11 Years of Electricity Bills

Sometimes the companies you do business with surprise you. Today it was Maritime Electric. I had a meeting there today, part of my search for open data of Prince Edward Island energy generation and usage (more on that later), and when I got back to my office I went looking for something on the company’s website and stumbled across their customer portal. I’d seen it before, but found nothing there to entertain or delight me.

Today, though, I noticed the “Transaction History” column on the main page for our accounts, and by chance I clicked on the green dollar sign – I’d likely seen it there on earlier visits, but didn’t realize it led anywhere:

Maritime Electric Customer Portal

What I was shown when I clicked there was a list of the transactions on that account. Given what I’ve found on other similar web-based customer information sites, I expected the transactions to go back only a few months or, at most, a few years (my Credit Union, excellent in other ways, only lets me see back one year). I noticed, however, an option to see All transactions at the top of the report:

Maritime Electric Customer Portal

And to my surprise what I was given when I selected that option was, indeed all the transactions on our house account since the day we turned on service in July of 2000. Everything. From there it was an easy cut-and-paste from my web browser into a spreadsheet, a sort by line item type, selection of the “Bill” type, and insert a chart to see 11 years worth of monthly electricity bills graphed:

11 Years of Maritime Electric Bills

If you’re a Maritime Electric customer – and if you live on Prince Edward Island outside of Summerside, you are, unless you’re completely off the grid – you have access to the same data for your own accounts.

We all complain so much about how little data the companies in our life provide us with access to (okay, well at least I do) that it’s nice to find an surprising example like this.

Our most expensive month ever? A bill for $202.68 from February 2003. The month leading up to that bill was a dreadful month for ice and snow in Charlottetown, to the point where we had heating wires installed on our roof that we ran almost full time (regardless, there was so much damage to the house that we had to leave for more than a month while repairs were done, thankfully covered by our insurance).

The other thing I learned from the data: we’ve contributed more than $700 to the “Green Power Program” that Maritime Electric launched with the PEI Energy Corporation to fund the development of wind power.

Update: I’ve written up some PHP code, that you can grab here, to pull this transaction data from Maritime Electric and turn it into CSV files ready for analysis.


Justin MacLeod's picture
Justin MacLeod on May 10, 2011 - 00:17 Permalink

Cool. I’ve downloaded the code and used it to grab my own historical bill data. I added a nice “trailing 12” average of the last 12 bill amounts to show my average T12 trending up over time consistently. Now I see a decreasing T12 the past year as we’ve taken some concrete steps to reduce our bill.

Thanks for the tool!!