elec heat is cheap? huh?

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I just read this from an AP article: "Households are expected to pay an average of $783, nearly 12 percent less than last winter, for natural gas, and $1,821 for heating oil, about 2 percent lower. People using electric heat will pay $933, a decline of 2 percent and those using propane $1,667, or 14 percent less than last winter, the agency said."
Isn't electric the most expensive of all? Or are they saying that people who use electric heat have that as their average bill, but they're in warmer climes so they don't need as much heating anyway?
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wrote:

Gas, particularly propane, is getting expensive compared to electricity. We all know what happened to oil prices. You see the signs on the pumps at the shop and rob (heating oil is basically diesel) I suspect the "warmer climate" thing is part of it but anyone in a cooler place than South Florida probably uses heat pumps and they are pretty efficient until it really gets cold.
Where I am we just have toaster wire heat but the heating season is about 5 nights a year, maybe a day or two.
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On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 13:26:51 -0400, gfretwell wrote:

We've got about 12KW of electric heat at our place, plus a 500gal propane tank - last Winter costs were probably evenly split between the two (but we keep the house at 65 unlike a lot of folk who run up in the 70s, and the baseboard electric heaters are all on an off-peak rate, so work out quite economical to run)

Lucky. We turned heat on about a week ago - and expect it to go off again sometime around next April... :-)
cheers
Jules
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On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 13:34:34 -0500, Jules

It would be interesting to compare heat to A/C bills.
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On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 15:21:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote Re Re: elec heat is cheap? huh?:

Here is northwest Alabama, gas has increased from $0.08 to $0.12 per kWh delivered into the house (assuming 85% efficiency). Electricity is $0.09/kWh this month.
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wrote Re Re:

Well her in New Jersey electricity is more like $0.14/kWh, according to http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/115.htm (googled as one of the first sites)
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On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 15:21:11 -0400, gfretwell wrote:

Hard to compare exactly, I suppose - looking at the bills the prices were all over the darn place for elec ($0.045 some months, $0.08 others for the off-peak) so vary a lot from month to month. I think around $100/month was about average, though, so around $500 for a season.
I've found one propane bill for $570, 255 gallons at $2.24/gal from last December. I think we ended up getting more in about April as it wasn't going to quite make it the whole season, but we hardly used any of what was put in then. Running some numbers in my head I figure we got through about a whole 500gal tank for the season, so that's roughly $1100 on propane.
So, somewhere around $1600/yr for heating. Problem was we only moved here in Spring of last year, and didn't use the electric heat nearly as much as we will this year - I suspect we can knock a few hundred off that this time around (plus nobody had maintained the house properly for years - I've replaced doors since, sealed around windows etc. so it probably won't leak air quite as much as it did)
cheers
Jules
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On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 13:26:51 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:
-snip-

I just checked mine. Last month's propane was 30% lower than last year's Sept delivery.
Got a start when I looked at my electric history. I track both the stated KW/hr *and* the total bill/kWh. The stated hours have gone down almost 50%- from 9.3cents to 4.7. But the delivery charges and other crap has almost made up for it- 14.8 last year, 14.5 this year.
So in reality my propane has gone down 15x as much as my electricity.

Mine went from $3.86 to $2.59. cheapest it's been since '06.
Jim
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wrote:

The winter is not over, and I'm sure one tank won't last the winter. A refinery problem, or more politics in the east COULD double the cost of the next tank - - -
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The big problem with all these type of articles is that they typically don't properly define what type of "electric" heat, since there are several types with quite different overall efficiencies. There is a big difference in operating cost between electric resistive heat vs. electric heat pump (air or ground source).
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wrote:

Depends on where you live. It is probably the cheapest in the TN Valley- maybe the most expensive *per btu* in the northeast. But it has advantages of no tuneup required, no waste & room by room zoning.

These 'average' bill reports always make me chuckle. Have you heard about the mathematician who drowned in the lake that was an average of 1foot deep?
And to make them doubly funny, I like when they mix imaginary averages with WAG predictions of the future. Especially when they are predicting not just market vagaries, but also mother nature's fickle future. [Remember last year- "$5/gallon oil- *very* cold, long winter." Mine never hit $4 & I used exactly the same amount of oil as the year before.]
Jim
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I had to pony up $5k ($4.95/gallon) up front for 2008-2009 "price cap" savings, BUT, you only pay the current price at time of fill-up if it's less than the "cap" price. So...when the winter was over they still had $3k of my money so not only is this year's oil paid in full, they had to give me back nearly $700. I used 300 gallons less last year than the year prior because we insulated and got new windows, etc.
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Andy comments:
A better comparison would be the cost of each item per BTU, since we would expect to pay less for energy if we have less useage, and that changes each year....
I have NEVER seen the cost per BTU of electric decrease.
I HAVE seen the cost per BTU of gas,oil,coal go up AND down each year....
But to say that the "cost for gas" will go down might just mean that a warmer winter is being forecast...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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AndyS wrote: ...

a) you've simply not watched fuel surcharges on electric rates follow the energy markets then;
b) oil and particularly gas are significantly cheaper than they were last year and one wouldn't expect the prices to rise drastically in the short term given that economic recovery is likely to be longer term. This could, of course, change overnight if OB decides to do something precipitous in Iran, for example.
c) not seen longterm projections/predictions that for the NE or either coast but the longterm in the midwest for winter last I saw was for more nearly normal or perhaps below and dry which would be colder than last year in most areas.
I do agree such articles are essentially meaningless as they mangle the data from which the stated conclusions are drawn so badly as to be totally unable to separate out what is weather driven as opposed to the energy costs.
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The numbers could be due to the fact that homes with electric heat tend to be smaller, in warmer climates, etc. So trying to compare average bills is meaningless. Also, does "electric" just mean electric resistance heat, which we know is expensive, or does it include heat pumps?
We just got notified here in NJ that nat gas prices are dropping substantially and we are getting a substantial refund in the form of credit this month.
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**** Of course I have, but that simply figures into the cost per BTU or cost per KWH, and enough information is on the bill to make that calculation. Perhaps your power company works differently from mine, which is TXU in northern Texas .

***** I hope you are correct, but since I don't use gas or oil for home heating or air conditioning, I can't discuss it. My reply dealt ONLY with the proper way to make a comparison between the different fuel sources.

***** I have heard that the El Nino effect may cause a wetter year in north Texas than last. I hope so. But this is all prediction/ speculation and has nothing to do with the proper way to compare how "cheap" electric heating is.

***** That is exactly why I took the time to reply. Far too many people think that such articles are written by people skilled in the subject, and come to incorrect conclusions.
AndyS, licensed PE, Texas

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ST wrote:

Places where lots of people use electric heat would tend to be places with cheaper electricity.
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wrote:

Or places where Natural Gas in not available and Propane and Oil need to behauled a good distance or locating the oil/rpopane tanks for access is problematic.
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On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 23:27:59 -0400, clare wrote:

Urgh, our propane tank's way out back, and we got a lot of snow last year - clearing a path to get the delivery truck in was a nightmare. I still need to talk to the delivery company and see how close they have to get; last year it seemed they just ran a big hose the last 40' or so rather than backing the truck right in, which at least would save me a bit of a job.
At some point I'd like to move the (rented) tank to somewhere more sensible, but I don't know if that's something they'll let me do myself - if they insist on doing it, it'll probably be expensive...
cheers
Jules
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-snip-

Phone calls are free. Ask 'em.
When I moved mine 8-9 yrs ago I only paid for the tubing. The labor was free. They said they did it that way so people didn't DIY & cause a hazard.
Jim
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