Last April, our 20+ year old furnace called it quits. The cost of the repairs to get it running again were estimated at about 1/2 to 3/4ths the cost of an entirely new furnace, so we decided to replace the furnace instead of making very costly repairs and hoping nothing else went wrong in a furnace already past its estimated life span. A nice side benefit to replacing the furnace is that the models now are significantly more energy efficient than they were twenty years ago. Something also true of our refrigerator, which is approaching its 24th birthday. But I digress…
So weirdly enough, this month I was actually looking forward to getting my natural gas bill. This past month was the first month that it has been cold enough outside to run the furnace a significant portion of the time, so it would be the first time I could compare last year’s usage to this year’s in any meaningful way. I can’t directly compare dollar amounts, for the price of natural gas here has gone up 25% since last year. Ugh. And, it has been colder this past November than it was in November 2007, by an average of about 6 degrees. But still, I could make some comparisons.
And when we got the bill, not only was it $50 higher than last year at this time, our usage of natural gas was about 10% more than last year.
I was livid. I was angry. I was so irritated with myself and with the new furnace and with life in general. And then I noticed that for the first time since we moved into this house, the code by the reading of the meter for the beginning of December said “E” instead of “A”. E = estimated. A = actual. So noone actually came and read our meter, they made an estimation based on past usage. And checking the meter myself, their estimation was at least 25% off of what it would have been if they read the meter. I’m not sure exactly how far off since I read the meter the day I got the bill, not the day they made their estimation. But still – not our actual usage.
I could call and correct it, but since this is the first estimated reading they have done in two years, I am reasonably sure they will do an actual reading next month and the over-estimation will balance out with a lower bill in January. I’m just glad I noticed before I got even more irritated.