Winter hits many people particularly hard with electric costs due to the heat having to be constantly on to combat cold temperatures and reduced daylight hours. The colder temperatures also mean that more people are staying at home rather than enjoying outdoor activities like they would in the warmer months. Let’s not forget how all those Christmas lights end up sucking both power and taking money out of your wallet. If you want to be prepared for your winter electric bills here are a few tips that will allow you to easily budget for your electric bill each month.
1. Find your meter and read your kilowatt usage
Meters for houses are generally easy to find and allow you to read the usage. If you are in an apartment, but responsible for your own electric bill this can be much harder for you to find on your own. You can see if you can talk to your landlord or the maintenance workers for your apartment and ask them to point out the meter to you.
2. Compare the current kilowatt usage on the meter with that from your last bill
Your electric company will usually provide the tally of the total kilowatt hours on your electric bill from the previous month. You can take that and subtract it from your current meter read to find out how many kilowatt hours that you have used in for this month.
3. Find out how much your electric company charges you per kilowatt hour.
You should be able to find a rate per kilowatt on your previous bill. If you were charged 10 cents per kilowatt hour you would take your kilowatt hours and multiply it by .10. For example if you used 1500 kilowatt hours then your total electric bill for the month before fees and any applicable taxes would be $150 for that month.
4.Be aware of any taxes or fees that may apply in your area
If you do have any taxes for electric you should be able to see these on your monthly bill from the electric company. Most taxes are a percentage on the dollar, so you should be able to easily figure out the amount of taxes applied to each bill. If your state has a 7% tax on electricity, using the previous example of the $150 bill, you would pay $10.50 in taxes.
This is useful information because although your electric company will read the meter for you, this method can help you to figure out how much energy your appliances use and whether it is time to upgrade your refrigerator or heating system. For those with older homes that use electric heat, this method can help you to determine a more efficient way to heat your home without running up the electric bill. If you are looking into alternative energy for your home this will also let you know the monthly electric demand for your home and use it to figure out the best alternative method for your needs. Now that you know how to calculate your own electric bill each month, you no longer need to be surprised every time the bill comes due. With this information, hopefully you can find yourself some ways to save money on your energy costs each month.