Think your power bill is too high? If so, use these steps to find out why. Find out how you can reduce your energy use with our Home Energy Calculator.
Accurate history: Review the kilowatt-hour (kWh) history on your account for the last 13 months. Compare your most recent month to that same month one year ago. Weather fluctuations may be a factor in major differences. The kilowatt-hours you use are the main driver of costs on your electric bill.
True electric bill: Are there other charges beyond electric service? Are there additional service fees? Have any past-due amounts from a previous bill been added to the total? Are there ancillary charges added to the bill for other products or services? Don’t forget about state and local taxes. Has the sales tax rate in your county increased due to voters approving a special local option sales tax? The fuel adjustment may change monthly.
Days of use: Check the number of days billed for your electric use. This varies due to the number of days in a month – a billing cycle may be shorter or longer to keep your bill’s due date during the work week. Is the number of days greater than other months because of meter readings or meter reading cycles? Is the daily average significantly different from other months?
Compare winter to summer: Are winter months higher, indicating some form of electric heat, higher hot water heater use or heaters being used on water beds? Do the summer months indicate air conditioning? Were temperatures higher or lower than normal during this period?
List appliances: Appliances DO NOT use the same amount of electricity, so sometimes we don’t realize how much electricity we are actually using. Did you recently purchase a new appliance or receive one as a gift? West Florida Electric’s Appliance Calculator is a great reference tool for determining how much energy your appliances use.
Your meter doesn’t go on vacation: If you leave your home for an extended period of time, remember that some appliances will continue to use electricity even while you are gone, especially your hot water heater, freezer, refrigerator, HVAC system, well pump, etc. Most of us note that the TV and lights are not on, but we forget about these items.
Lifestyle: No two households use energy the same way, so comparing your energy bill to your neighbor’s is like comparing apples to oranges. It’s best to compare your current use to your past use. That is a more accurate record. Remember to determine if the size of your household has increased or if someone stayed at home more. Have you had guests staying for an extended period? Have you added a new swimming pool or hot tub? Do you have hobbies that include the use of power tools, ovens and other high electrical resistance tools or appliances?
Seasons: Additional heating or cooling loads will cause an increase in use. Heating and cooling your home averages around 44% of total energy use. Space heaters, fireplaces, livestock heaters or vehicle block heaters can dramatically increase your energy consumption. Running a dehumidifier or watering lawns, gardens and animals will also increase your energy use.
Equipment maintenance: Appliances more than 15-years-old, may decrease in efficiency significantly and require more energy to do their jobs. It is important to clean or replace the condenser, coils or filters on some appliances regularly. You may need to replace the appliance itself. Many times old electrical wiring will have loose connections resulting in increased electrical use and create potential safety hazards.
Weather: Lightning can sometimes damage your well pump, sump pump or appliances increasing the running of these devices. You may want to consider signing up for surge protection with West Florida Electric.
Construction or remodeling activities: Has there been any underground excavation recently? If you have underground wiring, the electrical wires may have been nicked resulting in a direct short. Many times room additions are completed without proper sizing of HVAC for additional heating and cooling loads.
Energy Audits: Members experiencing an unusually high bill or interested in energy conservation tips may request a free energy audit. A cooperative representative will come to your home or business and perform a walk-through audit and obtain additional information through a questionnaire. This allows the auditor to pinpoint problem areas and make recommendations concerning ways to reduce your electric bill. If you would like to schedule an energy audit, please call one of our district offices or send an email to email@example.com.
When should I ask WFEC to test my meter? WFEC encourages customers to look for the cause first. Meter tests should be last resort instead of first. Meters measure energy use. Because they are a mechanical device it is rare that they run fast. They are seldom the cause of a higher bill but often blamed. Less than 2 out of 1,000 meters are going to be wrong when tested. This includes running slow or running fast. A faulty meter would more likely run slow. In the case of a meter check, a WFEC field representative will check the meter. If no problem is found, your account will be billed $35.