Do you feel your electric bill is higher than usual?
Energy costs, like most commodities, are on the rise, with prices affecting suppliers, cooperatives, and end consumers. The Mankato Free Press interviewed the housing services director at Minnesota Valley Action Council and here’s what he had to say.
Beyond high commodity prices, here are some ideas to troubleshoot other factors that may be contributing to a higher-than-normal bill, along with suggestions on ways you can lower your electric bill.
- Hot summer days and cold winter days mean your heating and cooling system has to work harder to keep your home comfortable. Plan by improving the insulation in your home and preventing air leaks.
- Just as closing the window treatments on a hot day keeps your home from heating up due to solar gain, in the winter you want to open up and get that free solar gain to help heat your house.
Vampire Appliances Devices that stay plugged in all day continue to suck energy, even if they are not in use. A computer charger kept plugged in all the time is a waste of energy and money. Unplug your devices that are not in use.
New Appliances When replacing an appliance, it’s important to understand the ongoing costs. For example, a new big-screen TV may cost more to run than your old one. Always look for the Energy Star sticker when purchasing a new appliance or electronics.
Faulty Appliances When appliances are on their last leg, they cost more to run. For example, a fridge that has cracked or broken seals have to work harder to keep food cold. Keeping appliances in good working order can save you a lot on your bill.
Seasonal Appliances Hot tubs, swimming pools, filter pumps, sprinkler systems, dehumidifiers, holiday lights, driveway heaters, engine block heaters, in-floor heating, and garage heaters all can affect your bill on a seasonal basis. Remember to turn them off when their season is over.
Longer Billing Period There may be a difference in the number of days covered on your current bill compared to your previous bill. You can find the number of days in the billing period on the top right-hand side of your bill.
True Electric Bill Check to be sure your bill is a true high electric bill. Are there other charges beyond electric service? Are there additional service fees, such as deposits, connection/disconnection fees, returned check fees, city franchise fees, or product purchases?
Estimated Reading Is your current or previous bill based on an estimated read? Meter reads can be estimated for several reasons. You can tell if your bill has been based on an estimated read if an asterisk is next to the meter.
- Many people believe that when they leave on vacation, their electric meter stops until they return. If they are on vacation for two weeks, they expect their electric bills to be cut in half. However, there are several things your meter will still measure while you’re gone:
- Water heaters, refrigerators and freezers, clocks, attic fans, humidifiers, air exchangers, heating and air conditioning equipment, lights, TVs, cable, and gaming devices with the “instant-on” feature will all continue to operate.
As a member of the cooperative, you can take advantage of energy-saving programs, designed especially for you and your household needs. Visit our Energy Wise page for detailed information on programs for heating, cooling, and electric water heating.
You can also get an estimated idea of your appliance usage by using the Appliance and Electronic Energy Use Calculator provided by energy.gov. This calculator allows you to estimate your annual energy use and cost to operate dozens of different appliances and electronic devices when you choose Minnesota as your state and input your specific usage information.
Annual usage and cost to operate a ceiling fan are shown on the left.More Energy-Saving Tips