The Take

Our utility bill arrived the other day. Coming from the city, this bill includes electricity, water, sewage, and a few other things.

Although there’s a total, of course – this is what I’ll pay – it’s categorized and subtotaled. The top part is about electricity. That part pleased me; it showed that thanks to the time of year and our solar panels, the city was paying us three dollars for our electricity. We owed nothing. That was sweet.

Next down was the water. We’d used less water than last year, but it came out to $45 due the city for water. The rest of the $89 bill due was for sewage, drains, street use, and street lights. That’s sobering, because there’s nothing I can do about any of that, except move to somewhere else.

Overall, I was pleased. To put this take in complete context, we have an eighteen hundred square foot single level stand-alone residence built in 2005. It’s located in Ashland, in southern Oregon. Two humans and four cats live there. All humans are over fifty. Our solar panels are rated at two thousand watts, but due to a number of circumstances, they usually won’t generate that much. I was impressed to see them putting out over two thousand when I checked on them the other day, and reflected on the perfect angle of the sun, ambient temperature, and humidity that coincided to create that miracle.

We depend on natural gas for heating, cooking, and the clothes dryer. That bill is $51 per month. That’s our comfort bill; they usually refund us a few dollars each year.

I post all of this because finding comparisons with others help put it all in context. When I complained to a friend about my water bill late last summer, they revealed that their bill that month was three times as much. Their house is larger by a thousand square feet, but it also has two occupants (and a smaller yard). They did have company stay with them that month.

Overall, my gas, water, and electric bills are not not bad. Hell, on reflection, I spend more on coffee in a month than I do on water or electricity. Food, though…

Well, that’s another post.


4 thoughts on “The Take

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  1. We still have a utility bill here, (no water bill because of our well) and it is expected to do its yearly “summer rates” climb soon. I want to go solar and have been looking into it (on and off) since I was a kid. Sadly, it’s location (mostly) that is delaying my switch. I’ll get there… just not as soon as I’d like.


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