As I have mentioned here before, I am moving into a new home on Sunday, courtesy of my father-in-law, who purchased it for his retirement, but isn't retiring for about four years. Rent-free housing!

The home is heated by natural gas, just like the rental house I currently have. I had an "average monthly billing" plan with the gas utility. What this means is that instead of getting hammered with a large gas bill during the cold weather months, the annual average of gas usage is averaged out and each month's bill is a lower, more manageable amount. Instead of paying $30 per month for gas in the summer, and $250 a month for gas in the winter, I have been paying about $60 per month for natural gas.

My plan was to continue average monthly billing once I moved into the new home, but it is not to be. The utility informed me that the plan will come to an end once I move, because it is a different home and the AMB plan is figured out according to each customer's usage, not the historical usage of the home itself. I received my first gas bill for the new home this week. I had the heat set at 60 degrees to keep the empty home's pipes from freezing. Two week's worth of gas usage was $105. In the words of the great American philosopher, Homer J. Simpson: "D'Oh!"

Over the course of a year, my gas usage may be no more than I'm paying now, but my MONTHLY bill during certain months will certainly be higher, which actually throws off my monthly spending plan (remember, I don't like the word "budget"). It is only after I live in this home for a year that I can participate in average monthly billing once again.

Fortunately, we have had a mild winter so far, but you can bet I'll be looking for other ways to hold the line on utility costs.


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