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Understanding a High Bill

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Why does my electric bill vary so much from month to month?

When a bill is higher than usual, naturally it arouses your curiosity. The amount of electricity used in the home varies by the season. In most homes, more electricity is used during summer and winter than in fall and spring. Summer means increased use of electricity for air conditioners, fans, refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers and washers and dryers. In the winter, higher bills are commonly a result of home heating, hot water heating, additional cooking, lighting and home entertainment. The water coming into the water heater in the winter is colder so it requires more electricity to bring it up to the desired temperature. And even where oil or gas is used to heat the home, electricity is needed to operate the pump and fan motors on the furnace. Nights are longer in the winter, requiring use of lights about twice as long as in the summer. Also, most families spend longer hours watching television. Any one of these reasons doesn't have a large impact by itself, but together they help explain why so many people find their electric bills higher in summer and winter than in spring and fall.

Why is my bill higher than my neighbors?

Although the size of your homes may be the same, your appliances and the manner in which you use them could differ significantly. Insulation factors, including window and floor coverings, also affect your bill because they can have an impact on the efficiency of your heating and air-conditioning systems.

Why is my bill so high when I haven’t done anything different?

Fluctuations in monthly bill amounts are normal. Many factors influence the amount of your bill. For example:

Kilowatt-hours used – When comparing your monthly bills, it's best to look at the kilowatt-hours (-kWh-) of electricity used. The Energy Use Profile on your bill provides a graphic representation of your month-to-month usage pattern, in average kWh per day, so you can easily spot fluctuations.

The condition of energy equipment/appliances – While PECO is responsible for providing the equipment to the point where electricity enters your residence, and for installing a meter to accurately record energy usage, you are responsible for the use and condition of the appliances and equipment beyond the meter. You need to be alert for the possibility of faulty wiring conditions or improperly operating appliances or equipment. They can cause an increase in the amount of energy you use, which will be added to your bill.

The time of year, length of the billing cycle, and rates – The time of year, length of the billing cycle and changes in rates may all have an impact on the amount of your bill.

Estimated bills – We typically read your meter every month. But, sometimes we are unable to do so. At these times, we issue an estimated bill. If a reading is estimated too high or too low, the billing will be corrected when the next actual reading is taken. Your current bill may appear higher or lower than usual because of previous low or high estimates.

Seasonal use – Changes in weather can affect the amount of energy you use. For example, that unexpected cool and rainy weekend might have prompted you to turn on the heat for the first time in six months, but since it was a time of year when you wouldn't have expected to use the heat, you may have forgotten about it until the result showed up in your bill. The same is true for air conditioning, electric space heaters, dehumidifiers and other seasonally used items.

 Content Editor

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