whatever. Ugh. 'No green lawns' = no fresh food for 5 months for a lot of us! Grumble grumble grumble. There's no reason on earth for us to be paying that much for water, except that half of Sea-town has their collective heads up their collective bums. <grin!> rant over!!).

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

hottest month EVER in my area
20 days over 100
26 days over 90
new house, just moved in - doors open alot
largish house - 3600 sq ft being air conditioned

versus geothermal air conditioning

$26 electric bill

yah treehuggers! :)
AC set at 70 most of month, turned it up to 72 to stop having to wear socks indoors
budget billing means they charge you the average of several years bills - every month, same number due. at the end of the year, you settle up

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Our home was built in 1962. Single pane windows, 9" of insulation in the attic. All electric except for the heater which is natural gas.

2000 SQ FT. August $375 in electricity. YUK ! ! ! All incandecent bulbs. They add heat and electricity. We have an electric stove and a double electic oven. My gas bill is charged the minimum from the gas company from April to October.

We changed the range and double oven from electricity to gas. We insulated the water heater and when it faile we changed to gas. The electric company arranged with Home depot and Lowes to sell the new energy-saving light bulbs for 4/$1. I changed all my lights to the new energy savers, including the 300 watt outside bulbs and the 150 watt bulbs in the bathrooms. We added insulation in the attic and added a special vapor barrier on top of that.

Then our kids and their "Its ok to leave lights on" attitude moved out on their own. I miss them. Its nice to have the money for those unneeded lights in my pocket.

BUT my electic bill and my gas bill has dropped about $300 per month.

I'm planting grape vines on the south and west sides of my home so the sun heats the grape leaves instead of my home.

Good luck to you and yours.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This is exactly why I dont do budget billing. I would rather just pay what I owe when I owe it instead of getting the surprise bill at the end. My husband had this happen to him when we were dating. He owed over $400 to "settle up".

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would love a 143.00 electric bill during the summer.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Thank goodness here in !00 degree land, as long as you are paying per month, they will keep your electricity going..

One summer our bill was over $500..- 900 sq ft home. I almost had a stroke.. Started paying $200. per month until we caught up.. the electric company said to just do what we could do, but keep paying per month,..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am not familiar with the settle up deal. We are on a contract with Champion for a low rate. I just paid $298 for this past month's bill and I was happy with that. It is the highest so far this year but before we ripped all the ac/pumps, furnace, etc out and put in more insulation it was $700 a month and not even in the middle of summer.

We're a bit over 4000SF and we built this house 12 yrs ago.

My water bill is another story. It topped out at over $700 for 2 months last year. So far this year it has stayed below $300.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

after renting a house the land lord had not heated all year (because he was staying with his girlfriend), we received bills based on the pervious years usage. When it got settled in the dead of winter and we had kept our 1880's victorian house nice and toasty, it increased by about 800 percent one month.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We now live in a city where the electrical utility company is municipally-owned (in other words, owned by our city government, and not-for-profit). So whatever it costs them to provide the energy is what we pay. Even though it does get hot here, our bills have remained around $200-250/month in the summer (not bad for a 2500 SF, 2-story house with single-paned windows and only one AC unit). Before this, we lived in a town in the central valley (where it is super hot half the year) where we had to use Pacific Gas & Electric (we in California have a real hate-hate relationship with those greedy, money-grubbing bastards), and our summertime bills for a 1600 SF, single-story home were... $650 PER MONTH. Yes, and that's keeping the house at 80*. Wintertime bills were routinely over $400, keeping the house at 62*. It was absurd.

Anyway, this past month (it has not been a hot summer in CA, though), keeping our house at 74*, our electric bill was $220, and our gas bill (still forced to use PG&E for that) was $76. So we are around $300/month all told, and I consider myself lucky.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Scranton on

We have a 4 bdrm old farm house and young children. our bill uasualy runs 150-175$ per month but last month it was $208! My husband threw a fit!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My usage horror story dates back to the second winter we were in our current house. DH had opened an office in the finished portion of our basement. We had 3 baseboard heaters, which have probably been there since the dawn of time, on for an entire month. The basement was around 55 degrees and we were heating to about 70. Our electric bill went from $50 to $450. For ONE MONTH. Needless to say, we cut the circuit to those heaters and haven't used them since.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well, they don't "settle up" here. (I'm really not sure what that means, actually!) I live in Texas. Our summers are pretty much the worst. Every year, I curse summers. (But, Fall is glorious after that summer hell!)

I'm actually amazed we can keep our summer bills around $150. My parent's (similar sized house) bill is more then twice ours. When we lived in an apartment (600 sq feet) our bills were outrageous. It was not unheard of for us to have $400 electricity bills. We were so shocked at how small our bills were, when we moved into a house. Winters are great on bills here! Gas and electricity are around $50 a month each.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

our electric bill varies from $175 to $275. My house is all electric except for the heat, stove and fireplace. My gas bill however runs like $8 in the summer and only about $50 (or so) in the winter.

We do have an energy star rated house which helps. but I know approx what my electric bill is going to be every month. It doesn't change too much.

Edited to add: I can handle the heat ... what I can't handle is the humidity that keeps it 90 degrees at 11pm. Can't sleep in that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

We use natural gas for heating, cooking, and hot water and are on what they call "balanced billing" throught the year. But they change the amount we pay quarterly, after reviewing our usage. Last winter was awesome because the temps were much higher than normal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My bill was more last year during August. My high bill this summer was 30 less. I turned off the air more at night. It saved us small fortune.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

We thankfully had only one really hot month this summer. But in that month we ran our dinosaur of a window unit for that month straight. We had the living room closed off so the only rooms being cooled was the living room and our bedroom.

Our normally around $100/ month bill went to $324. I know the unit was old and the bill was going to be bigger ( when the lights dim when it kicked on was a huge sign) but I didn't think it would triple in size! I would be scared to think what it would have been had we tried to cool more than those two rooms!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

Mine was 175 which is high for us because we dont use ac... exept last month and this month... Usually ours is like $100 or a little lower.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My husband has a thing about the lawn. Just got the water bill today and it was a huge 4x higher than the month before. But, damn, if our yard isn't the prettiest in the neighborhood. (Please, no lectures or PMs from the audience...I know we should conserve water, but, as I said, it is my husband's "thing". LOL!)


answers from Redding on

I'm pretty blessed. I get free utilities.... YAY.... something for my efforts for managing this circus :)
It's 100 outside, but feels like winter in my house.
Husband is currently covered in a blanket on his recliner, which is what I will be doing as well in a bit.


answers from Washington DC on

My electricity bill still has a $70 credit, which will most likely be wiped out next month...however, our settle up month is in the fall, which is perfect. So it's after the winter where we can save (gas heat) and build up for the summer months. We keep out house no WARMER than 71, and DC gets hot as all get out too. Some days it was up to 75 and running all day...ugh.

I really dislike paying for it all, but it is what it is.

We rented a house a while ago and we had one bill that was $500!! It was a TINY house and we had been freezing. Come to find out, the house was out of kerosene or something. Our landlords paid us back a portion of it, but not nearly the difference we had to pay. I was less than thrilled. Our new house that is more than 3 times as big costs me $170 a month year round for electricity and I pay $100 a month for gas so I don't have to pay in the summer at all.


answers from Columbus on

We had a medium sized pool this summer and we were waiting on the higher water bill to come and burn us. Strangely, it was manageable and the weird thing? The neighbor's postcard bill was accidentially delivered to our house and they are being charged the exact same amount as us this summer quarter. To the penny. Makes me think our water and sewer supplier is not really keeping track of things correctly.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We never do the budget thingy. To us, seems better to deal with the higher gas bills in the winter, then it evens out with the higher electric bills in the summer.....



answers from St. Louis on

40+ year old home. In need of replacing all heating/cooling, but are 1/2way thru replacing the windows. We averaged about $300/month this summer. Thought one bill was $500, but it ended up being a carry-over due to an issue at city hall. I was so relieved when I called & checked my balance!

& sadder than sad, we live in a neighborhood with quite a few senior citizens....also in 40+ year old homes. Some of these elderly face $500+ bills for both summer & winter. Truly creates a financial burden for them.



answers from Anchorage on

I love the budget billing, we always end up with a summer of no bills due to our conservation efforts over the winter when our bills are usually the highest.


answers from Houston on

My mom, who lived alone and worked all day... got $400 and $500 water and electricity bills one summer. She couldn't figure it out since she was never home and never used the utilities, her normal bills were very low. The companies said someone was possibly stealing from her. She ended up losing her home over it, b/c she couldn't afford the suddenly high bills and the utility companies wouldn't fix the meters or anything.


answers from Phoenix on

We were on the budget thing, where its one flat payment all year, then I screwed up, missed a payment and they took us off. Had to wait a YEAR to get back on it. Ok, so that Aug, our bill was almost $500, I almost threw up! Then that winter, it went down to $81. So now we are back on it and its $200. However, thanks to this HELL summer (110+ most days), we got notice its being bumped up to $255. Ugh.


answers from Lakeland on

Our average electric bill here in Florida is 350 a month. This is double what we paid in PA, I think they charge more here (fuel charge). We have the AC on and the pool filter runs 6 hours a day. I think most of it is that my hubby works from home so his computers suck up a lot also.

This is a shock to me every month and trying to cut back doesn’t seem to work with hubby home all day. I guess it is a trade off from him not spending the money commuting.

Our house is just over 5 years old, but it is does not have the best insulation. It was built as a short term vacation home.

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