How to Find Out if You’ve Been Overpaying for Energy


The average household utility bill was $110.21 in 2013 and has since been climbing each year. If you live in a state with a multi-tier electric system than you may be bamboozled by electric companies that mask high variable rates under a pricing structure that only reflects rates by usage- typically displaying the lowest rate per usage in their quote.

On the other hand, if you live in a state with heavy regulations than you may be faced with limited options in a marketplace that’s monopolized by one or two major utility companies. Your household will have no option to opt out of an inflated fixed rate contract. If you’re lucky, your area may be using a modern energy aggregation software to ensure that you are paying the lowest possible, but you can’t just depend on that without doing research.

It’s important to have an advisor on your side or to utilize a third party that will negotiate lower rates among utility companies for you. More than likely, there are cost-savings measures your household or business can institute to save money on your utility bill and become more energy efficient.

Let’s identify some signs that you might be paying too much and some reasons you are paying so much.

Signs you are Paying too Much

It’s important to track your energy usage month-by-month to understand your average electric consumption and how they match up with your utility bill. The internet certainly made it easier for instantaneous bill paying, but it also benefited electric companies whose customer base was either to apathetic or forgetful to actually analyze their utility bill in detail.

Look at your previous utility bills to identify how your electric rate and consumption has fluctuated through each billing cycle. Have there been any additions to your home recently or do you think your consumption has really increased?

This will also allow you to identify peak demand times where electric consumption will become more expensive.

Here are some signs that you might be getting ripped off from the electric companies or are simply paying too much.

  • At a fixed rate, your bill does not ever decrease
  • Your bill doesn’t change with seasonal consumption changes
  • You are paying more than your neighbors
  • Your rate has increased randomly
  • You never shopped around

Actively track your energy consumption using a utility calculator and compare your usage to the total listed consumption on your bill. Consider the possibility that your meter is not working correctly. Turn off all of your breakers and see if your analog meter is still spinning or your electric meter is still registering usage.  

Reasons your Energy Usage is so High

  1. Your Lighting is Outdated

The average home uses 901 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month. Switching those cheap incandescent bulbs for an LED bulb will provide much higher cost-savings in the long-term.

LED lights consume 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last as much as 25x longer. LED lights also produce much less heat than an incandescent bulb making them safer for home use and they’re generally safer to dispose of.

Households could replace LED replacement bulbs or perform a retrofit of their existing lighting fixtures for a very low price.

  1. Your Appliances are Worn

One primary reason your utility bill could be rising month-by-month is due to using outdated appliances.

The most expensive appliances to power your home include:

  • HVAC Systems
  • Dryers
  • Water Pumps
  • Space Heaters
  • Hair Dryer

Failing to maintain your HVAC system, clothes washer/dryer or any industrial home appliance will cause it malfunction very quickly in its lifespan and could result in a costly repair. Upgrade all equipment to energy star equipment, which will present a much higher ROI in the long-run.

  1. Vampire Power

How much equipment in your home requires a wall charger? How many power cords do you have plugged into your wall? Finally, how much of this equipment is left plugged in all the time?

Even when electronic equipment is turned off, it still draws quite a bit of power. It’s ideal to plug all power cords into a smart power strip that can limit the amount of power being drawn from phantom energy. This only requires you to unplug one power cord to unplug all of your devices and will protect them against power surges.

Conclusion

If you believe your household is paying too much for its home energy usage, consider shopping around if you live in a deregulated state. Ask for quotes and read online reviews to see which utility company is the most trustworthy. Often, utility companies that operate on a variable rate will seriously raise prices during peak demand hours, weather storms, and changing seasons.

Consider conducting a home energy audit to discover areas of your home that may be jacking up your energy usage. Know your usage and explore cost-savings measures you can institute to lower your utility bill and your total energy use.

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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