What do I do if my electricity bill is higher than expected?

If you receive a power bill that is higher than normal, or more than what you would usually expect, you may have some questions. Firstly, you will need to know if there have been any changes affecting your usage, so you can alter your behaviours or budget for differences.

Here are some of the common factors that could lead to higher or lower electricity prices.

Seasonal difference

When you are comparing your electricity bills, make sure you are taking an apples-to-apples approach - bills can change from summer to winter, as you begin to use different appliances.

For example, your winter heater may be less efficient than your summer air conditioning unit, meaning your bills will be higher.

A cold snap or heat wave could also have an impact as you could be more reliant on appliances to beat the temperatures. When you get your bill, think over your overall billing cycle and see if you can remember any changes in temperature that could have seen you ramp up your energy usage.

Rates change

One other reason for a difference in the amount sent to you on your bill could be a change in the rates your electricity supplier is charging you.

You may have received a letter warning you of this change and when it was likely to take effect. If you do get any correspondence such as this in the mail, it is wise to make note of the dates when such changes will occur, so you won't be surprised and can budget ahead if necessary.

A change in rates could be another incentive to do an electricity comparison to see if you would be better off with another power company that could perhaps provide lower rates.

Change in household

Have you added a new housemate to the mix? Any change to the number of people living in your house, including house guests, has the potential to change your usage patterns.

Another explanation for a higher than usual bill could be that you have invested in new appliances. These may have the potential to suck up more power off the grid than you had expected. Small measures such as turning them off when not in use could help you reduce the next power bill.

Estimate rather than actual bill

Sometimes your electricity company may give you an estimate of what your bill is likely to be, rather than an actual reading. This is based on your usage from the previous year, so if you have recently made changes around the home to be more energy efficient they may not be reflected in your bill.

However, this will be balanced by your next bill which should be lower again to compensate for this. 

What else?

If the change in your bills can not be explained by any of these factors, it might be worth chatting to your electricity supplier to ensure you are being charged the correct rates and there are no problems with your bill.

Posted by Liam Tunney.