It’s never fun to receive a bill. It’s even more depressing if that billing is higher than normal and you’re not sure why. If that has happened with your electric bill from us, there are some factors you can look at to figure out what is causing the higher billing ... and note that taking several of these steps can lead to greater year-round energy efficiency, as well as a greater understanding of ways you can control energy costs. Start by checking:
- Your history. First, verify that the bill actually is higher. Visit our website or ask someone in our office for help pulling up your bills for the past year. You might be surprised to see that your electricity use fluctuates depending on the season, and that your bill is generally higher in the summer.
- Your non-electrical activity. Does your high bill reflect a past-due amount or any one-time service fees, like deposits, disconnection fees or returned check fees?
- The weather. Fluctuations in outdoor temperatures can lead your family to turn the air conditioning up a little higher on especially hot days like we’ve had in the past month. Many people with air conditioning use more electricity during the hottest summer months than at other times of the year.
- How many days are in the billing cycle. Depending on the number of days in the month and whether the bill comes due on a weekend or holiday, it could cover a couple of extra days some months. That would make the bill slightly higher.
- What’s plugged in. If you thought your bill would be lower during a month when your family was away on vacation part of the time, you might be surprised to realize that your appliances still use substantial electricity when the house is empty. Your refrigerator, landscape irrigator and well pump, for instance, keep running while you’re gone unless you have unplugged them. In fact, any appliance that is plugged into the wall will use electricity while you’re on vacation, even though nobody is home to use them.
- The age and condition of your equipment. As appliances like refrigerators and water heaters age, they become more inefficient. If your air conditioning and heating system or another large appliance is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model.
- Your lifestyle. If your college-age child is home for the summer, chances are, your electric bill will be a bit higher than it was while he or she was away. If your grandkids are spending their vacation at your house, your bill could go up. If you’ve had house guests, you’ve used more electricity. And if you have added a major appliance, like a pool with a pump, a hot tub or even an oversized TV, that has affected your electric bill.
One thing you shouldn’t compare: Don’t check with the neighbors on their electric bills. No two families use electricity the same way, so if you believe your bill is too high because your neighbor’s is lower, you’re not making an even comparison.
The better comparison is between your use of electricity now compared with the same time last year. If you still think your bill is higher than it should be, contact us for help in figuring it out.