Decode Your Electricity Use

Conserving electricity is a big concern for many homes and business owners. Many utility providers recognize this and are providing ways to help you. Besides energy-saving tips, their detailed billing statements provide clues to your usage.

The data on your monthly statement can be a huge help, showing you comparisons and more which you can use when identifying ways you can reduce electricity use around the home.Take a look at some of the info which may be on your electric bills, and see how to use it to your advantage.

Your electric utility company may provide a graph or chart of your energy use over the last year. Seeing the information presented together like this can give you a better idea of how you use electricity from month to month. In the graph above, you can see that June, July, and August were the highest periods of electricity use for this home.

The homeowner can see how energy use drops in the fall, pick back up in the winter, begins to drop again as temperatures lower in late winter, and in early spring, electric use starts to climb once more. Using this graph, try to identify the reasons for the increases and decreases in electricity use. Over the summer months, electricity use is at its peak; this is due to the home’s air conditioning use during the hot summer months.

As temperatures drop in the fall, air conditioning was used less and the family likely spent more time outdoors, which probably contributed to lower electricity use. This particular home has gas heat, so not as much electricity is used for heating for air conditioning. Winter temperatures keep people indoors more, which is likely a contributor to the increase in electricity use.

In spring, electricity use begins to rise, but why? Seeing this would alert you to look back on the temperatures during these months- did we have a warm spring that caused the family to turn on the air conditioning sooner?

Or, think back to changes you made around the home, whether they are new electrical appliances or even a change in schedule. In this home, some remodeling was done in the spring where power tools were used as well as increased lighting; these events could explain an increase in electrical use, too. Likewise, if your schedule has changed, it could be changing your electric use, too. If you’re home more than you once were, you’re probably using more electricity now than when your home was unoccupied for longer periods.

Another chart you may see is detailed information comparing specific billing periods. Yours may have your current billing period compared to your last; this electric utility company also adds the same period in the previous year for comparison. This chart shows the average temperature, so the homeowner can see how their electricity use relates to how warm or cold it is.

This bill compares January 2013 to December 2012; you can see the temperature was a degree cooler in January, and the average kilowatts per hour used each day was only 1 more. We can also compare January 2013 to January 2012 here; there was a 5-degree difference in average temperature, which is likely a big contributor to the change in electricity use this year. Use this information to make changes that will reduce your electricity use; lowering the thermostat a few degrees may save on the family’s electricity bill as well as the gas bill.

Use your detailed billing statement to guide your household or business. Sometimes seeing these numbers side-by-side can motivate you to implement changes that will help lower your electricity use for your next statement, especially when electricity costs are high. When you see increases in electric use, think about what could be causing them. If it’s seasonal temperatures or changes you’ve made, increases are to be expected.

After your review, if you cannot determine the increase was due to anything specific, it’s probably time to look towards your appliances or other issues with your electric system which could be causing increased energy use. Call Frye Electric today for an inspection of your home or business’s electrical systems and appliances. Our skilled electricians can help you determine the cause of your increased electricity use, and solve those issues so you can lower your electric bills.

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