Understand the Causes of Increased Energy Bills & What To Do About It
Month after month, you may stop and ask, 'why is my electricity bill so high?' No matter what changes you make, you may still feel you have a high electric bill. If you are reviewing your monthly electric bill, you have conquered the first step toward eliminating surprisingly high electricity bills - awareness. In some cases, your usage may have increased. In other cases, you may live in an area with high energy costs. You may even be caught in a double whammy if you use a lot of energy and have high energy prices. While there are several reasons why your energy bill is high, you'll want to do everything you can to identify the cause and address the problem.
Why is my electricity bill suddenly so high?
If you have increased your heating or air conditioning system usage, you may have noticed a spike in your electricity bill. Cooling and heating systems consume about 47% of the energy you use in your household. However, there are several other reasons your electricity bill has skyrocketed. In some states, like California, electricity prices can vary depending on the time of day. During peak hours, electricity may cost more. If you are blasting your air conditioning during peak hours, you can expect to pay a premium1.
Why have gas and electricity prices increased?
The simplest explanation for an increase in gas or electricity prices is that your usage increased. However, it is possible that the actual cost increased as a result of supply and demand. Energy suppliers can raiserprices if you have a variable-rate plan. If you have a fixed-rate plan, energy prices must stay the same during your contract. To determine if the price has increased, you can compare two recent statements. Other items that may cost your gas and electric bill to increase are inefficient appliances, lightbulbs, and devices left on standby2.
What are the average U.S. gas and electricity bills?
Gas and electricity prices can vary depending on your location. In the United States, the average electric bill is $117.65 USD., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Furthermore, the average usage was 914-kilowatt hours with an average cost of $12.87 cents per kilowatt hour3. Keep in mind, this is an average that takes into account states with high electricity costs and states with low electricity costs. For some, this average may seem high. However, if you live in a state like Hawaii or Florida, this average may seem low. If you are trying to determine if you're overpaying, you should try to find data about average gas and electricity prices in your area.
Why has my electricity bill doubled?
If your electricity bill has doubled in the matter of a month or so, you should check out your usage. You may also want to consider any changes you have made. For example, did you install new light bulbs? If so, you may have replaced energy-efficient light bulbs with non-energy-efficient light bulbs. As a result, your usage may have increased.
Are you experiencing extreme weather causing you to crank up the heat or air? If so, this may cause your electricity bill to double. If you have noticed an increase in your electricity bill without an explanation, you should look around to make sure appliances and fixtures are working correctly.
Why has my gas bill doubled?
If the weather is cold, you may be taking more hot showers and running your heater. As a result, your gas bill may increase. In addition, you may not be the only household consuming more gas. If you have a variable-rate gas plan, gas prices may have increased with demand. In some cases, you may receive discounts on gas based on your income level or other factors. If they did not apply during a billing cycle, you might notice an increase in your bill. While some of us may prefer to ignore our gas bill, you should keep an eye on gas prices and usage4.
Is my energy bill too high?
Determining if your energy bill is too high can be difficult. If you feel that your energy bill is too high, you may want to look at a previous bill for comparison. Did your usage change? Did rates change? If you don't notice any noticeable differences, you may want to contact the energy company. If you see obvious changes , you may want to focus on reducing usage or switching to a fixed-rate plan. Planning for an unpredictable utility bill every month can impact your budget. Switching to an energy plan with one flat monthly price may be something to consider. When you subscribe at Inspire, you can access clean energy for one flat monthly price.
Is 50 kWh a day a lot?
Some days you will use more energy than others. If you use 50 kWh in one day, this is on the higher side of usage, but it's not unusual for most households5. How many kWh a household uses in a day can depend on a variety of factors such as how big the home is, age of the home, climate, number of people living or visiting at the home, appliances, pool or no pool, air conditioning, heating, etc6. On average, most households will consume 28.9 kWh per day, according to the EIA.
What costs the most on your electric bill?
Central air conditioning and heat pumps usually consume the most energy compared to other home appliances. This is why you may see your bill spike during hot or cold seasons. Next in line, the clothes dryer and water heater. While most homes have a water heater, not all homes have central heating and air or a clothes dryer7. Moving into a home without these features may seem negative, but think about all the energy you can save without even trying.
What appliances use the most electricity?
Whether or not you have energy-efficient appliances or not may affect energy usage. If you are using old and outdated appliances, you may want to consider upgrading. While the upgrade may require investment, you may be able to reduce energy usage and decrease your bill8. Here are some appliances that use the most electricity:
- Central air conditioner
- Water heater
- Oven range
- Washing machine
Can a faulty thermostat cause a high electric bill?
If you have a faulty thermostat that is operating inefficiently, it can cause a high electric bill. As a result of a faulty thermostat, your system may be turning on and off unnecessarily. For example, if you set your air conditioning to 78 degrees but have a faulty thermostat, your home may be cooling to a lower temperature. Essentially, you think you have control over usage, but you don't. Ensuring that appliances and thermostats are in proper working order is an important part of maintaining a normal electric bill9.
Can I fight a high electric bill?
In some cases, you may be able to fight a high electric bill. If you think there has been a mistake or clerical error, you should contact the electricity company10. If they agree, they may be able to adjust your bill so that you are charged properly. However, if there are no mistakes on your bill, you may be on your own. If you can't afford the bill, the electricity company may arrange a payment plan.
If you truly believe something is wrong, but the electricity company is running you around in circles, you may be able to contact a consumer advocate or your state's public utilities commission.
Why do I use more electricity at night?
If you are using more electricity at night, this may not be a bad thing. Often, electricity is cheaper during the night as it's considered an off-peak time. If you are not the only one living in your home, you may want to investigate other people's schedules and behaviors. Perhaps your teenagers are up to during the night playing games and washing clothes. In addition, you may be adjusting your thermostat at night to ensure you get a good night's sleep.
Does unplugging things save electricity?
Unplugging unused appliances or electronics can save electricity and money. Reducing your usage in any way possible can benefit our environment while helping you save money. While you won't want to unplug major appliances, you don't have to. Unplugging computers, blow dryers, phone chargers, T.V.'s, and other electronics can make a difference. Over one year, you may be able to save $100 to $200 just by unplugging devices11.
Should I unplug my charger when not in use?
Unplugging chargers when not in use is a good habit to get into. Unplugging chargers regularly may help you save a little bit of electricity, but computers and lights may have a larger impact12. Reducing your usage in any way possible can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Managing an unpredictable energy bill can make budgeting difficult. Knowing exactly how much you owe each month can seem like a luxury after years of managing a fluctuating bill. In some cases, energy bills can double or triple from one month to the next. If you are trying to achieve a more consistent energy bill, you may want to consider a fixed-rate plan. Your current energy company may offer fixed-rate plans. Another option is to see if Inspire services your area. As an Inspire member, you can access clean energy for one flat price.
So how does it work?
To get started, visit the Inspire homepage and enter your address and/or ZIP Code. If Inspire's services are available in your area, you can proceed with linking your utility. Discover the beginning of consistent and predictable monthly energy bills when you become an Inspire member.