With groceries, your monthly rent or mortgage payments, and credit card purchases, electricity is probably something that is not on your mind from your long list of expenses. However, electricity constitutes a significant chunk of your total expenses, so it should be factored in to your monthly budget. However, electricity bills are not constant and may change due to a variety of factors, making it a bit difficult to determine whether changes in your bill are normal or if they raise a red flag. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with your electricity bill to stay informed and be aware of your electricity trends. Here are some signs that you may be paying too much for your electricity bill, and when you could be trimming down or making some changes:
Sharp bill increases without an apparent cause
While the cost of energy can vary depending on energy supply, weather, and the general health of the economy, it’s common to see slight increases in energy rates, up to 0.5%, over the course of a year. However, it’s not common to see sharp increases in your bill from month to month. If you do see this happening, it’s possible that your usage has increased significantly (something that can often happen without us even realizing it). This may be the case when you make large electronic purchases, have started using electronics more frequently (or are not turning them off or unplugging them after use), when you have guests staying with you, or even when the weather has changed and you rely on more energy to stay warm or cool. If none of these apply, this may be a sign to speak to your electric company and do some further investigation. It’s possible that their rates have changed. This brings us to our next sign that you may be paying too much:
Competitors have lower rates
When you see that your electricity bill is suddenly higher without a significant change in your usage, it’s worth doing some research and comparing what other energy suppliers may be offering. In some states where energy is deregulated, like Texas, you have the option to shop around and choose an energy supplier if you’re not happy with your current one. Some things to keep in mind if you’re considering switching are the reputability of the company and how reliable their energy supply is, whether you’ll be locked into a contract (and if so, for how long), whether you will have to pay a cancellation fee, any additional incentives for signing on with a new supplier, and of course, the energy rates that they are offering in comparison to your current supplier.
Higher than average household energy usage
While comparing energy suppliers is valid, it’s also worth doing some extra research to compare how your household usage compares to others. If your personal household usage is higher than the average household on a regular basis, it could point to issues with your house’s insulation or with your heating and cooling system. Some of the main culprits here include attics with poor insulation, old windows that leak air and cause drafts, and old furnaces. In addition, old appliances like dishwashers, washer dryers, or refrigerators, are usually less energy efficient and use up a lot of energy to operate. Newer appliances that are Energy Star certified are considered to be energy efficient and can help your appliances operate on much less energy, thereby significantly reducing your electricity bill.
With a little bit of investigation into your own long-term energy trends and how your energy usage compares with the average household, you’ll be able to determine whether your energy company is providing the best rate for you.
Check out Arrow Energy’s rate plans here and see how we compare to your existing supplier.