Fields: My Electric Bill Was $21.66 Last Month; What Was Yours?





I have lived in the same house in 1989. It was built in 1978.

I do not live like some tree hugger. My house is 3000 square feet under air.

I have two refrigerators, a wine chiller, three TV’s, a pool pump, a sprinkler well pump, numerous computers, et. al.

I have a duel AC system because my son thinks the temperature should be set at what is best described as “meatlocker”.

When compared to last month, my electric bill skyrocketed 12% in one month!

It zoomed from $19.06 to $21.66!

When I bought this house, the electric bill for April was between 2500 and 3000 kilowatts. This year it was 149 kilowatts.

If you doubt me, look below and see my actual bill.

If you think this is not a fair description of my house, Buddy, who has been to my house dozens of times, will expose me as a liar. I’m not worried.

I bring this up as proof that FPL’s claim that it needs to build 100-foot high transmission towers along U.S. 1 to accommodate expanding the Turkey Point nuclear plant is 1000 megawatts of bullshit.

I bring this up as proof that that Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet’s unanimous approval of this boondoggle is a tribute to FPL’s campaign contributions It’s a tribute to the conservative/libertarian notion that each and every one of us has a God-given right, if not obligation, to waste resources and pollute our air and water.

It’s Ronald Reagan proudly and loudly removing the solar panels from the White House. It’s troglodytes on “Fox And Friends” saluting fossil fuels on Earth Day.

We not only don’t need to expand FPL capacity, we can reduce it and save money and the environment. At the same time, we can create thousands of good paying jobs.

I could detail how I did it but that would take more than a 700 word blog entry. Here is what I can tell you:

When I bought the house I was consuming about 3500 kilowatts in the summer and 2500 in the winter. I asked FPL to come out and do and energy analysis.

Based on that analysis, I replaced the leaking AC ducts, insulated the hell out the place, and replaced incandescent bulbs. When the AC went, I installed new units with high efficiency ratings. With this and more, I cut down the energy use by 1000 kilowatts a month.

With the help of Paul Farren from The Energy Store (954-920-9009) in Hollywood, I put in a solar hot water heater and 34 solar panels on my roof.

I now create 10 kilowatts of electricity. Under the “Net Metering” program, there are days when I sell back excess electricity to FPL.

If you are interested in seeing my setup, send an e-mail to I will give you a tour and all the details you want.

Now, I am not saying that everyone can or should do everything I did. What I am saying is that off the shelf technology is out there to make a meaningful difference in your energy bill and our need to expand FPL.


Sam's FPL Bill

19 Responses to “Fields: My Electric Bill Was $21.66 Last Month; What Was Yours?”

  1. Interesting says:

    What was the cost of the changes you made to your home in relation to the reduction of the FPL bill?

    No doubt over the long haul if you stay in the house it will easily pay for itself but how long did it take to get to a break even point?


  2. Let Them Eat Electricity says:

    Only well-to-do can do this. My assumption is that you have laid out tens of thousands of dollars, which most can’t afford. This also only works if you stay in your house for years, something that millions don’t do.

  3. Roger That says:

    FPL has a relatively high fixed cost. If a large number did what Sam did, the price would go up for the rest, who either can’t afford going to effort or don’t want to. The best solution is for FPL to generate its electricity through solar and wind, both abundant in South Florida.

  4. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Sam has a very good point. If we are going to need additional electrical requirements. We should be looking at different options. Obvious one way is to have FPL create more electricity, the other method is encouraging home owners to replace old appliances. The other method is to facilitate home owners to add solar panels on the roof. All options should be looked at.

    New homes and communities could reduce electrical wiring costs from the within their community by focusing on generating more electricity themselves. There is more potential benefits for new homes going towards self sufficiency, than older homes which already paid for the electrical infrastructure in their neighborhoods. Some new communities could be completely off grid. The savings from not having to pay FPL for the initial hook up could be invested in solar cells with battery backups.

  5. Layne Walls says:

    I’m afraid to go the solar route — even though I really want to because I’m afraid my wind insurance will go through the roof or I will get cancelled if I attach anything to the roof. We do gas hot water — new impact windows — 2000 sq feet — $64 last month but it will go higher this summer it always does

  6. Duke says:

    Mr. Fields:
    As usual, you’ve nailed it.


  7. Plain Language says:

    #1 asks the question I want to know.

  8. Plain Language says:

    My sad experience has been that in order to go green you first have to be willing to go into the red.

  9. Sam The Sham says:

    It will pay off in the long run so if Sam Fields has done it, I salute him. Just realize that in order to realize these savings you must be willing to spend $30K-$40K for improvements. If you replace your equipment and appliances as they need replacing, not all at once, the price is a little better. Solar panels, new AC, windows & doors, insulating with reflective solar shield, hot water heater..that is a lot of money to do all at once. Same argument with LED lights, they cost pennies to operate but $7-$15 to buy.

  10. Tesla says:

    All those electric cars are coming. They need more regular electric energy now.

  11. Broward Dem says:

    Miami-Dade Democratic Party got it right. Where were the Broward Dems? If that plant blows up, we will be evacuated too forever.

  12. Sam Fields says:

    Not surprisingly, everyone wants to know what it cost, how did I pay for it and when does it become profitable?

    Let me start out by saying that those who know me will agree that while I like to do good, I have to do well. I did well.

    Let me also add that I paid cash for everything. But I am mindful that not too many can afford that, which is why I HAVE A PLAN TO MAKE THIS AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE WITH LITTLE OR NO UP FRONT MONEY.

    [See below]

    In many cases the cost of increasing efficiency was minimal and was just added into replacing things that needed to be replaced.

    When each of the AC unit died, rather than replace them with cheaper units, I upgraded to high efficiency units (SEER 18.5). After tax breaks for using high efficiency it was probably only an extra $500. It paid for itself within a year.

    The new insulated AC ducts cost $2800. I have no way of measuring the savings, but after 12 years I am sure that I have gotten that back.

    When incandescent bulbs went I replaced them with florescent bulbs. As the price continues to drop I am replacing them with LED. Not only do the last longer and use less electricity but they create little heat which keeps down the AC bill. ($500)

    My attic floor is lined with insulation. When I had to rebuild a flat roof, I not only paid extra to insulate those rafters, I also paid a couple of workers to come in over the weekend and put insulation in the attic rafters. I was amazed how the temperature dropped at least 30 degrees. ($1000)

    The back of my house was wooden French doors. Between warping and termites they needed to go. For an extra $50 a door I bought double pain glass with an air space which substantially increased the R-value ($600)

    Got a black asphalt driveway? In the summer you cannot walk on it. It is baking your house. If you cannot afford to replace it with a light colored stone, paint it with a white paint made for asphalt. It will reduce the temperature by at least 50 degrees!

    Need to have your house painted or roof replaced? Make it white, white, white. Keep the roof clean.

    When my pool pump went I replaced it with a new high efficiency one. An old fashion pool pump (they are no longer made) cost close to $2 a day to run for 8 hours! The new one is 50 cents.

    It was these things that cut my bill by a 1000 kw. a month. That was a third of the bill.

    The solar hot water cost $4000 gross. I got a $500 check from the state and a 30% tax credit for the Feds. Net cost $2450.Electric hot water is at least $60 a month. That means it paid for itself in less than 3 ½ years.

    The solar voltaic system ain’t cheap. It consists of 34 panels on the roof and two 5000 watt inverters to convert the solar electricity from D.C. to A.C. (Which does not necessarily mean that I am AC/DC). The gross cost was $40,000 plus $2000 for permitting in Plantation [Special note to the Plantation Mayor and City Counsel. You might want to encourage GREEN by cutting back on the permit fees for these types of projects] At the time FPL was giving a $2 per watt subsidy ($20,000) and the balance was subject to a 30% tax credit. That meant the net cost was $15,400. It should pay for itself in 6 or seven years.
    If I was only able to get the 30% tax credit on the original $42,000 then net cost was $29, 000. That will take 15 years to recover the balance.

    The installation is solid and rated to above Level 4 hurricane.

    My insurance coverage treats it like any other part of the house.

    I am sure that it has added substantial value to the house since any subsequent buyer would be thrilled to have a $20 electric bill.

    Negative: When the day comes that I have to replace my flat roof I will have to pay to remove the panels and reinstall them.


    Need the cash to pay for this stuff? The State or the Feds should issue bonds administered through FPL, etc. to fund the purchase at 1-3% interest rate. Repayment would come through monthly electric bills and stay with the bill even if someone else buys the house.

    Depending on the amortization, you could arrange the reduction in the electric bill to be greater than the loan repayment.

    It’s a win-win.


    A Level 4 Hurricane has winds up to 156 mph. Objects blown into the panels could smash them, regardless of how they are rated. The solar is only as good as the roof that is holding it and who knows if that will survive such a hurricane.

    That’s why we have insurance.

  13. Not If, It's When says:

    I’m concerned about roof-mounted solar panels & the like in the next strong hurricane, especially equipment that’s been up for years & might not be secure anymore. I saw Wilma pick up a Sunfish sailboat off the ground; it flipped & blew up to our neighbor’s sliding glass window & stopped just short. Not a lot you can do but just hope you’re lucky.

  14. Becky Blackwood says:

    In the past year when FPL was asking and received a $7/mo (which later was approved by the Public Service Commission, they held their public meetings in South Florida cities. I did some research and found out the following:

    1. FPL’s profit margin was 11% – not bad for a monopoly.
    2. The average salary of their employees is $75,000 per year.
    3. They were already receiving additional public money hidden within your bill which has not been identified to the public for future power plants (Somewhere around $4 per month) and there has been no commencement of those power plants.
    4. Since that time, 1,000 meter readers have been terminated (according to the Miami Herald)
    5. Their solar energy farm in Okeechobee was not up and running.
    6. It was recently reported the largest contributor to the legislators in Tallahassee is FPL.

    This is what happens when a monopoly uses the money it overcharges the public to pay for a commission that insures they continue doing so.

    As to solar energy panels; they can be mounted on a concrete slab in the back yard facing south, not necessarily attached to the roof. I finally changed my 1960’s windows to missile impact windows with energy efficiency glass and have reduced my electric costs by $100 a month. You are right about the costs. Have to live here at least 10 more years to pay for them.

  15. Sam Fields says:


    And if that Level 4 damages Turkey Point’s reactors roofs won’t matter much.


    Turkey Point was built to survive a hurricane exceeding Level 5. (And the Titanic was built to be unsinkable!)

    I covered Hurricane Andrew and I know that massively destructive storm, which rolled right over the nuclear plant, destroyed some During the storm, failed nonsafety-grade equipment damaged certain “important equipment. For example, the high water tank collapsed onto
    the fire water system, rendering the fire protection system inoperable.
    In addition, the storm threatened safety-related equipment (e.g.,
    potential collapse of the damaged Unit 1 chimney onto the diesel
    generator building),” according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s report.

    But the reactors were safe.

    The idea of building Turkey Point that close to the coast was insane. It was done long ago, so we are stuck with it. The plant is needed. There is no way your ideas are going to be implemented on the scale you indicate any time soon because they are too expensive for the average person. A lot of people are more transient than you, Sam. They don’t want to invest that kind of money and that kind of time in a house they will be selling.

    Level 4 or 5 storm would have such damaging effects on South Florida that your little solar panel would be the least of the problem.

  16. SAM FIELDS says:

    Buddy, If you want to raise the safety issue don’t forget that FPL and the rest of the nuke biz could not exist except that they bought off Congress to set a low liability limit for law suits with Tommy Taxpayer picking up everything else.

    The estimate is that it costs us a million per year per reactor.

  17. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Another huge problem for green roof installations is homeowner’s associations. HOAs can refuse to approve a white roof, a light color for the driveway, rooftop solar hot water, rooftop solar electricity, and pretty much anything else that isn’t totally hidden inside your home.

    Florida needs new laws to remove the ability of homeowner’s associations to block these green improvements and return that power to the homeowner.

  18. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Since the two new nuclear reactors being built at Turkey Point will cost 7 to 10 billion dollars, if Sam’s “1 million per reactor per year” figure is correct then that amount can only be considered negligible in context.

  19. s only says:

    Thanks Sam the Man…very interesting article…Federal and State incentives are what’s needed.

    Legislators—Why aren’t you passing laws in this direction?