01 July 2014

Electric Bill

So, the electric bill that we were supposed to get on "approximately" June 17 came today. We were wondering how much it would be because everyone tells us that electricity is very expensive here. The bill covers 2 months and is for 95 euro, which is currently about $130. This means we will pay about the same amount as we did in Maine on average, but we use much less electricity here, I am sure. We have not had to have fans running here, the appliances are all smaller and more basic, so I imagine they use a fair bit less, and we use as much as possible during the off-peak hours overnight/early morning. The water heater is set up that way and I try to get laundry and any breakfast cooking done before off-peak hours end. The fridge runs off and on throughout the day, but not nearly as often as the one in Maine did; I do use the stove and sometimes the oven for cooking and baking during the day; we've had the computers plugged in; and sometimes charge the phone and my Nook. Because it stays light out until 11 pm, we hardly use any lights, except for in the bathroom, because there are no windows in there. There’s no “ghost usage" because every outlet and appliance has a switch, so the electricity gets turned off when something isn’t in use. I used to forget to turn off these switches sometimes when we first got here, but it’s becoming a habit now and I rarely forget anymore.

Plus, in Maine there were 3 adults with computers, using lights, and taking showers--now there are 2 of us. So, based on this, it does appear that electricity is expensive here. We thought it was extremely expensive in Maine, too. However, we are happy with the bill because we'd budgeted 100 euro per month for electricity and were hoping it wouldn't be more than that. It will be more than it is now in winter when we use the electric heat, but that is also set up to come on during off-peak hours and to store the heat to be slowly released during the day. I do not expect to use all of the heaters we have here--there are two in the kitchen/sitting room and I am sure one will do. There's one in the hallway, which I see no reason to use. There's one in each bedroom, but we will not turn on the one in the spare room unless we need to use that room. We don't sleep well if our bedroom is too hot, so I am not quite sure how we will handle the off peak thing there--just keep it set low, I guess. The bathroom has a different kind of heater that we can just turn on when we shower or something, I suppose. Every room has a door, so I expect that we will be using them--if we close the doors, we can close off the room and hallway that we don't want to heat and we can keep the heat in the rooms that we are heating. I imagine that it will feel cold outside at times over the winter because it'll be damp and probably windy, but the ambient temperature outside will be pretty mild, so we will probably not have to worry about frozen pipes or anything like that. It will certainly not be the kind of winter we are used to, so I do not expect to need the heat on for that long anyway. Even in Maine, we turned it on around Thanksgiving most years (not until Christmas week one year) and by March it was usually turned off again. This last winter was an exception--we didn't turn it on until Thanksgiving week, but we had it on until shortly before we left--and it snowed a couple of days before we left. My last real winter was actually quite a good one--we had some good cold spells and a lot of snow. I don’t expect to see that again. If I ever see it here, I can expect that things will be chaotic and problematic. I have a feeling that they would not be set up here for that kind of thing!

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