Causes of High Bills
If you've checked your bill items and they look normal, you need to consider changes in living habits that affect electricity consumption. Even small changes can add up.
Below are some some changes that can affect your bill.
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- Seasonal changes/weather
Use of certain appliances varies depending on the time of year. In general, spikes of long cold or hot spells typically increase energy use and bills. We recommend keeping your thermostat set to 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter.
More energy users:
- Spring – Irrigation increase for those who have outdoor ponds.
- Summer – More cooling from air conditioners, fans and evaporative coolers.
- Winter – Heat tape, snow-melting devices, pump house heaters, small baseboard heating units, hot tubs, heat lamps, more lighting, cooking and hot water use.
Enroll in our Equal Payment Plan to even out seasonal differences.
- Additions to the family
- New baby
- New roommate
- College student back from school
Visitors have a tendency to use more heat, increase hot water usage (more showers), and washers and dryers are used more frequently.
- Family illness
An illness in the family may change your energy bill, too. If someone stays home during the day when your house is usually unoccupied, the extra use of electricity for lights, television, showers and cooking will show up as a slight increase on your bill. Some illnesses require the use of medical equipment, which can also increase the amount of energy used.
- Changes or additions in electrical equipment
Have you added any new appliances? A computer or hot tub? Some appliances such as cell phone chargers, toasters and coffee makers use power even when they aren't in use. Unplug unneeded items or plug them into a power strip to turn off the power.
- Equipment malfunction
Malfunctioning equipment can use up more energy than neccessary. These can be signs that your equipment is not working properly and needs to be repaired.
- Have you noticed anything unusual with any of your electrical equipment?
- Is your heater or cooling equipment running longer than usual?
- Does your circuit breaker trip often?
- Does your hot water heater run out of hot water sooner than normal? These can be signs that your equipment is not working properly and needs to be repaired.
Holidays may prompt decorative lighting, guests, additional cooking, and more time spent at home, all of which may result in higher usage for home appliances.
Even when you are away from the home, there are appliances that will still use electricity unless turned off at the breaker. Consider the following questions:
- Was the electric hot water heater turned off at the breaker during your absence?
- Was the thermostat temperature on your heating unit decreased before you left?
- Were any space heaters left on to keep pipes from freezing or pets warm?
- Was the air conditioning left on?
- More days in billing cycle
It may be that your energy consumption isn't higher but that your bill covers a longer period of time. Compare the number of days included on your current bill with a previous bill. See more bill tips