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#729981 --- 01/11/08 07:17 PM NYSEG alternatives?
abigail Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 302
Loc: Geneva
Any alternatives to using NYSEG in the area? Or are we stuck with them. My bills are higher than usual. I have all the goodies needed to supposedly save energy; new windows, furnace, doors, insulation, etc - along with using those energy efficient bulbs everywhere, not leaving too many lights on and keeping the furnace down/controlled with one of those timer boxes. Doesn't seem to be doing me much good lately. I wonder what my bills would be if I didn't get all that done.

Is this happening to everyone? I can't tell if prices are just going up per watt and therm or whatever, or if there is something wrong with my meter. Waiting to talk to billing about it on Monday.

Has anyone here ever had an issue where your bills were too high due to faulty meters or something? Also, does anyone have one of those little digital contraptions that can strap on to your meter and tell you, in real time, how much energy you're using by tracking the dials? Are they worth the 200 bucks they usually go for? Thanks.

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#730030 --- 01/11/08 08:34 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
Sweetcakes Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3031
Loc: Southeast of Disorder
a friend of mine took to other suppliers. she wasnt happy switched back.

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#730085 --- 01/11/08 09:03 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: Sweetcakes]
14me14u Offline
Member

Registered: 01/08/08
Posts: 361
Loc: State of Mind
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I stayed with NYSEG. My bills have never been outrageous but I use minimal energy. I've been on budget billing for 4 years so there have never been any big surprises.

One thing I heard about heating and cooling is that the programmable thermostats are not beneficial if you set them to lower your heat too low when you are away and then jack it up when you get home. The walls, floors and ceilings need to heat back up again after being cooled down all day so the furnace has to work overtime. Same goes for AC, in reverse.

I know it's a small issue and wouldn't constitute a sudden jump but every little bit helps.

I also use night lights so I won't have to turn lights on and off all the time. I have one of those energy saving bulbs in my reading lamp and only need the kitchen light on if I am cooking or eating dinner.

When it comes right down to it, we have to make sacrifices like this to compensate for the gas prices and other increasing prices...milk for instance, but that's getting off topic.

Talk to NYSEG and ask about budget billing if you are not already on it. If your bills have jumped unreasonably high, you may want to request an investigation by NYESG.
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#730238 --- 01/11/08 10:57 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: 14me14u]
donedirtcheap Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/15/06
Posts: 5604
Loc: boondocks
Has anyone here ever had an issue where your bills were too high due to faulty meters or something?


this happened to me but in the good...I paid a 10 to 15 $ NYSEG bill for over a year and a half...but they finally caught on..wont go into detail but the answer is yes...it doesnt happen often though. Id also look at aging appliances or dirty condensors on the refridge. this can jump the bill somewhat as the unit has to run longer and harder to cool...if there was a sudden jump with no price increase its probably something in your home....remember those twinkly lights a x-mas pull more juice than you think also....mine is highest in dec. from the decorations(im over ruled on that though..LOL)
also as 14me said what is your contract for...fixed ..variable..this makes a difference....fixed the price stays one price....variable it fluctuates someimes daily depending on the market.

Good luck in your quest
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#730515 --- 01/12/08 08:51 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
Shalom Offline
Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 71
Loc: geneva new york
As far as alternative suppliers, there are two others I believe - NYSEG Solutions and RGE, but you had to make a decision by the end of December or you automatically stayed with your current provider. It was very well publicized.

I did switch to NYSEG Solutions near the end of Demcember, but it is too early to tell the difference. The only reason I did that is because they are suppose to seach out alternate sources of energy instead of relying on gas, etc. Let's us hope!

I will post any difference I see.

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#730600 --- 01/12/08 10:57 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: Shalom]
abigail Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 302
Loc: Geneva
Thanks for the replies. I had a refrigerator on the fritz a few months ago. I'm sure that had something to do with it. I don't use air conditioners because of the jump they create on bills, so I imagine a refrigerator would be much worse. It's since been replaced but that damage is done I suppose.

To save a little on heating, I closed off the dampers on some of the ducts to rooms I don't use much a couple weeks ago. I'm sure that will help. I'll probably find out when the next bill shows up. The rooms I'm in are much warmer now which is nice since the furnace is concentrating on the open ducts. Wish I did that sooner.

I'll be getting on the budget billing next week. I used to be on that, but I guess I got cycled off it or something. One woman I spoke with was under the impression it needs to be renewed every so often, which I apparently didn't do last year. And surprise, bills shot up.

As for the Voice Your Choice thing, I was aware of that. I looked into it, but stayed where I was. NYSEG and fixed rate. I've heard the variable rate was cheaper, but I get paranoid on anything that says "variable" after seeing what happened to "variable" rate loans in the housing market, not to mention gas prices shooting up.

Is it possible to read/report your own electric meter every month if it's outside? NYSEG sends someone out every other month to do it. However, I've noticed on the little usage chart on the back of my bill that Estimated readings (off-months) are usually a lot higher than Actual readings (when someone comes around to record it). For example, last summer in July, I had an estimated reading of which put the bar somewhere near 800 on that chart they use. But in August, the bar for actual reading was near 275 on that same chart. The previous month I had an actual reading for somewhere around 350. So nice of them to estimate my July electrical consumption at almost double, despite the previous and following months of actual readings being about half or less than. I read my own gas meter every month, since it's in my basement. There was one month last year that I forgot to phone it in and sure enough, the estimated reading was about double what I had phoned in the previous and following months. That's highly annoying.

Anyone here use alternative things like solar panels and wood stoves? I'm looking into alternative (free would be nice) energy to help reduce my NYSEG bills. Seems like energy prices are going to keep going up. The woman I spoke with yesterday admitted it and didn't sound too happy herself. So might as well try to get ahead of it before REALLY it gets out of hand.

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#730617 --- 01/12/08 11:54 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
AbuDhabi Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 6474
Loc: Doha, Qatar
Originally Posted By: abigail
To save a little on heating, I closed off the dampers on some of the ducts to rooms I don't use much a couple weeks ago. I'm sure that will help. I'll probably find out when the next bill shows up. The rooms I'm in are much warmer now which is nice since the furnace is concentrating on the open ducts. Wish I did that sooner.


Yes, that will concentrate the heat in the rooms you use, but the unheated rooms will still suck heat out of the heated ones unless the walls between the two are insulated. You just may wind up with the same energy consumption.

The key to saving energy is insulation. All too often that becomes an expensive proposition in a house that's already built, but it may be worth thinking about. If there is anywhere you can add insulation without ripping out walls and such, do it; lay more down in the attic if you can, or stuff it under the floors if you have an unheated basement or crawl space. Remember that heat goes down and out as well as up; it's only heated gases or fluids that always rise.
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#730618 --- 01/12/08 11:57 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
SilverFox Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 6485
Loc: Waterloo
If the rooms that you closed the registers in have doors on them it will help to close the doors also. That way heat you need in other areas will not go into the unheated rooms.
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#730649 --- 01/12/08 01:24 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: SilverFox]
abigail Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 302
Loc: Geneva
I'm big on insulation. I paid Superior Insulation to come out and redo my entire house a couple years ago. They dropped a lot in the attic, blew more into the walls and sealed off a crawl space. I've also picked up rolls of the stuff myself to do my basement and other areas that I've noticed some drafts. The only thing that is not really insulated is the space between the first floor and the basement. That's what I'll be doing myself in the coming week. It's probably a big source of the loss. I'm sure I'd be broke on energy bills if I didn't get the place re-done all around. Superior did a good job, but some areas are still drafty. Nonetheless, it was a good investment before everything started shooting up.

Doors to the rooms with the closed dampers are closed. I have a guest bedroom and an extra storage room that doesn't need heat all the time. I also closed off the one to my kitchen since I'm not in there much and it gets warm pretty quick when cooking anyway. That door stays closed as well.

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#730703 --- 01/12/08 04:22 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: abigail
...Is it possible to read/report your own electric meter every month if it's outside?...


Yes - you can read your meter.

Ask NYSEG to send you a meter read card. It will tell you the date that the meter has to be read by. They have an automated system that you can call in your reading. The number for submitting your meter read is 1-800-600-2275.
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#730705 --- 01/12/08 04:25 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: abigail
... Superior did a good job, but some areas are still drafty.


What areas are drafty?
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#730797 --- 01/12/08 07:47 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: bluezone]
abigail Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 302
Loc: Geneva
Originally Posted By: bluezone
Yes - you can read your meter.

Ask NYSEG to send you a meter read card. It will tell you the date that the meter has to be read by. They have an automated system that you can call in your reading. The number for submitting your meter read is 1-800-600-2275.


I get the card every month. I got one today actually. But I only use it to read the gas meter. I let them handle the electric meter ever other month, but now I'm wondering if I should just read the electric meter myself on the off-months, since the estimated readings are always higher than actual readings.

Originally Posted By: bluezone
What areas are drafty?


Just random spots in a few walls, usually above a window. There's probably wood or something in the way which prevented the blower hose to fill the area completely (old house). I heard that Superior Insulation now uses some expensive digital thing that can see through walls and verify if the cellulose fills everything. They got that gadget after doing my place.

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#731108 --- 01/13/08 11:59 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: abigail
... but now I'm wondering if I should just read the electric meter myself on the off-months, since the estimated readings are always higher than actual readings.


I would look at the estimate that they have on the bill for your electric and compare it to what your meter actually reads.
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#731110 --- 01/13/08 12:06 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: abigail


Originally Posted By: bluezone
What areas are drafty?


Just random spots in a few walls, usually above a window. There's probably wood or something in the way which prevented the blower hose to fill the area completely (old house). I heard that Superior Insulation now uses some expensive digital thing that can see through walls and verify if the cellulose fills everything. They got that gadget after doing my place.



Did your home any insulation in it prior to Superior insulation?

If you spent a large amount of money to have Superior put in insulation then I would call them up and see if they could use the thermal imaging camera (infra-red) and check the drafty areas.

A friend purchased a home and he had drafts around the windows. Newer windows were put in by the prior owner. We removed the window trim and found out that the window installers did not put any insulation between the new windows and the studs. Filled the gaps with expanding foam and the drafts are now eliminated.
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#731295 --- 01/13/08 08:13 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: bluezone]
reilley Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 11744
Loc: between here and there
I am looking in to a windmill to cut electic supply. There was a artical in the Syracuse paper cayuga section on a person who was to give a seminar on windmills, I want to say it was more southern cayuga then auburn area. I just have to find the guys number again.
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#732876 --- 01/15/08 01:07 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: reilley]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Free electric
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#732980 --- 01/15/08 04:46 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: bluezone]
abigail Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 302
Loc: Geneva
Originally Posted By: bluezone

Did your home any insulation in it prior to Superior insulation?

If you spent a large amount of money to have Superior put in insulation then I would call them up and see if they could use the thermal imaging camera (infra-red) and check the drafty areas.


Yep, the place had some insulation. Apparently not enough though. So it was nice getting a new coat in the walls and the attic. I'll give SI a call and find out if they'll charge to come out and check using that camera. It's probably safe to assume they'll charge to fill in the gaps they missed before getting that machine. I wonder if those things can be rented. Wouldn't mind doing it ourselves. I've purchased cellulose insulation before and the blower can be rented at Lowe's.

As for NYSEG, there may be something wrong with my meter. They're going to send someone out to check them. Will probably get a credit if they find something screwy. Hoping they do! Also, I'll be reading my electric meter on the months that they don't come around. That should even out my monthly usage bar chart and prevent it from being so up (estimated readings) and down (actual readings).

If I understood the 10 minute (literally) explanation on the phone correctly, those meters are like a car odometer and if the estimated months are too high (or low) then the next month actual readings will correct it or cancel it out. All well and good, but if you're paying month to month and your estimated readings are much higher than your actual readings, then it sounds like you're billed a higher amount and have to pay that higher amount, which in my case have been pretty ridiculous. The next month might be a lower than what you'd have to pay if it corrects or whatever and you get a credit for what you overpaid the month before on the estimated bill, but still!

I now see the appeal of budget billing and getting a steady bill every month, no matter what you use (or what they estimate you're using). I was going to sign up for that, but it sounds like the minimum for the budget billing is actually more than my (non-estimated) bills are around on non-winter months. About 80 dollars more! So that's interesting. Hopefully after the meters are checked and then eliminating those estimated months by reading the thing myself, I'll be down to a somewhat stable monthly amount with an expected bump in Winter. Then from there, decide if it's worth getting on budget billing and pay the extra all year round to save up for the additional usage in winter, or just pay it straight up.

I wouldn't mind some of those windmills in my backyard \:\) Maybe some solar panels on the roof. Hell, I'd love to be able to have NYSEG owe ME money if I generated enough of my own power and contributed to the excess to the grid or whatever. lol. I've heard of that happening here and there.

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#732986 --- 01/15/08 04:56 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
Tomgel Offline
Member

Registered: 05/19/07
Posts: 67
Loc: NY
Asked my kids (18&14) what we can do to cut G&E bills. "what?? that isnt free??"

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#904409 --- 10/25/08 05:16 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: abigail
I'll give SI a call and find out if they'll charge to come out and check using that camera.




Did they check it?


Originally Posted By: abigail


As for NYSEG, there may be something wrong with my meter. They're going to send someone out to check them.



Did NYSEG find any problems with your meter?




.
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#904410 --- 10/25/08 05:16 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 32556
Loc: USA
Guess they are saying that natural gas is expected to increase by 15% this year.

It is odd because natural gas is trading around $6 down from $14.50.

One would think that the natural gas price that NYSEG charges would drop by almost 1/2.


Change the year in the chart below to 2008----


http://www.tfc-charts.w2d.com/hist_NG.html




NYSEG must think that we should still be paying the rates caused by Hurricane Katrina?

.



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"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, A SOLDIER DIED TODAY."

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#904461 --- 10/25/08 06:47 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
justaxme Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 2351
Loc: On top?
Originally Posted By: abigail
Any alternatives to using NYSEG in the area?


I wish!! I had a problem and have talked to a half dozen NYSEG reps. It like talking to a wall. I will make yet another trip to their offices and try to speak slower.
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#904544 --- 10/25/08 07:47 PM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: justaxme]
Qwill Pen Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/17/08
Posts: 821
Loc: New York
One easy thing you can do that is free is request an Energy Audit through your furnace company that participates in Energy Star. We all pay into it on our gas & electric bills. there is a little line items for it. It is not much - but pooled together over the state makes free audits possible. They will come to your home and do the audit and then give you a list of is recommended or where you are losing the most energy. Some things are simple and inexpensive - like extra caulking around the outside windows and inside frames and things like that. I had mine done by Halso who has an energy specialist who only does these audits.

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#904681 --- 10/26/08 06:39 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: justaxme]
jojotaxpayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 2500
Loc: Ontario County
Originally Posted By: justaxme
Originally Posted By: abigail
Any alternatives to using NYSEG in the area?


I wish!! I had a problem and have talked to a half dozen NYSEG reps. It like talking to a wall. I will make yet another trip to their offices and try to speak slower.


You cannot escape NYSEG as they own all of the pipes/electric lines. Any other 'energy companys' use all of NYSEGS resources and mark them up a few cents and in turn pay NYSEG whatever they want. Sucks because NYSEGs customer service department could not really give a freak most of the time. But no matter who your energy company is it will go through nyseg, and they will still get your money.

You can switch to propane, but it is a hassle and you need one of those big ugly tanks.

NYSEG is the almighty power, and they know it.

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#904682 --- 10/26/08 06:45 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
itstinks Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 391
We've found that getting a previously enjoyed woodstove and cutting down obscene amounts of trees on our neglected-by-the -previous-tree-hugging owner has done the trick

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#904719 --- 10/26/08 08:21 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
colorado Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/07
Posts: 140
Loc: NY USA
We have our house zoned so the heat is set at 68 and 64. It kicks on to 68 about 5 am and goes back down to 64 at 8 am when we are at work all day. At 4 pm it kicks back on 68 and goes back down to 64 about 9pm. It really works for us and we are warm when we need to be and cooler at night when we are sleeping. It is much healthier that way. Not sure how this would work if you had kids but it is a way of life and it took us a while to get used to it. We can override the system if we need to. Our bills are not too bad.

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#904803 --- 10/26/08 10:15 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
Rick-the-Builder Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 11723
Loc: Finger Lakes USA
Originally Posted By: abigail
Any alternatives to using NYSEG in the area? Thanks.


Darkness and cold.
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#904821 --- 10/26/08 10:53 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: Rick-the-Builder]
Samuel Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 4495
Loc: Potter, NY
Originally Posted By: Rick-the-Builder
Originally Posted By: abigail
Any alternatives to using NYSEG in the area? Thanks.


Darkness and cold.


A gas powered generator
bicycle powered TV
Kerosene lamps and candles
Coal for heat

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#905382 --- 10/27/08 07:21 AM Re: NYSEG alternatives? [Re: abigail]
lotsoftrouble Offline
Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Geneva NY
I have NYSEG and did recieve very large bills my first winter here in NY. It was a shock, because I had never lived anywhere that got colder than 50 degrees, but I realize it was just my energy usage and not really NYSEG.

I did an energy evaluation through a website from my previous electric company, and I found out that things like keeping my computer on most of the day can cost me up to 15 dollars a month and other little things like that that added up quickly.

I do know one thing that NYSEG told me about when I called, is you may be on a certain kind of plan (in addition to average biling), I am on a day/night plan, so my energy usage between 11pm and 7am is a lot cheaper than what I use during the day. So I charge my phone during that time and also do most of my laundry later at night and early in the morning, which is do-able for me because I stay up late. So check what plan you're on. I don't know if anyone mentioned that.

But I also just moved in to a house with Oil heat last year and got another jolt with the cost of that! WOW! I don't know how people here make it! But I am moving back to the good old temperate climate zone soon and the electric bills are definetly not something I will miss 8).

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