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Let's talk water bills!

September 6th, 2012 at 05:49 am

Years back, I got water for all my household needs absolutely free. It came from a well with deeded rights to an underground spring located on a neighbor's property.

But the well was shallow....only 28 feet deep!....and a few experiences with coliform bacteria contamination convinced me it was time to find an alternative water supply.

So I paid $5,000 to hook up to the water company's main line about a hundred feet from my driveway; it serves a small subdivision near where I live. (I had to apply for a variance; the water company spoke against me, saying I should have the installation done a different way, which would have cost me $10,000. Luckily, the state regulators decided in my favor.)

I figured it was a much more secure source and I'd never have to worry about expensive well water issues. (Although my pump is still hooked up and working to supply my outdoor faucets with free water from the same well.)

Anyway, getting to the water bill. I usually pay about $46 every 3 months. Is that a good price compared to what you pay?

It irks me because there's so little incentive to conserve water. I am very frugal with my water use, and I see from my bill that I'm charged just $12.53 for actual water use, while the rest of the bill...$41.46...is a service charge. So my total bill this past quarter came to $54.80.

Onto heating oil prices. Here in the Northeast, we don't have natural gas lines readily available in many areas, so we can't take advantage of cheap natural gas prices these days.

But oh, am I glad I keep tabs on oil prices throughout the year. It's generally cheaper in the summer, and I did in fact spring for 141 gallons back in June when I paid $2.96 a gallon.

This morning when I called to schedule a furnace cleaning, I learned that today's price (it fluctuates daily) is $3.79 a gallon!!

Since my furnace fill-up will only get me through December, if I'm frugal, I will have no recourse but to fill up again when prices are highest, in the dead of winter. The only way to get around that would be to get a second oil tank, or a bigger one, that could hold more fuel, but since I anticipate not living here forever, I don't want to pay for that.

7 Responses to “Let's talk water bills!”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    It's a good price for water. I pay at least $25 a month in a small apartment.

  2. Monkey Mama Says:

    Water/sewer here is about $125/month.

    We moved 100 miles away and the water culture is night and day. I used to rent a house of similar size in San Jose, but I don't remember the water being more than $20/month. Seriously!! Growing up it was drought drought drought conserve conserve conserve. We probably have extreme water saving habits. (For example, bathing every day strikes me as way overkill). So, we move to Sacramento and there is no metered water. I was able to voluntarily sign up for metered water at some point, but it maybe only chipped $10/month off the bill. About $105-$115 per month is just fixed fees. Though the summer here (like San Jose) is dry and though it is 20-30 degrees hotter here in the summer, the CITY requires emerald green yards tear round. The HOA likes this too. In recent years there has been a little more water mindfulness, but you could literally get nasty grams for "too much watering" and "too brown grass" in the same day. We have an HOA and there is only so much we can do, but if we get a yard again when we downsize (once kids are done with school) I am going for a desert landscape, or no yard. It's not a desert here, but it is pretty close. The dry grass is such a fire hazard here - it just doesn't make *any* sense, and yet it is so encouraged to waste water for green lawns.

    Anyway, I keep hoping once water meters are implemented city-wide that we will be rewarded more. I know we use WAY less water than average, around here. But it's been interesting as I don't think I could live in two more extreme opposite cities, when it comes to water.

  3. Jenn Says:

    Our bill is outrageously high compared to yours. We pay $70 or so per month for water and another $120/qtr for sewer. We have 5 kids so there are a lot of showers, clothes, and dishes, but still! We used to live in La. and water was much cheaper there.

  4. jewels3 Says:

    We pay $45 a month for water, for 4 people. However, when we lived in Wisconsin it was $135 a month, same usage.

  5. patientsaver Says:

    Where you live has a lot to do i suspect with how much you pay for water. There are always drought issues int he midwest and even Calfornia, right? Here in the northeast, water is plentiful, for the most part.

    FYI, I pay separately for sewer, usually $33 every quarter, plus $605 a year for a special loan certain neighborhoods had to take out years ago in my town(total $10k 20yr loan financed at 3%) for an upgraded sewer treatment. the loan will be paid off in another 3-4 years i believe.

  6. Shiela Says:

    our service fees (there are a lot of them)are crazy high. Our actual usage is actually really low. Plus we have been paying extra to build a desalination plant that now we don't really need since the drought has been broken and all the dam are full. To make it worst the desalination plant is still not finish, it is costing over a billion.

  7. Dido Says:

    Yes, sounds good to me. My water/sewer bill is about $90/quarter.

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