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Old 04-11-2011, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Austin
92 posts, read 334,824 times
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What is the average electric bill for a small house? I read somewhere the Portland doesn't use natural gas. True?

What are the water bills like? Are trash and recycling billed together or separate? How expensive?
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,665 posts, read 18,050,097 times
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Portland has natural gas in most areas. Our electric rates are low compared to the rest of the country. Some apartments have electric baseboard heaters because of our comparatively low rates AND the fact that they are cheap to install - avoid those where ever you can. We rarely need air conditioning.

I expect the City of Portland water rates to increase significantly. Do not assume that your water district is not using Portland water (aka Portland water rates).

Utility costs are a function of both rates and usage so my experience cannot be extrapolated. Basically the less you use, whatever the rate, the less you pay.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:14 AM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,466 posts, read 12,194,737 times
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City of Portland and Beaverton both state to expect water rates to be $50/month per a person in a typical household.

We use natural gas for heating and appliances. Prices range from $100 in especially cold months, to $11 in the summer.

Electrical is all over the place, but typically about $150 in the winter, and down to $50 in the summer. I'll also admit that as an IT worker, my home has more then a few things sucking extra juice that can typically be avoided by most people.

My house is admittedly larger then normal for my neighborhood though.

Listen to what Nell says about the electric baseboards, in my old apartment, $250 was not atypical.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Austin
92 posts, read 334,824 times
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Thank you!!!

Gee, I don't know what I'll do without a $400 electric bill in the summer....
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Just outside of Portland
4,828 posts, read 6,467,461 times
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I live in an older early 1900's era bungalow.
About 2000 Square ft.
Fairly well insulated, but definately not airtight.

I live in a pretty active house with kids and grankids and dogs running in and out all the time.
It's always--- Turn off that light!!...Shut that door!...Turn down the heater!...Don't take 1/2 hour long showers... you get the picture.

Anyway, here are my utility costs:

Natural Gas: from 40 summer to 175 winter
Electric: from 220 winter to 100 summer
Water: always between 100 to 150 per month
Trash: 55 a month
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: TX
94 posts, read 275,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxMIKEpdx View Post
Natural Gas: from 40 summer to 175 winter
Electric: from 220 winter to 100 summer
Water: always between 100 to 150 per month
Trash: 55 a month
Wow, water & trash together running 155 to 205 a month?!? In Houston, it's never more than $35 total where I am. Electricity at my place never tops $140, and gas never goes over $90. At that's not a new home by any means (it has no modern insulation features). I wonder why Oregon utilities are so expensive?
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:39 AM
 
Location: The greatest state of them all, Oregon.
780 posts, read 1,407,652 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxMIKEpdx View Post
I live in an older early 1900's era bungalow.
About 2000 Square ft.
Fairly well insulated, but definately not airtight.

I live in a pretty active house with kids and grankids and dogs running in and out all the time.
It's always--- Turn off that light!!...Shut that door!...Turn down the heater!...Don't take 1/2 hour long showers... you get the picture.

Anyway, here are my utility costs:

Natural Gas: from 40 summer to 175 winter
Electric: from 220 winter to 100 summer
Water: always between 100 to 150 per month
Trash: 55 a month
We're getting ready to move to PDX from NE Ohio, and this is a HUGE eye opener for me. While your place is slightly larger, we easily compensate with far more gas & electric usage (far more gas in winter & far more a/c in summer), yet our bills are much smaller.

Natural Gas: You average $108. On the budget plan, ours is $84.
Electric: You average $160. On the budget plan, ours is $125.
Water: You average $125. Ours is $35-40. (WOW!)
Trash: You are at $55, while we only pay $14. (WOW again!)

I had no idea that the utitily costs would be so dramatically different, and I will clearly have to alter the monthly budget I prepared for out there. Those water & trash differences are just staggering.

NOTE: Our home was built in 1978 and has 1900 sq ft living space (2 levels) plus a full basement.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,665 posts, read 18,050,097 times
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You aren't required to have garbage service. Recycling and composting can reduce your volume considerably. I know some families in NW Portland who shared a trash can.

Decline boxes when you check out at Costco, bring reusable bags. Locate recycling stations and drop off your accumulation in route to other activities.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Austin
92 posts, read 334,824 times
Reputation: 29
Are recycling services separate from trash?

I currently live in Austin. Our water bill is never less than $200 and our electric is $200 in winter, $400 in summer - which is 9 mo. out of the year here. Ridiculous! Everyone one keeps saying it so expensive to live in Portland but I'm going to actually save money utility wise!

Thanks for the answers everyone. You're really helping me with my "PDX Budget" project!
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Sherwood, OR
666 posts, read 1,717,638 times
Reputation: 679
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderbygrace View Post
Natural Gas: You average $108. On the budget plan, ours is $84.
Electric: You average $160. On the budget plan, ours is $125.
Water: You average $125. Ours is $35-40. (WOW!)
Trash: You are at $55, while we only pay $14. (WOW again!)
Let me give you one more data point. Maybe that will help pull you back off the ledge a bit.

I have what most would call a large suburban home, built in 1992. We're in Tualatin (12 miles from downtown). Original gas furnace and water heater so its nothing incredibly efficient.

Natural Gas: ~$80 (ranges from $170 in Winter to $20 in Summer)
Electric: ~$60 (
Water/Sewer: ~$55
Trash: $23.05 (actually $46.10 every two months). Includes trash, yard waste, and recycling bins.

A few more important points: We don't have kids. My wife calls me the heat miser (sweaters were made for a reason, hot water heater does not need to be set to equal the temps in a nuclear reactor, and military showers get you just as clean). I work from home so utilities are consumed all day long, each day. We also have central A/C that we'll use a total of 10 days or so during the summer. I did do some energy efficiency audits and tackled a lot of the low hanging fruit, but many more improvements can be made.
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