Why Is My Bill So High?
To figure out why your electric bill is "so high", the first thing you need to do is to figure out what's normal. It is best to look at your kilowatt hour (kWh) usage instead of the actual electric costs or comparing your bill to your neighbor’s bill. Electric cost fluctuates due to winter/summer rates, power cost adjustment and property tax adjustment. Your neighbor could have a wide variety of factors (ex. amount of insulation in their house, number of appliances, age of appliances, life style, etc.) that cause them to have different usage.
Instead, look at the “KWH Usage History” chart on your electric bill and compare your current usage with a year ago. Take in consideration that the current weather conditions may have been different a year ago. In the winter time, extreme cold will cause higher usage for space heaters, livestock heaters or vehicle block heaters. In the summer time, running air conditioners, dehumidifiers and watering gardens are the common reason for higher usage. Also take into consideration that if you are gone on vacation, there are certain appliances (ex. security lights, refrigerators, freezers, hot water heater, etc.) that continue to use electricity even though you are not there.
If you still find a dramatic change in your usage, then you need to start checking your electrical devices. They could be running constantly or turning on and off for very short periods of time which is called short cycling. Here are some common problems that can raise your usage:
- Well pump that runs continuously or that have pinhole leak in the pipe
- Electric water heaters that are leaking or have defective heating coil
- Air conditioners that are low on Freon coolant
- Faulty thermostats
If you feel you need help after checking all these possibilities, please give us a call. Keep in mind that it is rare for the meter to be at fault and when meters are at fault they usually run slower not faster.
Bluestem also offers assistance in residential energy audits to give you a realistic basis for decision making in any improvements or upgrades to make your home more energy efficient. These audits are performed by either a Bluestem representative or a recommended representative of another agency.
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