When June arrived in the Phoenix area, it was as if someone flipped a switch to turn the weather ridiculously hot. The high temperatures in Arizona bring in the dreaded season of high electricity bills.
SRP Owns Phoenix
The primary supplier of electricity to the Phoenix area is SRP (Salt River Project). You might think SRP was an acronym for Serial Robbery Professionals once you start receiving the summertime bills from them! SRP makes Phoenix livable. Without their services, it would be as barren as the Sahara Desert…and they know it!
To help keep track of my energy usage, I subscribed to SRP’s email notification service that gives you the estimated balance of your electricity bill for that month. The email starts off like this:
You have asked to be informed whenever your expected monthly bill exceeds $300. This is a courtesy notification to inform you that based on your usage through (DATE) for your SRP electric bill is estimated to be approximately (DOLLAR AMOUNT).
I have two air conditioning units in my home, and I keep them set at 80 degrees. You might think 80 is a bit warm, and it is. Every degree on the thermostat affects how long your AC runs and how much money you end up spending.
So, with both of my AC units set at 80, let’s see how my wallet fared as the heat intensified. Here are my estimated bills from SRP and the date I received their email:
June 3: $380.00 (Oh goodie, it went down!)
June 5: $390.00 (Whoah, it just jumped $10!)
June 6: $405.00 (What happened??)
June 7: $420.00 (Ugh!)
June 9: $435.00 (How did it jump $30 in three days??)
June 10: $430.00 (Oh goodie, it went down $5)
June 11: $435.00 (I see SRP wanted their $5 back)
June 12: $440.00 (…and they wanted another $5)
June 14: $445.00
June 18: $445.00 (holding steady…)
And the final June bill….$437.65! Wow, I can think of all the other things I could have bought with that money! The sad part is, summer is only beginning. We still have July, August, September and some of October to get out of the 100 degree temperatures.
I’ve done everything I can to lower my electric bill, but it helped very little. I’ve blown extra insulation in the attic, installed blackout curtains and put up window sun shades. Still, I’m stuck with a bill larger than my car payment.
The “Hot Room”
Every house in Arizona has at least one hot room, for whatever reason. It could be due to poor airflow, poor insulation, sun exposure or any combination of these factors. It seems no matter what you do, that hot room never cools down! The “hot room” is always miserable, especially if you close the door.
East / West Facing Homes = Higher $$ Electric Bills
A huge consideration when buying a house in Arizona is which direction the structure faces. If the house faces east or west, it will receive much more intense sunshine and get really hot. You want a north or south facing house in Arizona. That should be one of the higher priorities when you look for houses in the Phoenix area.
During the summertime in Arizona, you can sometimes turn off your hot water heater. In my house, the cold tap gives uncomfortably hot water. There are no cold showers for me in the summer.
If you’ve been fooled to move to Arizona, another thing to keep in mind when buying a house is the plumbing. Find out if your water lines run from the foundation, or through the attic and walls.
The geniuses who built my house ran the water lines through the attic. The attic is the hottest part of the house and creates its own water heater.
The Phoenix area has no real trees and foliage to insulate your house from the sun. When I say “real trees”, I’m talking about the ones that touch the sky and huge limbs and leaves (or pine cones). The trees in the Phoenix area are more characteristic of weeds than what trees really are. What would plant life in Arizona be without prickles or thorns?
Trees provide natural insulation from the sun. In wooded areas of the country, trees protect the house from the sun and keeps it cool. With large, natural trees it doesn’t matter which direction your house faces!
I know, I know…those who read this wonder why we complain and don’t do anything consider all this whining. Perhaps it is, but I write these articles to reveal the truth about life in Arizona. I’m not here to make you HATE Arizona, move away from Arizona or not move to Arizona. Think of NoArizona as a bulletin board. It’s what’s going on. It’s life in the desert. And when it hits 119 degrees tomorrow, life in the desert is about to get real.
Read more about Arizona Weather!