During the winter months, Pepco gets a lot of calls from customers regarding high bills. A high bill can happen for many different reasons. Many times those reasons are simple, but overlooked. I’m going to focus on three possible reasons; Lifestyle Changes, Longer Billing Cycles, Heating Your Home. If your bill seems to be higher than normal, hopefully this blog post will help.
Lifestyle changes are a commonly overlooked source of higher bills. An easy way to identify changes within your home that can impact your bill is to ask yourself a few questions:
- Are there more electronics or appliances in use (i.e. Plasma TV(s), game systems, etc.)?
- Are more people at home than usual? For example new household members (i.e. seniors or newborns), visitors, or college students on break?
- Does anyone in the house have a work schedule change that affects when and how often appliances are operated, including lighting and heating or cooling systems?
Many times, lifestyle changes are unavoidable. Though we may not have a choice of when those changes will occur or how long they will last, being aware of their effects is important. Just keep in mind that with more people at home, there is a higher demand for electricity. A good example of that is this current winter season. It’s been an unusually cold one, so entire households tend to stay at home. Electronics, appliances, and (electric) heating systems are being used for longer periods of time. All three can have an impact on your usage and affect your Pepco bill.
Longer billing cycles can also contribute to a higher bill. Most billing cycles include about 28 to 30 days of electric use, but sometimes due to holidays, inclement weather, or other scheduling circumstances, a billing cycle can increase to as much as 35 days. That means there is a potential for more billing days than normal, maybe even an extra week. That can easily add up to 25% to that particular bill.
An easy way to check how many days are in your current billing cycle or a previous one is to take a look at page two of your bill. Half-way down the page is a section called Energy Usage History. There, you can compare billing cycle days and Kilowatt Hours used for the past twelve months. Make it a habit to check your billing cycle days every month so you’ll know exactly what’s included.
Heating your home can play a major role in a higher winter electricity bill if you have a heat pump. Heat pumps are very efficient when outside temperatures are above 35°F. When temperatures fall below that threshold, heat pumps begin to rely on supplemental electric resistance heaters. Electric resistance heat is the most expensive way to heat your home. You will know the supplemental heat is on when the Aux Heat indicator on your thermostat lights up or the display on your programmable reads Aux Heat. The thermostat for a heat pump should be kept at one constant setting unless you have a programmable thermostat made just for heat pumps. Note: Manually raising your thermostat just two degrees may cause your Aux Heat to come on. A programmable thermostat could GRADUALLY raise the temperature levels without setting off the supplemental heat.
If you have a higher than normal winter bill, check to see if any of these are contributing factors.
‘Til the next post,