More of us are home these days and that means we’re using more energy as well. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts consumption of electricity will increase by almost 2% in 2021; the price of natural gas delivered to electricity generators will increase 37%; and the coal share of electricity generation will rise to 21%. As numbers increase across the board, you might start looking at your energy more closely.
Now that you’re more aware of your energy usage (especially with big winter storms blanketing the area lately) you’re probably scrutinizing your electricity bill more closely. And have noticed reading it is no easy task. To comply with state laws, many energy companies are required to put a lot of other information on your bill, which is why it can run multiple pages and seem daunting to review. Agway doesn’t provide energy bills but understands the importance of being able to decipher what’s on there, how to read it and what’s the most important information on it. The following breakdown should do just that.
Top of the Bill
Before you call us (or any energy services company), take a moment to locate the top area of your bill. It’s normally a great resource with your name and contact information, account number, total amount due for the month, date of the bill and due date. How to contact your energy company will also be in this section.
Bill Tip: Your account number will always be in this section. Once you find if, you’ll never lose it again!
Meat of the Bill
The meat of the bill is a breakdown of your energy usage readings, basic service fees and sometimes a map or chart showcasing those numbers. There will often be a section comparing the difference between the current meter reading and the previous readings. This area will be helpful to determine if your usage is more or less than average.
Bill Tip: This is where you’ll find the itemized section of your bill, including the charges for each section.
There are a number of terms on your bill that you may not understand. Here are three main ones to look for.
- kWh – A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of measure for electricity usage using speed and time; wattage measures how fast electricity is being used and time measures how long the electricity is being consumed at that speed.
- Therm – A therm is the unit of measurement for your natural gas use over time.
- CCF – This is how your gas company measures the amount of energy you consume. One therm is equal to 100 cubic feet of natural gas (CCF).
Of course, your monthly energy costs will always depend on where you live, what type of home you live in and how many people live with you. If you get in the habit of reviewing your bill every month, it will be easier to spot a mistake, adjust your usage to save money or to simply understand how your usage affects the numbers.