Thursday, January 26, 2006

Holy gas bill, batman!!

In order to fit our gas bill into our budget and avoid high costs in the winter and low costs in the summer, we've been on averaged monthly billing with our gas company for over a year now. Our bill for the past year has been $52/month. Not bad, right?

Well, January is the month that we originally signed up, and therefore means this is the time they reevaluate our bill.

Even though we keep our heat at 68 degrees around the clock (it's hard to go much colder with a child who won't wear blankets when she sleeps), and our gas usage has not increased at all over the past year, our bill has gone up to $159/month!! HOLY CRAP!! That's one hell of an increase!

We don't have an extra $107/month to send to the gas company. I'm not sure how we are going to pay for it. A friend of mine was telling me that we might qualify for assistance so I'm going to check that out.

Of course this comes at a time when we are trying to eat more healthfully, including buying many organic foods which, plain and simply, cost more. Arg.

It's just so disheartening. It's not like there's anything we can do about it (is there?). We can't not have gas - we need heat, we need hot water.

I know others have seen similar, if not more dramatic, increases in their gas bills lately as well. Is there something we can do to help bring the prices down? Anyone have any ideas?

This just plain stinks. :(

Btw, I had hoped to jump on the bandwagon and do my first Thursday Thirteen today, but I just haven't had a chance to write up a list. Maybe next week! :)


At 1/26/2006 5:31 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Drat. Just checked online - we don't qualify for assistance. I pretty much figured that'd be the case.

At 1/26/2006 9:19 PM, Blogger Running2Ks said...

Yeah, my BUDGET plan is 300 a month. Old houses. SHEESH!

At 1/26/2006 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you buy a few space heaters for the rooms you spend the most time in; bedroom, living room, etc. and then turn the heat way down at night? I was reading an article that said if you can turn your heat down by 10 degrees at night, you can have a substanial savings on your heat bill. Also, if you do this, it may be better to just go to monthly billing so you get charged only for what you are using. Gas ususally isn't too bad in the summer.

The space heaters work pretty well and range from $30-50 at Target, Home Depot, etc. Most will turn off immediately if they get knocked down- helpful when toddlers are running around!

At 1/26/2006 11:55 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

R2Ks - Ouch! That is brutal.

Anon - Thanks for the space heater idea. We just might have to try that at night at the very least. Although the idea of the rest of the house being down to 58 degrees sends shivers down my spine. Brrr.

At 1/27/2006 8:24 AM, Blogger Amy said...

What a horrible situation to be in, Amy! Are you going to have to alter your food choices now? What will you end up doing? It's so unfortunate that one has to be extremely poor to quailfy for any sort of assistance. The middle class always gets the shaft by The Man.

I much prefer gas to electric, but electric is what we have now in our apartment for heating and cooking and now I'm grateful. We also didn't turn up our heat (maybe twice on occasion when it was really cold but for a short period of time) and our bill jumped up, but not nearly the amount yours did!!! We do use a space heater in Aidan's room since he can't bundle up in blankets and that works out well.

Grocery bills -- I have alot to say about it so I'll just make a post about it on my blog. It's gripe day, man.

At 1/27/2006 8:25 AM, Blogger Nelly said...

Ours is horrible. $298 one month $291 the next. It's crazy! How do they expect people to pay for ANYTHING! Especially for you and those with one income. I hope something works out for ya Amy!

At 1/27/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Amy - I think we might try the space heater idea in our bedroom at night and turn the heat way down in the rest of the house. I wonder if that will make much difference.
I don't want to alter our food choices, especially after reading so much about pesticides and stuff lately, so I hope we can find a way to make both things work.
And yes, you are right - it sucks that there isn't any help for the middle class. You have to be DIRT poor to get assistance. We couldn't even live off the income they say you must have to get assistance (without selling our home and probably our car), so I'm thankful we aren't dirt poor.

Nelly - It's the pits, isn't it? They have us over a barrel.

At 1/27/2006 12:23 PM, Blogger Happy Mom Tonja said...

Amy, I know all about gas bills...I would LOVE to have yours! I'm going to even mention mine or I may send my fist through my computer screen!! lol Did you know that by law they cannot turn your heat off with Ava there? I would check into that, call them, tell them you have a baby in the house, offer to make a payment arrangement. They can't refuse that!! And they can't turn your heat off!! Good luck!

At 1/27/2006 1:35 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Tonja - That's good to know! My mom suggested I give them a call to so I am going to do that. Hopefully we can work something out.
Did you do the same - offer to make a payment arrangement - with them for yours? How did it turn out?

At 1/27/2006 3:09 PM, Blogger Christina said...

Ugh!!! I feel your pain, our bill has been $250.00 or more a month!! I now keep the heat around 65 during the day and it goes up to 69 in the evening for a couple of hours (we have a programmable thermostat) and then it goes back down while we sleep. If I get cold during the day I just get under the heating blanket for a few, lol.

At 1/27/2006 8:51 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Christina - Isn't it a pain? 65 during the day is pretty cold.
I used the gas co's website today to submit a query to explain our situation and ask if there's anything they can do to help us out. We shall see.

At 1/27/2006 9:28 PM, Blogger Camille said...

My bill for the past few months has ranged up to $85. Which is high but it's not bad. This past month's was $175. I almost Sh** my pants!!
I have our heater at 67 most of the time. I now have it programmed to 64 during the day and if it's not snowing then I have it OFF....we wear sweat shirts and sweats and socks and shoes all the time!!!

I am doubling up Reagan's pj's so she'll stay warm and I have the heater at 67 at night too.

I think it's ridiculous and my DH said he read somewhere that they are investigating Questar for their enormous price gouging! I hope something is done because I cannot afford another bill like that. I'm having to rob Peter to pay Paul. UGH

At 1/28/2006 10:53 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Camille - Oh man. That's awful. Good idea about doubling up Reagan's pjs though. Might try that out if we turn the heat down at night. Isn't it awful when you have to decide which bills to pay when and which ones you can put off for a while, etc.? I hope they do the investigation and find something that will help us all out.

At 1/28/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Happy Mom Tonja said...

Amy...I did call my gas company last night. I actually got their one time offer of what they call a "helping neighbors" fund, it's a one time gift of $200 towards your bill. I took it! I felt kind of odd, kind of like I was asking for a hand out, but I've paid them for 8 yrs, so I figure since it's a one time thing, I deserved it. I don't know WHY they raised the price SO high and SO one had any time to adjust!! In my opinion that's just not fair since most people live on a budget! Oh by the way, my bill was a little over $350 and I keep my thermostat no higher than 68. And that makes for a very cold downstairs in the mornings!!! They offered a payment arrangement for the balance, but I just paid it I want any more added to next month's bill!!
I hope you can figure something out!

At 1/28/2006 10:30 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Tonja - Glad that they could offer you something. I know what you mean about feeling weird about asking for a hand out. When I was on hold w/ the gas co., before I heard the recording that you can ask questions online, I started feeling really weird about the whole thing too. It was easier for me to write up a letter to them than it would've been to swallow my pride and explain our situation verbally. Anyway, I'm glad they helped you out a bit. I'm going to write an update once I hear back from the gas co. We also are trying a few other things to keep the costs down which I'll write about later too.
Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you. :)

At 1/29/2006 11:00 AM, Anonymous Miriam said...

Ack, that sucks. I'm really thankful we don't have to pay for heat this winter. Even though our rent is sky high and our apartment sucks, at least we have heat. Last winter we went without, because the once month we turned it on a FEW times, our bill came out to $150. Lots of sweaters and socks that winter...brrr. Space heaters will definitely save you money, but of course then you have a higher electric bill. I'm sorry you have to deal with this!

At 1/29/2006 9:49 PM, Blogger martie said...

This is our first winter in our new home (new to us) and Jan. gas bill was $339. I'm taking donations if you want to help us pay it. LOL. I called and was told they can put me on a budget plan and pay $260. for the next 12 months and maybe that will help with the rising cost of gas. I'm thinking that the only thing that will help is finding an alternative way to heat the house!

At 1/30/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

miriam - thanks for your sympathy. it does suck - big time. i tried calling the gas co. today and there's pretty much nothing they can do. ugh!!!

martie - welcome to my blog. ugh, $339 for one month is outrageous! and the budget plan isn't much better. hope you can find some ways to lower it. i'm not sure what we'll all do if it keeps going up!

At 3/04/2008 8:18 AM, Blogger markali52 said...

The rise in the cost of energy is frightening, you worry about the heating in winter and try to get through the summer without using the air conditioning units, One thing I have noticed and find strange and that is these costs seem to have rocketed since people and mainly goverment have started talking about global warming and carbon footprints, is the goverment trying to gain even more control over you by allowing these massive hikes, the energy companies say it is the raw costs going up but its strange that their profits grow even more and not in proportion, surely these prices should be capped or give the consumer the right to a proper service, if the electricity goes off sue, if a surge damages the computer sue, if you miss your favorite tv programmme sue, given the choice they would lower prices rather than accept responsibility for services, it is coming to a time where we need to stand up and be counted and stop these people taking advantage.


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