In Saturday’s mail, I received my first utility bill for our new home. In order to sync us up with their billing cycle, we received a bill from City of Fort Collins Utilities for 13 days of service. Comparing the numbers between that and statements from my previous utilities, I have concluded that I will be saving about $10 per month on my electric bill.
Here are two interesting factoids that make that savings kind of funny.
100 feet From Different Utility companies
The first is the fact that we live 100 feet from the city limits. If we were one street over, we would be past the town line and wouldn’t be seeing any of this savings. I’ve never really thought about utility rates before because, I’ve never lived anywhere that offered a choice. When you are under the thumb of a monopoly, the actual rate doesn’t matter much. You can try to reduce your usage, but you can do that at any utility rate.
A secondary piece of humor on this: At our old place, we lived across the street from the city line. We moved across town and now live across the street from the opposite line, and on the opposite side of the line.
Cheaper Utility Rates
The City of Fort Collins does not actually generate electrical power for its customers. Instead, it buys it from the local power company, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Authority. That is the power company that we had when we lived outside of city limits. So, the city is selling us power from REA for cheaper than we could buy it ourselves.
When you stop to think about it, it makes sense, By purchasing gigawatts of electricity, the city is a major customer and can negotiate better rates which it then passes on to its customers. Of course, REA being a co-op, you would think that everybody would bet getting the best rates.
Savings in Utility Costs
For actual electrical usage, we will be saving .41-1.08 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the season. Of course, this only applies to the first 500 kWH of the month, since Fort Collins uses a tiered energy rate to promote energy efficiency, while REA has a flat. After that, city rates become more expensive in the summer, which, coincidentally, is the only time we should be passing into the second tier.
Break even point is 662 kWH. According to the rate chart I received in the mail, a typical household uses 823 kWH in August. Then again, that “typical household” uses double of what we are on track to use in February. So I feel confident that we should stay under the break even point and continue to save money on electric costs.
At the end of the day, I should be saving up to $5 per month on electricity now.
Another source of savings is the service charge. REA called it a “facilities charge” and charged $24.50. With the city, it is only $19.65. Savings of $4.85
The other big change is that our water is now metered and part of the electric bill. Previously, we were unmetered and billed through the park management with our lot rent. So far, costs seem to be about the same at about $40 per month for water, wastewater, and storm water. If watering the lawn doesn’t require more than about 15% more water than we are currently using, prices should be pretty much similar.
When we moved, we took on another roommate, so I was expecting costs to be going up by about a third, but it looks like the increase in electricity is going to be a lot more modest than that. Now, if I could just get everyone to turn off the kitchen light when they are done…
Do you have choice between utilities? Ever been surprised by the change in prices when moving?