High Electric Bill Troubleshooter

 

 

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  If you’ve found your way to this page you must be looking for a reason why your electric bill is so high and some possible solutions to that problem.

I revised this page on February 12, 2009 to make it a little easier to follow. I hope I have been successful.

My name is Wayne and I service electrical meters for a New England electrical utility company.

I’ve been asked many times by customers how their electric bill could be so high.

These are some of the concerns that I hear.

 

The concern I hear the most from people by far is the first one above having to do with broken or inaccurate meters. So I would like to start there. I have tested many meters for accuracy and have found very few to be inaccurate to the degree that would affect billing. But this is the place to start our investigation. You should ask your electric company to test your electric meter for accuracy. It may take the utility some time to get to your house to do the meter test, so go on with the rest of the procedures listed below. The leading reason by far that I have found for peoples high electric bill is that something in the house or apartment is using the electricity. Often it is a defective electrical device such as a faulty well pump or a faulty thermostat or a freezer that keeps going on and off( this is called cycling). It might be an electric water heater that is leaking or has a defective heating coil, or an air conditioner that is low on Freon coolant causing it to "cycle". It could be a well pump that has a pinhole leak in the pipe coming into your house causing the pump to cycle on and off more frequently to keep the water at the proper pressure. It could be a defective attic vent fan that stays on all winter or gutter heaters or driveway heaters that stay on all summer. 

Finding and correcting the problem will not be difficult once you trace the circuits in  your electrical system. By this I mean determining which breakers in your breaker box or fuse box control the various electrical draws (heating, cooling, lighting, etc.) in your home or apartment. You can then determine which circuits draw the most power and then try to determine if what is on that circuit may be operating incorrectly.

 

So, remember - In a single family home, either the meter is defective( unlikely) or the power you are being billed for is being consumed somewhere in the house.( highly likely) Multi unit properties have a couple more possibilities( non-exclusive use or mixed metering) which will be explained in the multi-unit section, but generally the above statement about the meter being accurate and the power being used in your home or apartment is correct. But first lets make sure the high bill question cannot be answered by your electric company. Perhaps your bill contains incorrect information. For instance you could be being billed for Apartment 1 when you live in Apartment 2.This condition is called "mixed metering". Perhaps your meter readings have been estimated for some reason. This will show on your electric bill. Are you ready?

 

Let's get started with a closer look by reading your electric bill.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Even small amounts of electricity can kill you. If you are unsure of what you are doing at any time as you read this web page, I urge you to stop and consult with a licensed, qualified electrician. The small cost of professional assistance may mean the difference between a job successfully completed and a tragic ending. Do not risk injury or death if you are not exactly sure of what you are doing. We take no responsibility for damage, injury or death.

 

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