Why is my bill so high?
An Accurate History
To get the most accurate picture of your energy usage, look at the last 13 months. Comparing the current month, or month of particular concern, with the same month in years past will help to see the bigger energy picture. When comparing focus on kilowatt hours (kWh) with is listed on each bill and represented on the bill’s usage graph. This measurement will not change, whereas the dollar amount can reflect rate changes and bill credits and charges. Your usage can also fluctuate based on weather trends (see Weather & You Bill). You can map accurate consumption by logging into your SmartHub account center.
True Electric Bill
Our members have AMI meters, which give us daily and hourly usage data. This means that it is a rare occasion that we estimate a bill. Other things that can affect your bill are non-basic charges, late fees, and past due balances. It may be necessary to take a closer look at these items on your bill to understand the total amount due to the cooperative.
In an ideal world, your bill would be for 30 days each and every month. Days of use can be affected by a number of things, including days in the month, holidays, and time needed for statement preparation. It is possible that the usage period on your bill will be slightly more or less than 30 days. During the heating and cooling seasons, this could reflect noticeably on your bill.
Often our members can determine their base load, or the minimum energy needed in a home, by selecting a spring or fall month when no heating or cooling takes place. For most homes on our system, that is May and September. That is the amount of energy needed to operate appliances, lighting, and water heating for the home. Comparing that to winter and summer months can help to tell a story about the cost of heating and cooling, which is often the cause for concern. If these amounts fluctuate greatly due to electric heat and cooling costs, you may want to consider budget billing.
It is nearly impossible to compare your bill with that of a neighbor. Heating and cooling systems, insulation, appliances, and so many other aspects of your home need to be taken into account. You may consider a DIY energy audit to make an assessment of your home. Determining the size of your household, recent additions of thing like pools, hobbies that use power tools and appliances, recent guests, and changes to you lifestyle are all factors that can affect your energy consumption.
When your family is away for a period of time, your home is very likely still using energy. Your heating and cooling systems are likely still running at minimum capacities, your water heater and well pump will still occasionally run, and appliances, like the refrigerator, still need electricity. If you expected your usage to be lower during a period when you were away, you can check SmartHub to evaluate your hourly usage for some insight.
Still not sure why your bill was high?
If you have reviewed the above information and still feel that you may have a deeper problem, please call our office at 800-521-0570. We can discuss your usage and concerns. If we cannot come to a conclusion, an energy audit may be warranted to determine the next steps.