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Friday, June 13, 2014

Win-Win-Win: Energy Bills

Sometimes it's hard to measure savings because there are so many variables. Frugal Son has provided me with a case where savings can be measured. Remember about a year ago, we were looking to buy a house in New Orleans with the money Mr FS inherited when his father died? We wanted a place Frugal Son could live 9his living circumstances were not great at the time0 and we figured he could find some roommates.

Well, we did buy a house and good thing, because prices have soared and we could not buy the same house now. A near twin next door (25 sf bigger and fixed up a bit more nicely) just sold for more than 20% more than what we paid. And FS is happy with his two roommates and also cool with having the tiniest and least desirable room (and hence the lowest rent).

Frugal Son is also frugal in both practical and philosophical ways. We hit on a way to get the roommates to be mindful of energy consumption. They would pay based on the previous owner's bills and we would reimburse them the difference if it was lower.

Note: the figures below are a bit off because Frugal Son also urged us to install solar. Which we did. Solar adds $45 a month to the utility costs. (Louisiana has very good tax credits for solar. The solar companies sell the tax credits to no doubt horrible companies. We were too nervous to purchase the system ourselves--it's a big investment).

Add about $200 to the lower number. Isn't that amazing? And one roomie just moved out. We returned his deposit with a nice "energy" bonus.

The below numbers reflect both saving through consciousness (TRYING to use less) AND through technology. In New Orleans the big energy usage comes in summer. This past winter, we had horrible cold, so the bills may be even lower next year if we have a more normal winter.

 Email from Frugal Son:

On the Entergy bill from June 2013:  "Current 12 months actual bill: $2,658"

On the Entergy bill from May 2014:  "Current 12 months actual bill: $806"

That means we're PAYING less than a third compared to previous owners and since the cost / kWh actually goes down with higher consumption it means we're probably using about 1/4 as much energy!


Shelley said...

I think I followed most of that (except the solar part). I'd be inclined to just have renters pay their own utilities and be done with it. I don't manage my own properties, though, so that might be easier said than done for you. The best news is that energy bills can be lowered if people try. However, there are health warnings for older people who can die from being too hot or too cold. Young people are much tougher though!

Gam Kau said...

Solar panels are on all the homes in our neighbourhood, it makes me happy to see people are embracing alternative energy sources. Amazing how much money can be saved!