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Spike? What Spike? Idaho Power Explains [Update]

Clearly Ambiguous via flickr

Yesterday, I wrote an article about how some of us seem to be experiencing a marked increase in our power bill and it was hard to dismiss the spike coinciding with the installation of the new Smart Meters.

Thanks for all of your comments.  Some of you said that you saw a significant spike… Others noted that your bill was about the same or even went down.

Idaho Power posted on our Facebook wall and suggested that it would be a good idea to give them a call.  I did just that yesterday afternoon.  I spoke to a very nice representative who said that the smart meters are accurate.  I noted the significant increase in my bill from August to September so she did a 2010/2011 comparison for the month of August.  (Note:  September bill reflects August usage.)  Here’s what she concluded:

1.  August was hot.  Hotter than July was for sure.  Up until late July and August, we’ve had a relatively mild summer so it’s reasonable to conclude that I was using my AC a lot more duirng the month of August.   She went on to suggest that this August was hotter than last year.  I looked online and last year and this year seem about the same.

2. She compared last years consumption to this year and noted that this year I used about 500 kw hours more juice than last year.  In other words, while there’s considerable difference from this month to last month, the difference isn’t as glaring when you compare the same month from year to year.

3.  Efficiency of heating/cooling unit should be checked.  That makes sense but  I quickly dismissed it because I had Home Heating and Air do an annual inspection in July and they gave me the thumbs up.  They even said I’m doing a great job maintaining a clean unit.

In the end, the explanations were very reasonable but I tend to be a skeptic.  I still raise half an eyebrow when I get a bill that’s higher than my highest.  I would suggest that if you notice what you think is a significant increase in your bill, keep an eye on the trend.  One month by  itself  isn’t enough to cry foul but it’s never a bad idea to ask questions.  Ask your friends and neighbors.  Do what I did and ask a few friends on Facebook and compare notes.  I cannot count the number of times when I think I’m alone and find that I am one of many.  I’m sure the new meters are accurate.  But who’s metering the meters? ;)

Meters aside, Idaho Power is looking to raise rates so we could be seeing bigger bills in the future.

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