Thursday, October 28, 2010

A far too in-depth look at my utility bills

Because I'm a dork and like playing with charts and graphs, I made one showing my total utility costs since I moved into my condo:

But I decided that didn't provide enough information.  See, my family visited each July, and they like things a lot cooler than I do, so the air conditioning was on pretty much full time. The power bill in August isn't reflective of my normal usage.  So I broke it out by utility type:

Much better. See how the August electricity bills are clearly outliers?  And look at September '10. The power bill is considerably higher than the previous year. Why is that? Well, I wasn't married last August, and my fabulous husband and I differ on ideal temperature. Plus he was home more during the day, so I couldn't let the temperature go as high as I otherwise would have. If I were really industrious, I would compare the average temperatures to see if this August was warmer, but I'm not. Anyway, we ran the A/C more in August versus the year before, hence the higher September bill.

But wait. Look at the May '09 gas bill. That's way too low.  Oh, right, everyone got a rebate that month, bringing my payment to practically zero. Let's try that again.

Much better. Now, one more for good measure, so we can see the trending for each utility.

This one makes it obvious that our electricity usage peaks in summer and our gas bill in winter--electric a/c and gas heat.  But the power bill doesn't seem to trend as seasonally as the gas bill. It peaks in summer, but we're getting a rise in the winter months, too. We rely on a space heater to heat our bedroom, rather than cranking up the heat throughout the house, which is quite the electricity hog. I guess we could forgo that and I could put my pajamas on in the much warmer bathroom. It's hard to change your clothes when it's cold.  But cold bedrooms are no fun in general.

I also pay $6 a month for sewer, which they bill every two months, but I go the proactive route and just pay the whole $72 at the beginning of the year. It's a lot easier to just do it all at once and not worry about when I last got a bill. I'm pretty tempted to start paying my HOA fees a few months at a time, too. Especially now that it's cold, it would reduce the amount of time I have to be outside by minutes per month. Minutes!

Anyway, yeah. Utility trends. I have clearly struck rock bottom of blogging topics, but these are the things I find interesting.


  1. I, for one, am fascinated that you managed to find and enter all the correct data and could remember the rebate from May '09. I pay the bills, but I don't remember what they were from month to month.

  2. My mind is completely boggled. This was kind of awesome, and exactly why I married someone who had a head for this sort of thing.

  3. Really, as long as you can copy the historical info from your utility companies' websites and paste it into Excel, anyone can do it. I would have made a box-and-whisker plot, but Excel doesn't seem to have an option for it...


Be nice.