Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Electric Bill Received

Received a new electricity invoice today via online banking from HydroOne, now for a more reasonable amount of $66. Not too far off from my $65 estimate.

Now if only I could handle the shock to my grocery budget of buying cat food, cat litter, two packs of diapers, a box of baby wipes, and water filters all in the same week...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Meter reading errors

Received my latest monthly electricity bill via online banking this week. Boy, was I in for a shock (pun completely intended). It was for the princely sum of $1488 and change! The meter reading used on my bill, in the 25,000 kWh range, wasn't anywhere close to the current 14,000 kWh showing on my meter register. I guess somebody messed up big time. Even though my meter is in a bank with five others, none of the other meters has a reading anywhere close to 25,000. Maybe somebody is in for another shock because their electric bill is too low!

I took a current meter reading and called HydroOne. To their credit, they instantly cancelled the invoice and agreed to send me a new one based on my meter reading. This is more than I can say for some companies, including Bell, whom insist that you pay the full invoice amount no matter how many errors the invoice may contain and wait for a bill credit in a subsequent invoice.

This is a perfect example of why it's so important for any utility customer, no matter how large or small, to read their own meters on a regular basis and use those readings to verify the invoices are accurate. It's an even better reason to never allow any company to suck money out of your bank accounts via "pre-authorized payments" because you essentially give up your right to review the invoice for accuracy before you pay it. I can't begin to imagine the headaches if what I expected to be a $65 bill was instead approaching $1500, and the utility had attempted to take that amount from an account that only had a balance of a few hundred dollars.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Submit your own meter readings

HydroOne, my electric utility, offers a secure site where customers can view their account history, make account changes and the like, and submit their meter readings.

Now I've submitted my meter readings before for each utility, but never actually saw them used on an invoice, even in a month when there is no actual read by the utility, and instead only an estimated meter reading. While searching for something else for work, I stumbled across a schedule explaining when a customer needs to submit thier meter reading in order for it to be used on the next invoice.

I'm going to start doing this each month at the appointed time, and see if it actually gets used on a future invoice. According to the secure website, the next actual meter reading for my home is scheduled in October. So there should be a few months where my reading might actually be considered.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saving Energy At Home

Because of my professional background in mechanical building systems and commercial building energy management, I've had plenty of requests for advice on saving energy where it matters most - in your own home. To date, I've been happy to post snippets of advice, some short and some long, throughout forums scattered over the Internet. So, it's time to start assembling this mass of knowledge in one place, here in this blog that I've christened "Don't Waste Your Energy" after a slogan on a T-shirt that my wife found for my three-year-old son.

My hope is that you'll be able to use the information presented to understand, conserve, and optimize energy use at home. While I don't intend this blog to serve as an end-all, be-all to residential Energy Management, at the very least this may start your own creative juices flowing to put some of your own ideas into action.