Think your electric bill is higher?
If your kWh usage is similar, but your current bill is higher, the reason for the higher bill could be the cost of electricity itself. Electric costs have gone up in recent years due in part to the power cost adjustment (PCA). The PCA passes on the higher costs of power needed by the cooperative if the power plant has an unexpected break down or needs more on peak days (your cooperative contracts for a specific amount of power; if more is needed, it must purchase it on the expensive 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, make sure your electric bill is accurate. 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.
- Monitor your use of electric heat. Some people forget to turn their electric heat down when they aren’t home or asleep; a programmable thermostat can help. Others use it 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 use more electricity to make up the difference. 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 plasma TV?
- In addition, 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? Half-full freezers and refrigerators run more to maintain their temperature.
- How about your water habits? 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 as easily in the winter?
- Weather has a big impact on your heating/cooling costs? Was it hotter or cooler than normal? Did you plug in tractors, waterers or use garage heaters? Did you turn on the air conditioner?
If you are interested in knowing how much power you are using and what uses it, contact Federated. We can provide you a kilowatt-hour usage chart for weekly, monthly or yearly. In addition, "check out" Federated's portable kilowatt-hour digital device; plug it into an outlet to see how much electricity certain appliances use. Be sure to ask for Federated's "101 Energy Savings Tips" booklet too.
Electricity is still one of the most economical sources of energy available.