CLIMBING THROUGH THE PHONE TO TEAR OUT SOMEONE’S THROAT

It’s just as well the wi-fi dropped out before I dove through the phone line to kill the rep on the other end. It wasn’t her fault but I was losing my grip and she was the only game in town. Of course, the wi-fi went down (again) and the call dropped.

I got a $300 electric bill this month which follows a $292 bill for last month. How, you might ask could we actually be using that much energy? Well, it turns out, we aren’t. National Grid decided to “drop” Clean Choice as a provider and added on a ton of extra charges for distribution and transmission. Neither Clean Choice nor National Grid saw fit to mention this minor detail to us.

A Moment in Time

This was the bill:

National Grid Svcs: $157.04
Other supplier Svcs: $143.51
Total: $300.19

What does this mean? The amount of electricity I’m using cost $143.51. The $157.41 is what we pay to National Grid for transmission services, clean energy assessment, distribution charges, energy efficiency charges, et al. Of course we are already paying Clean Choice for their all-green electricity and it was just this year, National Grid decided to add all all those new charges to punish us for not buying our electricity from them. They won. We really are on a limited budget.

The $157 is what we pay for National Grid’s services and doesn’t include electricity. The $143 is for actual electricity from Clean Choice.

Customer Charge – 7.00
Dist Chg 0.07519 x 1071 kWh – 80.52
Transition Charge -0.00085 x 1071 kWh – -0.91
Transmission Charge 0.03902 x 1071 kWh – 41.79
Energy Efficiency Chg 0.02198 x 1071 kWh – 23.54
Renewable Energy Chg 0.0005 x 1071 kWh – 0.54
Distributed Solar Charge 0.00396 x 1071 kWh – 4.24
Electric Vehicle Charge 0.00064 x 1071 kWh – 0.69
Total Delivery Services – $157.41

We run only three small air conditioners, but use two dehumidifiers to prevent mold. We don’t have cable boxes or video game controllers. We don’t have a full-size freezer, though we sure could use one. Our hot water is made through the boiler and doesn’t use additional electricity.

The thing that started this is Clean Choice. They are raising their rates by 10 cents per KWh which is a big price jump. Meanwhile, National Grid raised their service charges by about $35/month since last year. When they tell you that you’re paying more this year than last, they allow for the weather and they say otherwise, you are using more electricity. But actually, you’re using pretty much the same amount of electricity, but the National Grid’s prices are up. They never count that in their calculations. They do very interesting math.

Last years service charges were about $125/month. This year they are about $155/month. So the weather accounts for $30 (it was a very hot summer) and their raised charges are the rest. Otherwise, we are using more economical appliances — new boiler, new range, new fridge, new windows, new doors. The house has fewer drafts. We use entirely energy efficient LED lights and only run two loads of laundry a week.

It doesn’t matter. Everyone is going to get whacked by higher electric bills because it’s hot. Really, really hot. It will get hotter until we all are stewing in our own juices. Not a pretty picture.



Categories: Anecdote, climate, climate change, power generation

Tags: , , , , ,

29 replies

  1. This is our first winter of having two of us here all the time so I’m still trying to work out if the increases in price are due to that or rising prices. We bought a new heat pump for upstairs but downstairs is an electric panel heater and although it is supposed to be a fuel efficient model it is more “to run.
    Luckily I can use PAYG for electricity and avoid bill shock. I can check how much energy we use each day which is interesting. I look at the chart that shows usage by the hour and think, “That’s showers, that’s cooking dinner, that was when I had to run the dryer, that’s the heater.” Every fortnight I pay an amount into the account. At the moment it is about $100-$120 for two weeks but last summer it was more like $70. It seems like a lot but I think I didn’t spend much less in Geeveston in winter. That was a very cold house.

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    • Your bills are not very different than ours. We were paying $193 monthly, but that meant even when we were using very little electricity, we were still paying a lot. I opted out of that plan, though I can opt back in if I want.

      So if you average out your bill to monthly (or every 4 weeks), it’s about $220 a month, give or take a few dollars.

      I think prices are really up everywhere. They can’t legally raise prices in many areas, so they add on fees. That’s what got me so mad. They are charging me more money for fees than for electric. You can never calculate charges because most of the bill are fees added on by the National Grid. The price hasn’t changed, but our bills have!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s especially hard if you can’t change providers. In Tasmania for a long time, we just had the one, Aurora, who are I think partly if not wholly government owned. The mainland states have multiple private companies so people can shop around for a good deal but recently when power went up dramatically some of those companies actually advised their customers to look elsewhere which is unheard of. We do at least get a government concession because I am not working and during the winter the state government gave concession holders a $100 bonus which helped. Now the weather is getting a little warmer I’m holding off turning the heater on till later in the evening. We’ll always put on a sweater or cardigan before turning the heat on but we’re not going to sit and shiver or go to bed when the sun goes down to keep warm.

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        • We keep the thermostat pretty low — much colder than most people do, but we sweater up pretty well — and with the new windows, I’m expecting heating costs to go down. And also, winters are not as cold as they used to be. We’ve had a lot of weather than was more like late spring than winter — in the middle of January, our coldest month.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Our power company here was bought by another and rates immediately went up. Lawyers were, and still are, involved in the ridiculous price hike and the new company’s explanation for it. I pity the people who are total electric because they feel the impact all year long. We have gas heat so will get a reprieve come winter, but these rates are still total nonsense.

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    • They can’t legally just raise rates so instead, they’ve raised the cost of using clean energy from another source by adding on HUGE transmission charges. We get a break in winter too. Despite the big price hike for oil, it’s STILL much cheaper than any kind of electric heat and in this climate, I think electric heat is absurd. That was the main reason we moved out of our condo in Boston — we had electric heat and sometimes, our electric bill was as high as our mortgage. Between summer cooling and winter heating, we never got a break.

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  3. That is pretty outrageous. I know a few others that have been hit and I am not sure why. My electric bills (I have three) are pretty much the same as last year. In fact, the bills at the end of July were about 15% lower than in 2021. We use Eversource here and on the Cape, but I know people whose bills with Eversource have tripled. Not sure if it is the third party that starts it?

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    • It is that they passed a new law that allows them to add on all “fees” for people who use outside electrical sources. This is new. SO instead of clean energy LOWERING our bills, it is DOUBLING our bills. I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to, but we’re on a fixed income and there’s just no way we could keep it up. The transmission, distribution, and other fees EXCEED the cost of the electricity. This is not only mean-spirited, but incredibly stupid and short-sighted.

      We are being being punished for NOT using National Grid’s power.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think Eversource generates electricity any more, I think they sold all of their power plants. I do use NG fro gas on the Cape, but not electric (thank goodness!). I paid my bills yesterday, btu took another look after reading your post – I also paid more for transmission, etc. then for generation. The difference is, your generation part almost doubled in price while mine stayed close to the same, and it seems that transmission jumped by an equal amount, which is the bad part – there is no reason the transmission should have jumped.
        Anyway, utilities do have us over a barrel. Sorry you got hit so hard by it.

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        • Yes, they do. They should be penalizing people who use MORE power, not punishing everyone who does the best they can. Clean Choice actually called to say they were sorry that National Grid has made using their services so difficult and I am only one of many people who are reluctantly giving it up. It seems like such a wrong-headed approach to a problem that surely no one has failed to notice by now. But they will squeeze that last penny from the suicidal carbon menu because that’s what capitalism is all about.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Maddening…unfair…just one more case of socking it to those least able to afford it.

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    • And really stupid, too. They should be rewarding us for using clean energy but instead, they are penalizing us. I guess they haven’t noticed the changes in climate. We are living in a country run by insane people and it’s going to get much worse as climate change hits us with ever hotter summers. There’s not much we can do about it. They just PASSED this law because they were making less money letting people outsource to 100% wind & solar energy. They sure did fix that!

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  5. It’s the same story here. Price hike in electricity bill every other month.

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  6. Where I am, National Grid isn’t an issue — but we pay for Southern California Edison’s decommissioning of San Onofre nuclear power plant, and for the costs associated with SCE’s lack of maintenance and the resulting cost of fighting brushfire. We do get a rebate twice a year, both on electricity and on gas, called a ‘climate credit’, that brought my last month’s bill to $0, and will probably do the same next month! I try not to use the a/c, though, because when it’s hot, I pay 3-4 times a month’s electricity bill just for the a/c (and we’ve already had about 6 weeks of 90 degree weather! It’s crazy — and it’s all because of the Enron scandal several years ago.

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    • Ah yes. Enron. I remember. I’m hearing from people all around the globe and everyone is getting whacked. You’ve got the whole backwash from Enron (did anyone even get a slap on the wrist for that disaster?), but we’ve just got stupid, short-sighted greedy idiots refusing to see that what they are doing is going to be catastrophic to everyone including their own children and grandchildren.

      Remember “Bridge on the River Kwai” and James Donnell (actor) looking at the carnage on the beach saying, “Madness!”

      It IS madness.

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  7. Hi Marilyn, it seems to be the same everywhere with regards to energy. Huge prices increases in the UK and in SA too and many of our people are exceptionally poor. I am trying to work out why hot weather should increase the price. I can only assume it is a great demand thing for the air conditioning. Here and in the UK, the war in Ukraine is the culprit that is being punted.

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