This month was the best yet:
Not only do we owe nothing, we have a credit! Now that is cool. I will be calling them to suggest they lower their expectations of our usage.
I looked for a past bill to see the trend in our use. You'd think this would be available online, but if it is I could not find it. Here is July's usage chart:
We took out the dishwasher last November, and started hanging most of the laundry on the clothesline in April. Almost all light bulbs in the house are the new energy-efficient ones. We also started using a smaller coffeepot; we waste less coffee, have more fresh coffee and it doesn't run as long. The impact of these changes in our lifestyle is apparent in the estimates and actual use.
The other not-so-measurable impact of these changes is that we get outside a little more, get a little more exercise (bend and stretch!) and our sheets and towels smell heavenly. In the kitchen, we enjoy the companionship of washing and drying dishes with someone when company comes--which leads to some good conversations. Even when doing the dishes alone, there is something relaxing and reflective about standing at a sink full of suds and hot water and looking out the window into the woods. And now I don't worry about Larry putting my wooden spoons, cast iron and delicate glassware into the dishwasher to be ruined forever.
This has me wondering what other changes we could make that might lower our bill even more. We still have an electric range and electric hot water heater; both of those will leave when the gas line gets put in. What other changes can we make to drive this bill down further? That's my new challenge. Any suggestions? I'm not into buying more things to make a change--that seems counterproductive. But perhaps there are more things we can do?