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Your Electric Bill -- How to Read It, Understand It, and Save Money

Updated on October 7, 2012

Two types of electric bills – paper and electronic

Your electric bill is available to you in two forms – your paper statement that is sent to you in the mail, and your electronic statement that is available to you on your utility’s web site.

Take a look at your recent monthly paper statement. In addition to telling you how much money you owe, your bill gives you the total kilowatt-hours of electricity you used during the last billing period (usually about 30 days).

Now take a look at your electronic statement. Go to your utility’s web site. Create a password and log in. Not only will you find your recent statement -- you’ll also find tools you can use to study your household power use and a wealth of information on how to save energy -- and money.

Use your utility’s energy calculator to analyze your bill

Some utilities offer a free online energy calculator. Once you enter your account number, the calculator will provide you with a variety of reports on your home’s energy usage and costs. The calculator has available to it your historical billing records, your electric consumption, weather, records of similar homes in your area and other information to help you better understand how you are using electricity.

The calculator asks you to enter data on your home (such as square feet, type of unit, window type, lighting and appliances). The calculator will then generate data, pie charts, and bar charts that help you understand how you are using electricity and how you might save.

For example, a bar chart shows the actual number of kilowatt-hours you use each month over the last year. Superimposed over that is an estimated breakdown of how many kilowatt-hours you use for lighting, refrigeration, cooling, etc. The calculator will then suggest ways you can conserve energy and save money.

Spend some time with the online energy calculator .You’ll discover how you are using electricity and ways to save money.

For a more accurate way to measure your electric consumption install a feedback power monitor

Remember that your utility’s energy calculator estimates how much power your appliances use. To determine exactly how much power your appliances and stealth-power eaters are using, install a wireless electric meter. You will be surprised to learn how much electricity your house is using -- even though you thought all appliances were turned off.

There are electric meters on the market today that are convenient, easy to operate and not expensive. A wireless electric meter is particularly convenient as it allows you to walk from room to room, read your home's total real-time power consumption as you turn an appliance on and off and unplug it, and learn exactly how much power it uses.

I suggest that you develop a simple protocol (guide) so that you can inventory power consumption in every room of your house.

You can save money on your electric bill by optimizing the use of your appliances based on the results from your meter.

What is the best way you've found to save money on your electric bill?

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    • John Dove profile image

      John Dove 7 years ago

      Thank you, Jim Cain: HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, and to all the other hubbers out there! May your 2010 be happy, healthy and prosperous.

    • jimcain207 profile image

      jimcain207 8 years ago from HUMPHREY, ARKANSAS

      A hearty welcome to Hubpages. Great Hub. I am your fan. Keep writing