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Posted: 2/24/2007 11:25:14 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/25/2007 12:39:46 PM EST by macman37]
I got an electrical bill for my unsold (EMPTY) house that was $129 for last month, compared to the previous several bills, which were all under $10.

The meter appears to be working right, but I just don't know how that much power could have been drawn in that amount of time. All appliances seem to be running right, and I have an electric thermostat that is set at 55 degrees to keep the bills low ... My only thought is that perhaps one of my ex-neighbors is running an electrical cord from one of my outside power outlets to their garage for heat or something...

Thanks in advance. The bill for the old empty house is more than my new, almost twice as big house WE'RE LIVING IN!

UPDATE: I went back there today and turned the circuit breakers leading outside off. It means that the garage door won't work unless they turn the breaker back on but that's a small price to pay.
Link Posted: 2/24/2007 11:26:32 AM EST
Filp the breakers for the outside outlets.
Link Posted: 2/24/2007 11:33:58 AM EST
Wire it up for 220...
Link Posted: 2/24/2007 11:35:11 AM EST
Rewire the outlet for 220V.

Link Posted: 2/24/2007 11:38:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By NAM:
Rewire the outlet for 220V.



As soul-satisfying as that would be... I need a different option.

And the house is for sale right now, so we need those breakers on (but good idea, I had thought of that one too - great minds think alike) doggone it!
Link Posted: 2/24/2007 11:44:24 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/24/2007 11:48:49 AM EST by Yellav]
Trace out the circuit and disconnect the receptacle from the inside of the house.

If you don't feel like doing that, pull out the receptacle, loosen the connector holding the wires down, pull the wires as hard as you can, then clip them off as close to the back of the box as possible. Let the wires fall out of the box into the wall, then put the receptacle back in the box for looks.

Wiring it for 240V would be illegal, it would not pass inspection, and would hurt your possibilities of selling the house.
That also sounds a lot like when people were having their lunches taken out of the company fridge at work. They put bad stuff in their lunches, but when the thief was caught after he got sick, the person who poisoned them got in trouble. If something blows up and it's found that you did it purposely, you might be in for trouble. Nevermind the fact that the neighbor's innocent child might be around when it blows.

Just food for thought.
Link Posted: 2/24/2007 11:45:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By NAM:
Rewire the outlet for 220V.



As soul-satisfying as that would be... I need a different option.

And the house is for sale right now, so we need those breakers on (but good idea, I had thought of that one too - great minds think alike) doggone it!
Just leave a note for the realtor that the breakers for the outside lights are off. No big deal.
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 12:37:38 PM EST
UPDATE see first post
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 1:12:18 PM EST
They have no need to use the garage door until an inspection.

Good fix.
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 1:32:21 PM EST
It's possible that your meter was "estimated" the last month and usage was guesstimated on what you used last year and this years weather conditions.

What kind of electrical appliances are being used at this time? I'd assume a furnace, and maybe a few lights? Is there a refrigerator running? Water pump?

Your bill seems a bit high if it's empty, were there tracks in the snow or any evidence of someone plugging a cord in? Does the house next door have a "red tag" on the elec meter signifying it's been turned off for non pay? Is the lockwing under the gas meter turned off and bulleted next door[pinned]?

Could some appliance like a refrig been left open?

It's been cold, you said you had a elec thermostat, does this mean you have Nat gas or elec heat? The furnace should only use $10 or so of electricity a month if it's run quite frequently, much less if it's only kicking on occasionally, it could draw a lot more if there is a problem with the bearings [bushings] in the blower wheel if its a belt drive, the starting circuit could be kicking on and off to keep RPMs up to speed.

Check your read tho, read RIGHT to LEFT, put down the numbers the same way, if the dial is on the 9 and the next one to the left is on, say, the one, the correct read for that number would still be zero, if nothing else call the utility company and ask for a re read as you believe it's been read wrong. Check for an "EST" by the read on The bill first, an "ACT" will be there is a reader read it.

Is it DTE or Consumers?
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 1:37:30 PM EST
As for the original question. The weather resistant outdoor outlets with covers often have holes where you could put a padlock on.

Some of the covers are aluminum, that would be stronger.
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 2:15:39 PM EST
I wish my electric bill was $129.

$960 last month for gas and electric.
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 2:29:47 PM EST
+1 on what LordGreyBoots said. Check out Intermatic brand - find it at your local electrical supply house.
Link Posted: 2/25/2007 2:41:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By fxntime:
It's possible that your meter was "estimated" the last month and usage was guesstimated on what you used last year and this years weather conditions.


I checked the bills and the last 4 bills were "Actual" reads.


What kind of electrical appliances are being used at this time? I'd assume a furnace, and maybe a few lights? Is there a refrigerator running? Water pump?


Refrigerator, furnace (held at 55 degrees) and occasional lights (when we go to check on the house or if someone comes to look at it). That's it! The last 2 bills were under $10 - and then we get this doozy. Makes no sense. I did re-read the meter and it seems like it was "accurate" (the numbers were plausible) but we literally don't live in that house anymore. One thing that popped into my head was that maybe someone ran a high-draw electrical device off the house for a while - like a space heater or a welder or something - I dunno.


Your bill seems a bit high if it's empty, were there tracks in the snow or any evidence of someone plugging a cord in? Does the house next door have a "red tag" on the elec meter signifying it's been turned off for non pay? Is the lockwing under the gas meter turned off and bulleted next door[pinned]?


I did check for tracks in the snow. I went to the house last week and there were some footprints I saw by the back of the house but it's conjecture to the company. I would really rather not get stuck with this bill. We're going to talk to DTE tomorrow and see what the options are.


Could some appliance like a refrig been left open?


Nope, everything seemed fine when I was there yesterday as well as when I went back today.


It's been cold, you said you had a elec thermostat, does this mean you have Nat gas or elec heat? The furnace should only use $10 or so of electricity a month if it's run quite frequently, much less if it's only kicking on occasionally, it could draw a lot more if there is a problem with the bearings [bushings] in the blower wheel if its a belt drive, the starting circuit could be kicking on and off to keep RPMs up to speed.


We have gas heat and I had installed a programmable electronic thermostat a few years ago so we could try to keep the house comfortable while not spending too much on heating the house while we were at work. Now it is set at 55 degrees while the house is for sale... Even with how cold it got here last month, there is simply no way I could have incurred that kind of bill... The bill for my NEW house, which is nearly twice the square footage of the old one, wasn't that high!


Check your read tho, read RIGHT to LEFT, put down the numbers the same way, if the dial is on the 9 and the next one to the left is on, say, the one, the correct read for that number would still be zero, if nothing else call the utility company and ask for a re read as you believe it's been read wrong. Check for an "EST" by the read on The bill first, an "ACT" will be there is a reader read it.


I read it and while I read it left to right, I marked the numbers down the same way... they said they had an actual reader out there. I thought that was who the footprints in the snow were, but we realized they sent the reader out AFTER I saw the prints.


Is it DTE or Consumers?


DTE. Hopefully they are decent about helping us get to the bottom of this.

Thanks for taking the time for that lengthy response!
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