Why is my electric bill so high?
Before you freak out, take a deep breath. Checking your mail and getting an unexpected electric bill feels like a punch right to the gut. And that hurts! We get it. We’ve all been there. That’s why you’re here. We get asked this question a lot by fruastrated prospective customers who are livid and are looking to make a switch ASAP, “Why is my electric bill so @%$#$% high!”
In this article we explore some of the most popular reasons why your electricity bill is “so high” and what can be done to remedy the situation. We are in the same fight and want you to stop throwing precious money away at the electricity company and spend it wisely on yourself and your loved ones instead.
Understand Your Electric Bill
The first and best place we always recommend to customers to start is by examining and understanding their electricity bill. It sounds obvious but there are some important details on your bill that many overlook or simply don’t understand.
- Check to see if your contract has expired. (Pro-tip: if you’re still on contract, your contract expiration date will be explicitly stated on your bill. If your contract has expired, you will see words like “Flex”, “Variable Rate” or “Month to Month” stated somewhere on your bill. They all imply and mean the same thing.)
- Determine if you’re still on a fixed rate or if you’ve defaulted to a variable rate or month-to-month plan because you’re no longer on contract.
- If you have access to last year’s bills (assuming you lived in the same place 12 months ago), see if this month’s usage is roughly about the same as last year’s. Of course, that will take a little bit of memory to recall if you did anything different this year vs last year to help explain any major differences, but generally, it should be about the same. The price may be different, but here our focus is on usage.
- Compare this month’s bill to the last few months’ bills and see if the “Average Price You Paid for Electricity This Month”’ is the same or if it has changed. If it has changed or is different this month, then chances are your contract has expired and it is a good time to switch providers and start saving. Like asap!
Access Your Smart Meter Data to Track Energy Usage
The next place to check is your smart meter. No, we’re not talking about walking outside to check to see if your meter is spinning any faster or lower. Simply login to your smart meter and take a look at your usage history. You can reports for any period or time interval you wish to see.
If you’re the analytical type, you’re gonna like this tool. It gives you access to a ton of data you didn’t know you had! Just check out the sample graphs below. All of this data can be exported into Excel too if you wish to do a real deep dive.
For those who are intimated by numbers, just know that tools exist which allow you to see how much electricity you’ve been using. You can even drill down to the last 15 minutes if you wish. Or see how much electricity is used to get a sense of when activity is taking place at home.
Consider switching to PrePaid Electricity
If logging on to a website only to look at charts and graphs sounds boring and like something you will not do, consider switching to a prepaid electricity plan. With prepaid electricity, you can better manage your lifestyle and ultimately your finances by avoiding getting that dreaded (or surprise) light bill at the end of the month.
You receive a daily text message or email (or both, if you like) letting you know exactly how much electricity you used yesterday and how much money you have left in your account. This way you can make quick adjustments to your lifestyle today and stay on budget tomorrow.
If you’re the type that does not like financial surprises, then prepaid sounds like the way to go. Signing up is pretty easy. You’ll never be asked to do a credit check, they don’t even care if you have a social security number or have poor credit. Sign up to get started and get power within the hour for just $50.
DIY Tips to Save Energy
If you’re still looking for answers and want to know what are some DIY things you can do relatively on the cheap, here are some options you can consider doing with a minimal investment.
- Replace your lights to LED
- Regularly change your HVAC filter, atleast once every quarter
- Caulk and apply weatherstripping to your windows and doors to mitigate any drafts of conditioned air escaping
- Consider doing your laundry using cold water instead of hot water cycles
- Install a programmable / smart thermostat
Investing In Your Home
These will make a big dent in your overall electricity bill from an energy savings perspective. There are additional things you can do, especially if it’s an older home, like considering to:
- Add additional insulation to your attic
- Install radiant heat barrier to the underside of your roof
- Upgrade your HVAC unit to a higher SEER rating (ie >16)
- Install replacement windows
- Upgrade your refrigerator
- Replace your hot water heater
True story, at Honest Gorilla we have a commercial electricity customer who owns an orthodontics practice. A few months ago the owner noticed that his electricity bills were much higher than usual. The issue was that he had no clue how or why.
He could not come up with a good explanation and was growing frustrated about why his bills were so high. After all, his office is open only 3 days out of the week and the rest of the time everything is turned off. No machinery or piece of equipment that needs to be running constantly. So what could it be?
The first thing we did was evaluate his electricity bills to make sure the contracted rate was the same, and it was.
The next thing we did was set him up with Smart Meter Texas to evaluate his electricity usage in real-time. After introducing him to Smart Meter Texas, he was able to see that, despite everything being turned off, something was still consistently using electricity.
It was later determined that his heater was never really turned off. It just kept running. And so he called an HVAC guy, fixed the problem, and was back on the right track.
Though this example was for a commercial electricity customer. The same could be applied to your home or apartment. Simply follow the tips provided in this article, and you should be well on your way to finding a solution that could help lower your electric bills in the future.