Why is My Power Bill So High?

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Summer in Florida means summer vacations, swimming pools, and cook-outs…and, unfortunately, high power bills.  Why are our power bills higher during the summer? It is likely a combination of higher rates and higher usage. Is your bill significantly higher than last year at this time?  It is important to verify that your bill is accurate as well.

If your bill is unusually high – higher than it was last summer, take a look at your power bill.  Check your meter against the ending reading shown on your most recent bill. Your meter should read a little higher (you have used some electricity since the end of the last billing cycle).  If your meter reading is lower than what is shown on the bill, contact your power company and tell them what you found and that you would like to verify your power usage. Mistakes happen.

Another reason for higher bills in the summer is a seasonal increase in rates.  Electricity, like any other commodity, fluctuates based on supply and demand. In the summer, higher demand causes the market price to increase.  The price even fluctuates during a 24 hour period. Electricity is more expensive during peak use times of day (say 7 pm), and cheaper during low use times (say 1 am).  If you have a variable rate plan, you should see more significant summer increases in your power bill from the combined effect of higher use and higher rates, but you can also take advantage of cheaper electricity during the “off times” and will probably pay less in the spring and fall.  If you are on a fixed rate plan, you are paying the same cost per kilowatt hour throughout the year, and will not see as much fluctuation in your bill over time. There are advantages and disadvantages to either option.

Other than checking your bill for accuracy and understanding your billing plan, the only thing you can really control is how much electricity you use.  About half of our home energy use is cooling and heating our homes. You can’t control the weather, but you can control your thermostat. And, you can expect a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in energy use for every degree you set the thermostat lower in the summer.  Other big energy users are water heaters and pool pumps. Managing your thermostat, water temperature, and putting a timer on your pool pump can make a big difference.

If you have questions or concerns about your AC and your power bill, let us know. We can come out and check your system to make sure it’s in the right working order. 

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