Understand Your Usage

Electric usage varies from day to day and month to month, depending upon a variety of factors including your daily habits, the weather, and the time of year. An increase in your electric usage could be caused by a variety of factors:

Warm Weather

Electricity bills may be higher during the summer months, due to the increased energy needed to cool your home on hot, muggy days.
Using air conditioners, fans and other cooling devices to stay cool and comfortable can result in a 10 to 20 percent increase in your electricity bill.

Hints:

  • You can typically find the wattage of your appliance by first locating the technical specifications sticker or tag. The sticker or tag will list the voltage and amperage of the appliance. For example, you may see "115 V" and "6.5 amps" on the technical specifications sticker of a refrigerator. Multiplying these two numbers tells you how many watts your appliance uses – in this example, 747.5 watts.
  • Think about how your appliances operate – does the appliance cycle on and off all day? Is it on steady for 8 to 10 hours?
  • Look at your bill to understand your billing cycle – it may run mid-June to mid-July for example so what you call your July bill may be half June!
  • Look at your bill to find the cost of your delivery charges (page 2) and your electricity supply (page 3).

Now you have an idea of the impact of hot weather and cool comfort on your bill!

Hot Summer Savings Tips

When temperatures are high and the air is humid, we offer the following tips to help you save:

  • When setting the desired temperature for your air conditioner, remember that each degree above 75 degrees reduces electricity use by approximately 3 percent.
  • Window, floor and table fans are all cost-effective ways to keep you cool.
  • Close windows, doors, shades, blinds and drapes during the day to block direct sunlight and hot, humid air from entering your home.
  • Instead of cooking on the stove or in the oven, consider using a microwave oven or grill outside.
  • Turn off unused lighting.
  • Other things to consider to help understand your usage:
  • The number of people in your home – have you entertained summer visitors?
  • Appliances that are plugged in 24x7 – they consume electricity even when they aren’t in use.

Sources: Based on information from Accuweather.com and Energy.gov

Malfunctioning Appliances

A sudden increase in energy usage may indicate a problem with an appliance, heating or cooling system, or water heater. A spike can also be caused by a period of very hot, muggy weather in the summer. Don't forget that since billing cycles are about a month long, sometimes it can be a few weeks before the effect of a heat wave will be seen on your bill.

Access our FREE tools to help you better understand your electricity use.

  • Our Energy Analyzer tool gives you targeted energy efficiency information, advice and support to help you achieve savings
  • Review our free and low-cost Energy Savings Tips
  • Visit our Smart Energy section to view our menu of energy efficiency programs

Helping you understand

When you’re reviewing your summer bills, consider these activities that may impact your use of electricity.

  • Additional people in the home (children out of school, guests)
  • Heat pump / hot water heater
  • Outdoor hot tub / pool pump
  • New appliance / seasonal appliance
  • Pumping wet basement
  • Auto engine block heaters - diesel trucks
  • Home construction
  • Fans in barns for animals