Energy Bill Higher than Usual?

Higher energy bills can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. But there's often a good explanation. Here are some common causes to consider.

The weather

The biggest factor in your energy bill is heating or cooling. Unusually high or low temperatures always substantially increase energy use. Reduce the effects of extreme weather by:

  • Caulking around windows and doors.
  • Adding insulation.
  • Replacing leaky or inefficient windows.
  • Getting your furnace or air conditioner checked by a professional—and replaced if necessary.

More people

Entertaining weekend guests, staying home with a sick child, hosting family for the holidays—all of these situations can lead to increased energy bills. More people mean more energy for showers, laundry, cooking, lighting, and operating heating or air-conditioning systems.

And being away from home for a week or two may not reduce your energy bill as much as you might hope. That's because your heating or cooling system still must operate, your freezer still must defrost, and your water heater still may be running.

Appliances

Today's appliances are much more efficient so replacing an old appliance almost always results in less energy use. However, if your new appliance has more convenience features, options, or a larger capacity, it may use more energy. Of course, adding an appliance, no matter how efficient, always adds to energy costs.

Changes in fuel costs

Each month, we calculate the total cost of the fuel and purchased energy needed to give you dependable service. Next, we take that cost and compare it with our base cost of energy. Then, we use that information to determine our rate.

What does that mean for you?

  • If the calculated amount is lower than what's already included in the base cost of energy, you receive a credit. It will show up on your bill as the cost-of-energy adjustment.
  • If the amount is higher, you'll see a charge. 

Comparisons are not always accurate

Don't be surprised if your energy costs vary quite a bit from those of a friend or neighbor. Even if your homes are similar, it doesn't mean your energy use is too. The number of people in your home, the types of appliances, the efficiency of your heating system—all of these things make a big impact on your bills.

Energy habits

Even the smallest changes to your energy habits can lead to big cost savings. Try these simple steps:

  • Use only the lighting needed for a task. Turn off lights in rooms that aren't being used.
  • Turn off appliances, including computers, when not in use.
  • Don't overheat or overcool your home. And set back the thermostat at night or when you're away. Setting your thermostat 1 degree higher for cooling or 1 degree lower for heating will save you 3 percent for that 24-hour period. Maintain those settings and you'll save 3 percent all season.
  • Leave windows closed during cool summer nights. Cool night air is loaded with humidity. It costs less to have the air conditioner maintain your desired temperature than to have it remove that humidity the next day.
  • Take showers rather than baths.
  • Wash full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Analyze your home energy use.

Incorrect bills

We work hard to make sure your energy bill is accurate. If you think your bill is incorrect, we want to make things right—that's why we have a Customer Service Guarantee.

First, we'll correct your bill as quickly as possible. Next, we'll automatically credit your account up to $25. Please note that this credit does not apply to estimated or prorated bills, or to self-read meters.

Search