I recently found out that my sister has outrageous electric bills. Her bill is over $800 per month in a small house with a relatively new gas furnace in Ohio. However, she has COPD and requires an oxygen concentrator 24 hours, so this is probably driving the bill. She is on Medicaid, so there is no way she can afford these bills. How do you recommend we get help for these bills? The electric company referred us to a community aid organization, but I doubt they can help her at $800/month. Has someone else dealt with this situation? Can the doctor prescribe oxygen cannisters and avoid the cost to run the concentrator?
The concentrator is not the reason for $800 a month electric bills. You need to find out how they are $800 a month and address that.
my local library allows you to borrow a device that will allow you to track electrical usage per plug.
Look up LIHEAP programs in your area, start with the utility they can usually guide you
I’d look at the bill and make sure it’s right. Check the meter and make sure the meter number matches and that the reading matches. Also make sure she isn’t on some weird eco plan where you pay extra to “use solar energy” or for electric cars where your daytime rate is high and your nighttime rate is low.
Is there exterior lighting? Is it on 24×7? Is it dusk to dawn? If so, if it isn’t LED, you need to switch them to LED and reduce when they are on.
Is there a well? Is the pump running 24×7? I’d look around outside to see if a neighbor is pulling power for a grow house or crypto mining or other high power use.
Assuming the meter is correct and there isn’t anything obvious, I’d call an electrician. They can measure electric usage at each circuit breaker.
There’s also things like sense that use artificial intelligence at your panel to figure out what electrical use is abnormal.
For comparison, I live in a smallish house in Georgia with a gas furnace and my winter power bill is under $100/month.
First step she needs to sign up for a free energy assessment from her power company. They go room to room looking at things.
They can also provide information for contacting your areas The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Or go [here](https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/low-income-home-energy-assistance-program-liheap) and start, or call 1-866-674-6327.
> However, she has COPD and requires an oxygen concentrator 24 hours, **so this is probably driving the bill**.
– Before seeking assistance to pay the bill, you guys must first eliminate the guesswork. Know what really is driving the bill, and address that. Bad insulation, single pane windows, old appliances, old lighting, drafty doors and windows, are just a few examples on where to look.
What are the bigger electric appliances at her place? Stove/oven combo, clothes dryer, water heater? Buy a Kill-A-Watt meter online, plug it on each appliance, know where is the culprit, and fix that.
Just imagine committing to pay a huge water bill without first checking for massive water leaks. She must have a massive electricity leak somewhere.
Last time I saw an electric bill that size.was for a marijuana grow operation.
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