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Old 02-25-2009, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
22 posts, read 55,668 times
Reputation: 19

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Hello everyone,
I writing on behalf of my sister who owns a home in Buford-it's about 2300 sq ft, no basement 4br..She got a GAS bill for 01/09 was $400..Now the bill due for 02/09 is $523. This just seemd unusually high..I've only lived here since 12/2008. the house isn't that big for the bill to be so high. Gas is bill thru city of buford, (they are no help)..
Please please someone please give me some info with what is going on? This does not seem like the norm.I've read other forums on this matter and other people bill are low. We have the two (2) furnaces. I've gone and check my two neighbors that are on my left and right, and their meter is not moving as fast as mine. My usage for 01/07/09-2/09/2009 is 188 thermal, last month usage was 125.
Another possible problem is that the Thermostat reading is not reading right. The one upstairs and downstairs. Should i change the thermostats first?

Please help us!! Thanks in advance...
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Billerica, MA
3,397 posts, read 4,084,233 times
Reputation: 1137
What are the settings of your thermostat? Are they programmable? Do you turn off the heat during the day?

Honestly, those bills are astronomical, but the cost of natural gas has been very volatile lately. I know my folks in the NE get bills for $200-300 per month and (a) it's colder there but (b) they keep their thermostats no higher than 65 even when home (60 when they are gone). So, if you have the thermostat set at 70 or higher constantly, then yes, you will be wasting money on energy.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Tyrone
381 posts, read 271,284 times
Reputation: 69
plan on a day when you will not use any gas appliances. take a digital picture of the gas meter beforehand then the next day. see if there was usage. also, smell around the meter for a sulfuric odor (presence of a leak). if you have a digital gas meter, it may need recalibration.

-a|ex
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:06 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,205 posts, read 4,321,442 times
Reputation: 873
My bills for this period last year were very similar to your sister's. Our house is around 2,000 sq feet, 20 years old, has single paned windows and probably not great insulation. We have an adult who works from home, so the thermostat is not turned down during the day, as it is in many homes where everyone goes out to work/school.

We've cut our bills down a lot by doing the following:

(a) Changing gas marketer. We discovered we were in the class of long-term customers paying rip-off rates to Georgia Natural Gas. (There was an expose about this in the AJC last year. Both SCANA and GNG had introduced much lower rates for new customers, but long-term customers were left paying high rates unless the customer requested a change of plan. I wouldn't deal with either marketer again unless they were the only choice available. GNG keeps wasting their money on sending me "come back" flyers in the mail.) We went with Fireside Natural Gas and are happy with them. I expect there are other fine choices out there as well.

(b) Closing the vents in the basement, which we don't use much.

(c) Tweaking our thermostat programming a bit more (although we already had it turned down at nights, last year).

I expect insulation/window improvements would help us further, however we decided we should test for radon before making the house more airtight. Waiting for radon test results now, as it happens.

Hope some of these ideas may be useful.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:48 AM
 
Location: HELL a.k.a Columbus, GA
239 posts, read 578,196 times
Reputation: 88
I'm not sure what she can do. Does she know how much she is paying per therm for gas? Has she compared it to what the natural gas marketers are charging?<----this really doesn't mean squat since the marketers and municipalities can charge what they want but she can at least get some idea whether the pricing is out of line with the rest of the market. Do the bills cover more than a typical 28 to 30 day billing period? Are there additional charges on the bill that aren't usually there? Are her meter readings in line with the same period last year? Does she have a gas leak or is her meter malfunctioning?

Unfortunately, the City of Buford, or any city/county owned utility, does not fall under the purview of the Public Service Commission and there are very few state laws that attempt to provide some control over how these entities do business. Unfortunately, if they are not being helpful with her issue, her only recourse is to file a complaint with the Georgia Municipal Association or with the county commission since these are the only bodies in Georgia that have any authority over utilities provided by cities/counties. As a last resort, she can file a complaint with the PSC. They will try to help resolve her issue but again, they have no authority over municipally owned utilities.

Last edited by saharaga; 02-26-2009 at 11:55 AM..
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
22 posts, read 55,668 times
Reputation: 19
Thanks for the responses to everyone. What is the purpose of the radon test? I think the problem is with insulation or bad thermostat..She does not have a basement, the house is less than 3 yrs old. So they have begun to keep track of how many thermos are use daily.
They have check for leaks-calling city of buford-no gas leak..They can't change gas supplier, i think because buford only uses buford gas, no competition.Buford has automatic reading,so their guys drive around while reading the meters wirelessly..
Sarahaga- thanks a bunch for your response also. Makes perfect sense why city of buford is not helpful at all.

thanks again everyone..
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:29 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,205 posts, read 4,321,442 times
Reputation: 873
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
I expect insulation/window improvements would help us further, however we decided we should test for radon before making the house more airtight. Waiting for radon test results now, as it happens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nbirchie View Post
Thanks for the responses to everyone. What is the purpose of the radon test?
The purpose of the radon test is to test for radon gas in the house.

A Citizen's Guide to Radon | Radon | US EPA

I'm in Cobb County, where, according to the EPA map, the radon risk is high: Georgia | EPA Map of Radon Zones | Radon | Indoor Air Quality | Air | US EPA

I believe the high radon risk is due to the geology of this area.

The radon test at my house had a good result: 0.9 pCi/liter in a basement room. I'm really happy about that.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA (Dunwoody)
2,039 posts, read 2,673,145 times
Reputation: 927
We don't have storm windows (plan to rectify that shortly), so my husband shrink-wrapped our windows. It seems to have helped tremendously. Our house is about 40 years old though. I would imagine that it would have double-paned windows. We rarely turn our thermostat above 66-degrees since we have a gas furnace. We use space heaters and wear extra layers.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:33 AM
 
4,239 posts, read 3,827,619 times
Reputation: 786
If she is using Buford Gas she has no choice. Is she in the City of Buford or outside the city limits...you pay a bit more.

Sounds high to me -- I have a 3800 sq. ft. house and my gas bill wasn't nearly that high. I have a finished basement and use a heat pump in the basement.

Check out this website and see if they have prgroms to help you cut your bills.
Georgia Cities Natural Gas - Home Page
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:45 PM
 
11 posts, read 32,594 times
Reputation: 11
WOW! I'm looking to relocate to the Atlanta area and have to say something seems wrong. I live in Northern Ohio where the average temp has been about 20, my home is around 3400 sq. ft, and my last 3 gas bills have all been below $250. My thermo is a programmable that's set to 60 during the day, but 70 from 5pm on. You should have someone look into that.
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