Diverging Utility Expenses or just Rate Flucuations?

Diverging Utility Expenses or just Rate Flucuations?

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I’m pretty sure that I’ve said this before and, if not, I’ve certainly thought it — I can’t stand it when people just generally assume that “things are going up”.

Sure, it might seem like they are but… for the most part, they’re not.

Or are they?

In the past, I’ve found that a nice constant to use for this sort of analysis is a utility bill — any utility bill.

I moved into my current home late in October of 2002 but, for simplicity sake, I’ll just pretend that I moved in on January 1, 2003.

Here’s what the my natural gas bill has looked like from 2003 through 2011.

2003 – $329.67
2004 – $988.97 (I switched to a natural gas furnace)
2005 – $1733.93
2006 – $1545.59
2007 – $1666.98
2008 – $1892.21 (Coldest year ever?)
2009 – $1633.42
2010 – $1599.13
2011 – $1512.82

As you can see, I peaked in 2008 and have been on a steady decline ever since.

What happened?

Gas prices do flucuate, yes, but my heating habits certainly haven’t. I like to wear shorts in the house — even in February.

Thanks to global warming (or something), it was a balmy 58 degrees in Connecticut on Wednesday.

So I’ll blame that “inconvenient truth” — and applaud it. Hey, it’s saving me money!

Seriously, though, last time I heard, gas prices have been on the rise since 2008… and are still going higher… yet, my bill is shrinking…

The weather hasn’t been “that” crazy…

What gives?

Ordinarily I’d just flat out say something like, “Things aren’t really going up now, are they?” and end the post there…

But not today…

Could it be that the new siding and that insanely small amount of styrofoam insulation behind it that we had installed in the summer of 2007 got the ball rolling?

And what about the “real” insulation that we put in behind the walls during our 2010 interior renovation?

Could those “investments” be paying for themselves via my natural gas bill?


And I thought that part of the sales pitch was totaly hooey…

Okay, so my gas bill has dropped, what about the others?

Well, here are the stats for the rest of my utilities (exlcuding water/sewer cause it’s pretty static no matter what):

Utility Graph

Electricity and Cable went up, phone dropped like rock.


Well, I’m going to attribute the recent electricity increase to laundry for a family of four (starting in 2011) and a power sucking plasma television (which debuted late in November of 2010).

And the cable bill relates directly to the new television — we upgraded to HD service.

The dates coincide with the additional expenses.

As for the phone, in 2010, we got fed up and went with MagicJack.

I can’t stress how great this thing is.

For those interested in all of the actual numbers, click here.


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