This is the second month we've gotten a non-normal gas bill. Last month the bill was $200 and the average temperature outside was 60. Needless to say I became terrified at how high the bill would be in the coming month (as winter sets in and temperatures drop). It was already colder at this point so I went into war mode.
First thing I did was measure our gas usage. Every day at 9AM I logged the meter reading. Last month (the $200 month) we averaged 3CF a day. Beginning this month, I found, we were already at 6CF a day! That would mean a $400 gas bill.
I needed to get back to at least 3 and maybe lower. We bagan to light the fire in the fireplace, but that was averaging us close to $5 a day and lowering us to 4CU. That wasn't worth it at all. We then bought a ton of wood and lowered our average expenditure to $2 a day. We had to do more.
What did we do? Oh man. Before this all started (and for pretty much most of my life), I used to like to keep the house at 68-70 during the winter. Warm enough to never have to think about the temperature. I spent 2 weeks experimenting with temperatuires and heating schedules untiil I came to the solution that we have now. 60 all the time and 64 from 6pm to 11pm. Our average is now 3CF a day and we don't need to do the fire as much (we have run out of wood anyway).
This generally sucks since I work at home and now I spend my day in long underwear and sweats. I sleep with a hat on at night, my hands tend to freeze up by about noon, and when friends come over we reward ourselves and set the temp to 66!
We got our bill just yesterday, average temp for the month was 40, our bill? $400. That was mostly due to about 25 days of experimenting and playing around with stuff. I anticipate next month to be about the same cost even though the temp will be going down.
So who's fault is this? First off it's our landlord. This house is a house that if I owned, I would be compelled to rip the walls to shreads so I can install better insulation. I would replace the 20 year old windows and sliding doors (very inefficient). I would replace the over 20 year old HVAC system that has the vents all up in the ceiling. In short, this house is far from efficient and in my book, there is nothing more important that having an efficient house.
Second, it is PGW. There has never been a better example of a poorly run monopoly ruining peoples lives. This company is our only choice for natural gas. This company is one if the worst run companies in America. Over the years there has been dozens of articles in our media about how poorly the company is run.. Here's a great one from todays paper.
Of course there are others, many like this one. All I can say is this. Between my girlfriend and I, we make a pretty good living. If we're cold every day and terrified of our gas bill, we can only wonder how bad it is for others less fortunate than we!