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?
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
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.
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... :-)
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)
On Tue, 06 Oct 2009 13:26:51 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
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.
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).
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
These 'average' bill reports always make me chuckle. Have you heard
about the mathematician who drowned in the lake that was an average of
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.]
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.
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
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
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
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.
**** Of course I have, but that simply figures into the cost per BTU
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
heating or air conditioning, I can't discuss it. My reply dealt ONLY
the proper way to make a comparison between the different fuel
***** I have heard that the El Nino effect may cause a wetter year
north Texas than last. I hope so. But this is all prediction/
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
think that such articles are written by people skilled in the subject,
come to incorrect conclusions.
AndyS, licensed PE, Texas
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
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...
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