Do You Like Your Energy Utility Companies?   1 comment

When I was renting my house, I liked my electric utility, SMUD. The rates seemed fine, especially compared to PG&E rates that would occassionally get published in the newspaper in a summer-time story about someone getting a $2,000 electric bill. I was very happy that SMUD has 50% and 100% Greenergy options (renewable energy). It should be obvious that we’re enrolled in the 100% Greenergy program. I knew that they ranked well in customer satisfaction surveys (according to the website: 1st in California and 2nd in the nation for 2010). And I hadn’t had any negative experiences myself, nor heard of any from friends or coworkers.

Then we became homeowners. Now I have to say that I love my electric utility. And that started right away. This house actually didn’t have an electric meter installed before we bought it due to a lien on the previous owner or something like that. But in order to close on the house with an FHA loan, the electric connection had to be restored. How/why none of the real estate agents, appraiser, or loan officer didn’t catch that slight detail before the week we were going to close, I don’t know. To make a long story short our agent somehow managed to get a building inspector out to the house the following morning (usually takes 1-2 days), and then a SMUD installer out that afternoon (usually takes 7-14 days). I don’t know how she did it, or why SMUD was actually willing to send an installer on such short notice, but I am very grateful. (The rush was an attempt to meet the June 30 deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit.)

After we bought the house we had to buy appliances. Since we weren’t replacing anything we couldn’t take advantage of any of the Cash-for-Appliances programs; but SMUD had a separate rebate for an energy efficient washing machine. And when our water agency ran out of funding for their half of the joint rebate program for the washing machine, SMUD sent us the application for an alternative rebate program. Then we planted two free shade trees in our front yards, with possible plans to plant a third this year. Then I got this home energy audit, which is a $500 home energy audit that cost me $99 because SMUD reimburses the contractor for the remainder. I know there are other rebates, some of which we might be able to take advantage of like the Cool Roof rebate (since we are looking at having to reroof anyway), or whole house fan rebate. And if I ever decide to buy carbon offsets, I can look into their carbon offset program.

One of my only disappointments has been the slow roll-out of new smart meters. I probably shouldn’t complain since PG&E’s earlier roll-out was a disaster with lots of defective meters. But now we have a smart meter, and hopefully we’ll be able to get detailed/down to the hour energy usage data through our online account soon.

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Posted July 21, 2011 by mayakey in energy use, environment, home, money

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One response to “Do You Like Your Energy Utility Companies?

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  1. Valuable information. Lucky me I found your website by chance, and I’m shocked why this coincidence did not took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

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