How to Lower Your Electric Bill

electric bill

Winter weather is nearly upon us. Particularly if your home has electric heating, learning to understand your electric bill and convert that understanding into energy savings can be critical. Learn how to lower your electric bill to determine your usage habits and learn your energy rates.

How to Lower Your Electric Bill

Current Charges

This section shows how much you currently owe the company or how much was charged to you for usage over the last billing period. Two readings are taken during the month to determine this charge: one at the beginning of the month and one at the end. The company determines the difference and then multiplies that number by the current electric rate.

Billing Period

The billing period is the time between the two readings the electric company takes on your meter. It’s usually roughly a month and remains a fairly consistent length.

Energy Rates

Depending on your electric company, your rate may be flat or varied. If it’s a flat rate, you’ll see only a single rate in this section. If it is varied you may see different rates for peak and non-peak hours. This is a big opportunity for savings. If your electric company has higher rates for peak hours, you can reap significant savings by moving non-critical electric usage to non-peak hours. Many dishwashers, washing machines and dryers have delay settings. If your electric company has peak hour rates, set these machines to run during non-peak hours. Typical peak hours run after the work day in the evening. You can call the electric company to verify the peak time and set your appliances to run overnight or in the morning.

Average Usage

A chart outlining your average monthly or daily usage may also be on your bill. If it’s not on your paper bill, it may be available on the billing website. This chart is critical to understanding your energy consumption habits. Depending on the climate in which you live and whether you have gas heating, you may experience higher electric bills in either the summer or the winter. Determine your highest energy usage time and take appropriate steps. If your usage peaks in winter, consider taking steps to winterize your home. And take steps to make your home more energy efficient year-round.

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Kristi Arnold

Kristi Arnold is a former newspaper reporter and editor who is now a gluten-free vegetarian mom married to Mr. Meaty, a "normal" omnivore. The culinary odd couple is parenting two kids, a pescatarian with a hot dog exception and a lactose-intolerant nightshade-sensitive meat-lover. Kristi loves writing and cooking recipes for easy, family-friendly organic meals, learning about nutrition and living the simple, green life.