Why is My Electric Bill So High? Causes and Solutions

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your latest electric bill? Has it doubled or tripled unexpectedly? You’re not alone. There are many reasons why your electric bill might spike, but there are also many solutions that can help you save money.

In this article, we’ll explore the most common causes of high electric bills and what you can do about them.

Electricity Plan Expiration

One of the most common reasons for an unexpected high electric bill is that your plan has expired. Electric companies often offer enticing deals and low rates to lure customers in, but these plans usually only last for a limited time. When your plan expires, you may be placed on a variable rate plan that can be 100-200% higher than what you were paying before. To avoid this, keep track of your plan’s expiration date and set a reminder to start looking for a new plan about two weeks before that date. You can also sign up for an electric plan management service like Energy Simply to help you stay on top of your plans.

Early Termination Fees

Another reason your electric bill might have spiked is that you were hit with an early termination fee. These fees can range from $100 to $300 and can occur if you switch to a new plan too early or if your electricity provider makes a mistake. To avoid this, make sure you stay on top of your plan’s end date and switch to a new plan before it expires. If you do get hit with an early termination fee, you can try switching back to your old company or switching to a new plan that will save you more money than the fee.

Extreme Weather

Living in a place with extreme weather conditions can also cause your electric bill to spike. If the weather is hot, you may be using more energy to cool your home, while cold weather can increase your electric bill if you have electric heat. To avoid this, invest in a smart, programmable thermostat that can help you save money on your electricity bill. Weatherization and ceiling fans can also help reduce your energy consumption.

Gimmicky Plans

You may have also fallen victim to a gimmicky electric plan that promised discounts for hitting or staying under a certain kilowatt hour electricity usage. These plans may seem like a great deal, but they often end up costing you more in the long run. Stay away from plans that are not straightforwardly priced, and if you are stuck in one of these plans, consider switching to a different plan with the same electric company or paying the early termination fee if the savings from switching are more than the fee.

Dirty Air Filters

A dirty air filter can also be driving up your electric bill. If your air filter isn’t changed regularly, your air conditioning and heating will have to work harder and use more electricity. Luckily, replacing an air filter is easy and can help you save a lot of money. Homeowners should aim to replace HVAC system air filters every 90 days.

Malfunctioning Air Conditioner

A malfunctioning air conditioner could also be the culprit behind your high electric bill. The compressor, motor, or refrigerant may need to be replaced, causing your air conditioner to have trouble producing enough cold air. To avoid this, schedule an HVAC system technician to service your AC and resolve any issues. Make sure to also schedule annual maintenance to keep your air conditioner in good working order.

Open Windows or Doors

It may seem obvious, but an open window or door could be causing your electric bill to spike. Even a small opening can cause a noticeable difference in energy consumption. Make sure to walk through your entire house to check for any open windows, and fix any leaky windows or doors with affordable weather stripping.

Faulty Meter

A faulty meter is a rare but possible cause of a high electric bill. If you have checked all the above possibilities and your usage is much higher than usual, it might be worth investigating. Most meters these days are digital smart meters, which are usually reliable, but they can malfunction and increase your electric bill by making it look like you are using more energy than you really are.

Electricity Theft

Believe it or not, someone stealing your electricity is another possible cause of a high electric bill. While this is unlikely, it’s worth checking if you’ve gone through all the other possibilities. To check for electricity theft, turn off the main breakers to your house and watch your meter to see if the numbers are still going up. If they are, it’s possible that someone has tapped into your power. Contact your transmission company if you suspect electricity theft, as this is a serious offense.

Conclusion

A high electric bill can be frustrating and overwhelming, but there are many possible causes and solutions. By staying on top of your electric plan’s expiration date, avoiding gimmicky plans, and investing in a smart thermostat, you can save money on your electricity bill. Regular maintenance on your HVAC system, changing air filters, and checking for open windows or doors can also help reduce your energy consumption. In the rare event that your meter is faulty or someone is stealing your electricity, it’s important to contact your transmission company and get the issue resolved. By following these tips, you can avoid unexpected spikes in your electric bill and save money in the long run.

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