Do you think your electric bill is higher?
If your kWh usage is similar, but your current bill is higher, the reason could be the cost of electricity. Electric costs have increased due in part to the power cost adjustment (PCA). The PCA passes on the higher costs of power needed by the cooperative on peak days (your cooperative contracts for a specific amount of power; if more is needed, it must be purchased on the open market). To help keep the PCA low, control your electricity use during peaks and join the co-op’s money-saving programs for heating, cooling and water heating.
Next, check the meter readings on your bill with your present meter reading. If you find an error, report it. Also...
- Don't compare your bill with your neighbors. Too many factors are involved: size of house, number of people, type of heating system, outbuildings, hot tubs, livestock, etc.
- Some people forget to turn their electric heat down when they aren’t home or asleep. A programmable thermostat can help. Others use electric heat in places with bad insulation. Others might use two different sources of electric heat and remember to turn one off, but leave the other running. This causes the second source to work harder. Space heaters can also raise electric bills.
- Consider your outbuildings. Do you have block heaters on tractors, well pumps or heat lamps running? How about your home itself? Did you get a new hot tub or other item?
- Sump pumps can get stuck on if their water drain pipe freezes up. Do you have a well pump? Do you have a second refrigerator or freezer that is only half-full? These run more to maintain their temperature.
- How many hot showers or baths do your family take a day? Do you wash laundry in hot or cold water?
- Are you drying more laundry since you can’t hang clothes outside in the winter?
- Weather has a big impact on your heating/cooling costs? Was it hotter or cooler than normal?
- If you are interested in knowing how much power you are using, contact Federated. We can provide you a kilowatt-hour usage chart. In addition, "check out" Federated's portable kilowatt-hour digital device to see how much electricity certain appliances use.
High Bill Concern
Your electric bill can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Before you contact Federated about a high bill, look into these possible reasons why your bill was higher than average:
Longer Billing Period
Federated’s billing cycles do not exactly correspond with calendar months. Sometimes holidays and meter reading schedules shorten or extend a billing cycle. Look at your bill to determine if the number of days you were billed was slightly higher this month.
Increased Heating or Cooling Due to Weather Extremes
During the hottest months of the summer and the coldest months of the winter, our members increase their energy use. Colder or hotter weather can have your HVAC system working harder. Insulation and drafty windows play large roles in your home's efficiency, too.
Addition of New Household Appliances or Lifestyle Changes
Consider recent purchases or upgrades that may be drawing additional power. Electronics and other gadgets are making us more ‘plugged’ in each year. One 50-inch plasma high-definition TV (HDTV) uses approximately 679 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. By contrast, an older analog 34-inch TV was estimated to use just 209 kWh per year. And don’t forget about that streaming device and surround-sound system.
Home upgrades may also add to your electric bill. For example, hot tubs often surprise homeowners when they learn how much electricity they use.
When the kids are out of school during the summer, they may operate the TV longer during the day, or when the whole family is at home for the holidays, your energy usage may increase.
Inefficient Appliances and Needed Repairs
The efficiency of household appliances like air conditioners, washers and dryers has dramatically increased over the last few years. Old appliances may be losing efficiency or need repair.
Just a small leak in your water heater can make your water heater work overtime as it refills and continuously reheats. That old refrigerator in your garage may be worth turning off if it’s not being put to good use. If it’s time to shop for new household appliances, choose those that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR® rating. Federated also offers rebates on refrigerators and freezers with recycling of the old unit, along with dehumidifiers.
Can a Meter Malfunction?
Members often ask if a meter can malfunction? Meter malfunction is rarely the reason for high electric bills. In fact, your meter is your greatest tool in narrowing down causes of the problem. Ask Federated's energy expert for a daily use graph to figure out when you are using the most energy.
Find Out How the Little Changes Add Up
Flip the switch. Lower the blinds. Insulate your attic. Lower the temperature on your thermostat. These sound like simple tasks. Take all of these steps around your home or business, though, and you can rack up big savings.
101 Energy Saving Tips Booklet
Want to learn more energy efficiency tips to save money? Check out these 101 Energy Saving Tips.