My $14.74 Electric Bill

by Andy Hough on January 24, 2013

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my electric bill for December was only $14.74. My actual energy charge was only $4.87, the rest of the bill was for the customer charge and taxes. This is why I didn’t want an apartment with natural gas heat. The gas company charges a $25 customer charge before you even use any gas. Electric heat ends up being much cheaper for me.

I used 66 kwh of electricity. The average household in Missouri uses 1,112 kwh of energy in a month. Since I am a single person and have a studio apartment rather than an average size household and house it makes sense that I would have a lower electric bill. There are several ways I save on electricity by living in a studio apartment. My hot water comes from a central boiler which allows me to take 15 minute hot showers without running up my electric bill. Another advantage I have for using less electricity is that I don’t have a washer/dryer. The biggest savings came from the fact that I didn’t use my heat at all. My apartment just seems to naturally stay warm. I guess that is from having a third story apartment with south facing windows. This could be a big disadvantage when it starts getting warmer.

There are some things I do to save electricity. I think they are all pretty well known electricity saving tips. I keep the microwave unplugged when I’m not using it. I use a fluorescent lamp rather than the overhead light in my bedroom. In the bathroom I use just one light bulb and keep the others unscrewed since one bulb provides plenty of light. Sometimes I shower in the dark. I don’t have a TV, I use my laptop for watching movies and other entertainment. I use sunlight for illumination during the day.

Even with all of that I’m surprised my electric bill was so low. I would have thought the refrigerator would have used that much electricity by itself. If the electric bill was a mistake I’ll find out next month. If not, I think I have my electricity costs about as low as they can go.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle January 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

Wow that’s extremely cheap!

2 mike crosby January 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

Way to go Andy. I installed a tankless water heater in my house and it dropped my gas bill down to your numbers. We don’t have the $25 minimum charge.

3 krantcents January 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Great job! If you can do this with utilities you should do it with your other expenses! How is that going?

4 Andy Hough January 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm

It is. I hope I can keep it that way.

5 Andy Hough January 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm

The $25 customer charge is a bad deal for low usage customers. I’m glad you were able to get your gas bill down so low.

6 Andy Hough January 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm

The month isn’t quite over but I’m guessing my total expenses for the month will be under $800.

7 Matt January 25, 2013 at 4:46 am

You unplug your microwave? I wasn’t aware microwaves had “standby”. Does it make a difference?

8 My Frugal Miser January 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

You make my $56 power bill look extravagant. Be sure to let us know if the next bill is similarly low or if this was a mistake. I agree the refrigerator alone should be using more power than that.

9 Andy Hough January 25, 2013 at 9:56 am

Most microwaves have a clock/digital display that is always on and uses power. I read somewhere that for average users a microwave consumes more energy over the course of the year for the clock then for cooking food.

10 John S @ Frugal Rules January 25, 2013 at 9:56 am

Wow, that’s awesome! I really wonder how much is taken up by leaving things plugged in, all summed up on a monthly basis.

11 Andy Hough January 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

You have three people and live in a house. Plus, have a washer/dryer and hot water heater to run so you can’t really compare the two bills. I would say you are doing a great job of keeping your electric bill low and there probably isn’t much room for improvement.

12 Andy Hough January 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

I wrote a post about how much energy appliances use when you leave them plugged in.

13 Fred@Foxy Finance January 27, 2013 at 3:12 am

Damn, my bill is over ten times your rate for two of us. I think the other half is going to need a talking too! I’ve almost replaced all the lights with low energy ones but our apartment does get quite cold so the heating is on more than I would like. It’s the hard decision between comfort and being frugal, where do you draw the line!?

14 Krystal January 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Good job!

15 Andy Hough January 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I’m lucky that my apartment stays warm without my needing to run the heat. Once it starts getting warmer out that will lead to me needing to run the A/C though.

16 Andy Hough January 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm


17 Anita January 29, 2013 at 10:46 am

I’m always trying to find different ways to save money on my utilities. Thanks for the tip of unplugging the microwave, I guess I never really thought that it would make a difference. Now to check the rest of my house and see if there is anything else I can unplug!

18 kathryn February 1, 2013 at 1:56 am

I assume you are in USA..but my son lives in a one bedroom apt and really don’t try to save energy. His usage consumption averages $10 month . He also doesn’t need to pay for hotwater or dryer. He does have a microwave, dishwasher and clotheswasher. TV and video games are on all the time, when he isn’t working. I don’t think you will find too much diference, if you decided to leave things plugged in.
However, I do want to congratulate you for such a low utility bill.

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