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Old 03-04-2017, 02:27 PM   #1
arttwood
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Default Electric Bill

I've owned my property on Winnipesaukee for about 2 years, so I don't have a lot of history, but i'm surprised by my electricity bills from the town of Wolfboro.

First, my camp is fully winterized. I don't run heat, unplug the fridge, etc.

Last winter, I had a bubbler/water circulator running and my monthly bill averaged about $140/month; This, past summer, my monthly bills averaged 70-100 -- which made sense to me. Yes, we were running appliances, but only on weekends and that bubbler wasn't running all the time.

This winter, I elected not to run the bubbler and shut down the camp as usual. However, this year, my winter monthly bills are averaging 130/month.

Now, I've not paid close-enough attention to the KWH costs, but this seems really unusual to me. Even if energy costs went up, I wouldn't expect by this much. Anyone else making a similar observation? What are your monthly winter electric bills for unused camps?
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Old 03-04-2017, 02:44 PM   #2
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We have NHEC and a drained house with only a bubbler is about $45 a month. Do you turn off all the breakers or the main?


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Old 03-04-2017, 02:48 PM   #3
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We have NHEC and a drained house with only a bubbler is about $45 a month. Do you turn off all the breakers or the main?


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I don't shut off ANY breakers. Seems like an obvious thing to do in hindsight, but I didn't do it. My thought was that if nothing is drawing power, there shouldn't be a need to do that. Clearly, something is drawing power up there. I'll shut down the breakers on my next visit. If you're shutting down your breakers, would you still expect to have a $45 bill?
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:14 PM   #4
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I don't shut off ANY breakers. Seems like an obvious thing to do in hindsight, but I didn't do it. My thought was that if nothing is drawing power, there shouldn't be a need to do that. Clearly, something is drawing power up there. I'll shut down the breakers on my next visit. If you're shutting down your breakers, would you still expect to have a $45 bill?
If you are getting your power through the NH Electric Co-op, there are around $40 of base fees before the charge for electricity usage. So, yes, a $45 bill is about as cheap as they get.
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:41 PM   #5
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If you are in Wolfeboro you must be getting your power from the Wolf. Elec Dept. I can't understand how anybody's bill can be $130 a month if nothing is running. Are you sure a pump, maybe a sump pump isn't stuck on or something? A humidifier or dehumidifier? NHEC's fees are very high before you use any power as Joebon said, but Wolf Elec's are not as high. I think $10 but I am not sure of that. I would certainly call the town and ask them why it is so high if you are not supposed to be using any power. They actually called us and told us we used a lot of water and we must have something leaking. He came out and we determined we must have had a toilet leaking although we weren't sure. The guys are very nice and helpful.
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:44 PM   #6
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If you are in Wolfeboro you must be getting your power from the Wolf. Elec Dept. I can't understand how anybody's bill can be $130 a month if nothing is running. Are you sure a pump, maybe a sump pump isn't stuck on or something? A humidifier or dehumidifier? NHEC's fees are very high before you use any power as Joebon said, but Wolf Elec's are not as high. I think $10 but I am not sure of that. I would certainly call the town and ask them why it is so high if you are not supposed to be using any power. They actually called us and told us we used a lot of water and we must have something leaking. He came out and we determined we must have had a toilet leaking although we weren't sure. The guys are very nice and helpful.
I'm going to call them on Monday and ask these very questions. Something must be drawing the power.

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Old 03-04-2017, 04:03 PM   #7
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I certainly would. I really think you will find them very helpful.
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:26 PM   #8
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Does your neighbor have an extension cord hooked up? That seems very high! I'm on eversource at my full time house and this month was like $90.
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:54 PM   #9
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Killing your main will certainly ensure you are not drawing any power - but @ 130 bucks something somewhere is drawing power and I sure as heck would like to know what.

Few ways you can go about doing this.

Anytime you are drawing power the meter is going to indicate so. What I would do is shut all your breakers except your main. I would shut off/unplug if necessary everything in the house. Then turn one breaker on at a time and see if you observe a power draw through the meter. If or better yet when you do now you know what circuit is drawing and from there you can try to find the source.

My thought... and a common one that is often times not discovered for a while. If you have a well pump and one of the seals is not working well it can bleed down and kick the pump on more often than usual, in some cases if the leak is bad enough the pump runs constantly. That'll run up your bill without you knowing it!

I have both Eversource/PSNH at home and NHEC at the camp. Both have base fees that run right around 30-40 bucks just to be hooked up regardless of use.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:36 PM   #10
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Something's up for sure. No bubbler. Winterized camp in Wolfeboro. Breakers on but appliances unplugged. Wolfeboro electric charges us $5/mo electric bill.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:59 PM   #11
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Smile Electric Bill/useage

I am on Cow Island and shut off my main when I close up for the season. N.H. Electric sends me my bill every month and it is under $30.oo per month which is the base charge for having it. Something seems wrong. Power is going somewhere! JMHO kerk
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:04 PM   #12
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Something's up for sure. No bubbler. Winterized camp in Wolfeboro. Breakers on but appliances unplugged. Wolfeboro electric charges us $5/mo electric bill.

Is it still 5, Wolfe? I thought they raised it to 10.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:13 PM   #13
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It certainly could be, tis. My recollection is $5 but I have a credit for some reason from last season so I haven't paid close attention to the recent bills. Whether $5 or $10, it's the only Wolfeboro expense I know of that is "negligible."
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfe-man View Post
It certainly could be, tis. My recollection is $5 but I have a credit for some reason from last season so I haven't paid close attention to the recent bills. Whether $5 or $10, it's the only Wolfeboro expense I know of that is "negligible."
And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than NHEC's which is around 25. I know they were talking about being so cheap compared to others and were discussing going to 10. Couldn't remember for sure if it happened. Thanks.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:38 PM   #15
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My bill is about the same as you but i run 2 bubblers and have used house a lot so your bill seems high. Possible that they have not even checked your meters and are sending you estimates based on last years usage. When they do get around to reading meter you will get a credit. This can happen in winter when they do not want to trudge through snow to get to meter.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:17 PM   #16
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Default Things you don't unplug

Things you don't unplug include sump pump, water heater, well pump, roof top heat tapes, lights or other hard wired things on timers, etc. We shut off the main, get a bill for ~$18.00 from PSNH. It used to be $0.00 before "deregulation." Peaks at ~$75 in the summer when we're running everything.
I once had a tenant whose water bill was very high compared to previous.
I asked him to check water use, he said no leaks. When he moved and disconnected the washer, we found a drip. It went into the machine and emptied when they did laundry. Fixed the drip and the next tenant had a water bill that was literally $50 less. It doesn't take much. If you have a well, the drip will run the well pump. That could be outside, underground leak. Solve by shutting the main breaker.

PSNH used to advertise that they would do a free energy audit. Maybe your co-op will do that ?

Let us know what you find.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:46 PM   #17
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Winter had a good thought. Did you tell them you wanted to shut off the power for the winter? They might be estimating.??? Calling them is a good idea.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:05 AM   #18
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Default something's running

Seems like a high current item is on somewhere. I'd suspect either water heater, well pump, or septic pump (if equipped). Your bill should show the KWH used and reading. NHEC web site allows you to see usage by the hour. I used that a lot to determine if my dock circulator was running correctly.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:29 AM   #19
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Have you been up to your place it's not uncommon for people to sneak in a cottage that is closed up and live there even on the island properties

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Old 03-05-2017, 07:33 AM   #20
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Almost 100% sure it is an estimated bill, based on last years energy consumption. Sometimes the utilities do not visit a number of properties in the winter due to access issues, etc. Look carefully at your bill and see if it shows actual meter readings or an estimate. They should have noted that fact. My bet is you will have a huge credit when they actually get around to reading the meter.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:00 AM   #21
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Default Power to the People

Our electric meter on East Bear Island is read off-island by NHEC. We have a circulator with a thermostat in our boat slip to protect dock structures between breakwaters. The bill for electric usage for the 29 day period ending on February 17th is $127.09.

Several years ago, a cottage near us was broken into and occupied for a length of time during the winter. 🐻
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Winter had a good thought. Did you tell them you wanted to shut off the power for the winter? They might be estimating.??? Calling them is a good idea.
I'll be calling them tomorrow, but as a follow up to several comments:
* these are not estimates. the bill indicates these are actual readings
* I don't have a well,as I draw water from the lake. The pump is shut down, but there is a heat tape running the length of the pipe. This was also running last year, so this wouldn't/shouldn't account for the bill
* I did install, this summer, one of those UV water sterilizers. I can't recall if I unplugged that at the end of the season (maybe not?) but I'd be very surprised if it's running cost was so high.
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:27 PM   #23
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There was a big rate increase maybe a year ago. I am not sure if that affected your heat tape cost or not. I can't imagine the water sterilizer would use that much would it? Anyway, let us know how you make out. Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:10 PM   #24
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Quote:
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There was a big rate increase maybe a year ago.
I received notice of a 10% rate increase for Wolfeboro that took effect in January of this year and noted that Wolfeboro had not seen a rate increase in the previous 9 years.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:45 AM   #25
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I received notice of a 10% rate increase for Wolfeboro that took effect in January of this year and noted that Wolfeboro had not seen a rate increase in the previous 9 years.
I thought there was a much bigger rate increase a year or so ago. I remember our bill going up a lot. Wish I could remember better but it seems to me the 10% you are talking about was the result of both and increase in our charge from Public Service or whatever they are called now plus some kind of credit which averaged out in a smaller increase. But don't listen to me because I am not sure. I don't usually post stuff unless I am sure, just wanted to make a suggestion for art. As I said, I remember hearing about it and then a big jump in our bill.
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:36 PM   #26
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Default PSNH/ Eversource

Certainly check on your bill how many kilowatts you are being billed for. I also shut down my camp for the winter, and only area that would draw electricity is a motion detector light outside. My bill is 14.50 a month which is their monthly service change with less than 1 kw used.
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:53 PM   #27
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Default Eversource

full time permanent residence around $54 a month in Gilford in the winter or summer unless running central AC in summer. Even then highest bill when AC running was $80.

NH Electric Coop in Bartlett residence on weekends only $45 - $50 NH Elec Coop base fees before any KWH used are high.
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:43 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tis View Post
Winter had a good thought. Did you tell them you wanted to shut off the power for the winter? They might be estimating.??? Calling them is a good idea.
Even if you shut off your breakers, there's still a meter charge. Ask about the disconnect/reconnect fees and compare that to the meter charges.

If you can, get someone to look in on the place in case there are squatters as mentioned above. I've done that for a few friends and family. After a few obvious visits, the number of footprints in the snow dropped off noticeably.

Good luck!
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:48 PM   #29
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We call Eversource and shut the breakers off and we do not get a bill in the winter. When we call them in the spring I think there is a reconnect fee but not positive.
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:45 PM   #30
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Hi All,

Thanks for the responses. I spoke to the town and explained the situation. They confirmed that they've been taking actual readings because I have one of the new, installed meters that transmit actual readings.

I explained that I *do* have heat tape running down the pipe to the water inlet coming from the lake. (I don't take that out each season. The previous owner kept it in with the heat tape running). He felt this was the explanation for the bill and that people with any type of heating element will really impact the electric bill. As i'm not drawing water through the winter, I don't think it's even necessary for me to have that heat tape running. I will unplug it on my next visit.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:14 PM   #31
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Even if the pipes are not being used, couldn't damage be done if they freeze up (burst pipe)? Many people I know with such a setup pull their pipes out and drain them for the winter. I would check before simply turning off the heater. Otherwise you might need to replace the pipes in the spring.
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