You open your electric bill this month and immediately look around the house to see if a window or door has been left open, because the bill is some what higher than it was last month.
There are many factors that influence the amount of your electric bill – colder than normal temperatures, or more visitors over the holidays. You might have had kids home from school for Christmas break which generated more laundry, and required running the dishwasher extra times. Here are some reasons why your electric bill might vary each month:
Reason #1: Each month is different. This seems simple, but it is true. The weather is different each month, and your lifestyle can change a bit from month to month. Both of those can have an impact on your electric bill.
Sometimes there are bigger things that can make a difference in your bill. If you look at this month’s bill compared to last month, you might notice a big change.
There are two main reasons. One is the weather. It was a bit colder this past month than it was in December. The second, and larger reason, is last month’s Margin Rebate.
Take a look at your bill from last month. You should notice a line item called the Margin Rebate. The Margin Rebate was a result of EIEC having a good year financially, and your ownership stake in the co-op. We had higher than budgeted electric sales. We also had lower wholesale power costs than forecasted.
Lastly, we were slightly understaffed for much of 2018, so operating expenses were a bit lower. All of those factors contributed to more revenue than we anticipated. Since we’re a member-owned cooperative, your Board of Directors decided to give that money back to you in the form of the Margin Rebate. In all, $800,000 was distributed back to members like you.
When you review your next electric bill, please remember your last bill included the Margin Rebate, so the bill was probably lower than this month’s bill.
Reason #2: Extreme weather. Temperatures can change drastically in a 48-hour span, especially in Illinois. We have no control over those changing temperatures, but we do have control over how we respond.
If a cold wave moves in, do not change the thermostat to reflect the dropping temperatures. Instead, keep the
temperature inside the house consistent, and ignore those brief plummets in the temperature. If it gets cold, bundle up!
Reason #3: Light bulbs that are not energy efficient. They might be slightly more expensive initially, but in the long run, LED light bulbs are a must when it comes to saving money on electricity. LED light bulbs use up to 90% less energy than traditional light bulbs, and last nearly forever.
Reason #4: Your home could use some additional insulation. When you crank up the heat on a cold winter night and your home is not properly insulated you will be wasting money. Old windows and drafty attics are the culprits behind your unusually high electric bill. Invest in new windows, and make sure your attic has proper insulation. The investment today will save you money down the road.
We offer Energy Audits to our members. An energy specialist will evaluate your home and make suggestions on ways to be more energy efficient. Call us at 800-824-5102 to set up an energy audit for your home.
Reason #5: There’s a space heater that runs in addition to your furnace. People use space heaters to warm colder areas in their home. The assumption that space heating is more economical than cranking up the furnace, is not always true. Sometimes space heaters can inflate an electric bill, especially if they are used for comfort heat, on top of central heating systems to solve heating inadequacies.
Reason #6: Running appliances that are not filled to capacity. The dishwasher and the washing machine are two of the greatest inventions. Although these appliances are great for countless different reasons, they may be the culprit behind your unusually high electric bill. These appliances use a lot of energy. Only run the dishwasher when it is completely full. The same goes for the washer and dryer. Wait until the hamper is full before doing a that next load of laundry.
Reason #7: Lights that are not used strategically in the home. Every house needs some form of lighting, whether it be ceiling lights or lamps. But did you know that there is a way to eliminate unnecessary electric usage by being strategic with the lighting in your house? Ceiling lights might create a bright room, but they waste electricity and are not efficient. Try lamps instead. They provide direct light rather than ceiling lights. Another energy saving tip is to remember to turn off lights as you leave a room, which saves electricity.
Reason #8: Unnecessary charging time for devices. A charged phone or computer is necessary. Keeping that phone or computer plugged in overnight or all day isn’t necessary. A phone needs around 2-3 hours to fully charge. Save electricity and unplug your phone when charged.