Saturday, April 03, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I'm coming to you today from the swing on my back patio. It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it is warm out. Yesterday in good old Rochester New York we broke a temperature record with a high of 86 degrees at 3:30 PM. I don't think it got that warm once last summer. I'm just crossing my fingers that this isn't our "summertime".

Thanks to the the cool, crappy summer of 2009 our utility bill went down 30 bucks a month. We're on the budget billing system which means we pay the same amount every month to avoid those gigantic heating bills in the winter. As a matter of fact we had paid so much over our actual usage that for the next two months we don't get charged at all!

Now several things may have contributed to this change of usage. For one thing as I said, last summer was so horrible that I think we used our central air all of two times. Trust me, central air will cause your electric meter to spin wildly. Also now that we're empty nesters for most of the year there are no kids at home leaving every light on in the joint, running their computers and charging all their electronic devices.

I should mention that I spent 18 years of my life working for our utility company and one of my jobs during that tenure was to adjust customer's budget billing. If I saw a substantial drop in some one's usage it could be for several reasons. If their gas and electric meters are in the basement and the meter reader couldn't get in every other month to read them we'd be estimating the bill based on previous usage. The customer may be calling in the reads after reading the meter themselves and not reading it correctly. Or maybe the meter is running slow and is ready for a systematic meter change. Most likely what I'd do is make arrangements for a special read which means contacting the customer and making an appointment to get inside to get an actual read.

Well our both of our meters are outside and are read every other month by a meter reader so I'm chalking it up to the fact that the two of us don't use as much electricity or gas to heat our house, water heater and dryer as we did when there were four of us living here.