When I use my Bi-pap with oxygen every night my electric bill is so high I can't afford to pay for it. If I don't use the oxygen my blood level falls to a low level. I contacted the electric company and they said I bring in just a little too much money monthly to qualify for a discount. I don't know what to do right now.
Is anyone else in this situation?
Does anyone have any creative ideas for me?
How do people afford the monthly cost of the oxygen?
It might help to let us know your location. I don't use oxygen so don't have any personal knowledge.
I know some have talked about different programs, etc. but it depends upon your region. I know where I live our electric company only offers help to those that are unable to leave their homes as far as power outages, etc. If you are mobile then you don't qualify for priority when restoring power. Other electric companies are far more lenient and some even offer discounts for medical devices, which cpap qualifies.
I know you have said you don't qualify for assistance but there maybe someone that can offer suggestions to help you out.
keep on asking until you find the right people
it may be a government department that you need to approach
with your script in hand
maybe you need a script for the electrical company just in case they will not accept your word
Are you using a concentrator? What flow of oxygen do you need? Maybe a liquid oxygen set up will be better. How long do you you sleep at night? You might benefit from tanks instead of a concentrator.
Copy of my notes on a another thread:
"...3. Regarding the oxygen concentrator: I just got an exchange of my unit from my DME to a new unit that has a 25% lower energy consumption as well as being a little quieter. The original unit was rated at 390 watts at 3 lpm usasge compared to 280 watts for the new unit. The DME tech originally mentioned that some clients had stated their using a concentrator made an increase to their electric bill of about $20 per month, so any savings here is appreciated. I am also wondering if using a lower lpm setting, say 2 or 1 would have a significant effect on energy consumption by the concentrator. Of course changing this setting would have to be with consultation with my doctor."
Also: "RT...did get me the improved oxygen concentrator they just got in, right away. BTW - this is an Invacare IRC5P and I think it may be a new model."
Also: "I would still like to know what the criteria is for determining the O2 level for Rx, at least as it relates to the apnea & CPAP therapy if anyone can point me in the direction of such an explanation I could read."
Sorry to hear you're having this type of problem. I imagine you're not alone, but most people in this situation would probably not be looking for answers on the internet, so good for you.
I think you should talk first with your RT to see if they have any oxygen concentrators that use less energy that they could trade for you. Are you renting your unit or own it? Does your insurance cover the rental fee? Also talk to your doctor about your need for the oxygen and whether a lower level of oxygen might work for you. I say this because I think that the lower the level, the lower the power consumption by the concentrator, but check that with the RT as well. It could be a good option to use liquid oxygen tanks instead, as mentioned by Linda B. , if your insurance will cover that, since that uses no electricity at all.
It would be helpful if you could calculate just how much energy and cost is added to your monthly bill for this, so as to determine how much of a difference in energy use you need to balance your budget. You might want to talk to your energy supplier again, maybe talk to a manager, stressing the medical necessity and explain the energy cost of this particular appliance. Also maybe check with state social services or not-for-profit social service agencies that might have some way to support. I can only imagine that it could be difficult with California under severe budget crisis right now to get help from them, but it doesn't mean it is impossible. I know that some HUD subsidized housing apartments include all energy costs in the rent, and charge your rent based on your income, so maybe long term, something like that might be practical, too.
Best of luck to you for finding the solution best for you.
Some power companies give discounts for off peak hours. Night time should qualify. Maybe your power company has such a program. Barring that, an extention cord to a neighbors outside outlet buried in the ground in PVC pipe might not be noticed . Hope something comes along that works for you. The big H tanks may be an affordable alternative. Also if it takes you awhile to go to sleep you could use a timer and set it nightly to give you that extra 15 or 20 minutes with the concentrator off.