Something I'm finding it difficult to get used to is water bills.
The house we've rented has a reasonably big garden. Which is mostly grass. It has sprinklers. We recently got a water bill for the past two months (of summer) for $300. Aiee!
It looks like it's about $2.50 for a ccf of water ... that's a hundred cubic feet. Or 2.8 cubic meters (sic).
I have a notion that farmers and other big users of water pay about a pound for each cubic meter of water. (Ah, here's the NI Water large user tariff.) So here in California we pay about a dollar for each cubic meter. Which seems slightly more reasonable. Large users here maybe pay more. Plus, there is a standing charge too. My goal is for the standing charge to dwarf the usage charges!
Anyway, it turns out that our sprinklers were happily dumping the guts of 200 cubic feet onto our lawns and trees every night during the summer. That's $5 every night!!!
I've now learned how to tone the sprinklers down a bit! The next water bill should be much less of a shock!
Water rates - if they ever introduce them in NI - won't bother me so much if/when we move back!
PS. San Jose water are the least pleasant utility to deal with. PG&E are ok, and the garbage company is great. I *still* have to physically visit the water company to give them a deposit (!!!!) to get the water bill transferred to my name. Sheesh.