Ya, I know you read it every month when you open your mail.
The bill from every power generation company is different from other companies because of local regulations and rates. But, there are some common things to look for.
Look at your bill and answer these questions:
Are you paying the right rate for your electricity?
They may have you listed for the wrong rate or you may be missing a special rate. Some power companies offer a lower rate for folks who use electricity to heat their home. Some power companies have special rates for segments of their population. If you do not know write the question down in your notebook to ask them. They may have a special rate for old over weight fat folks like me. I checked and my power company does not but maybe yours has a special rate for you. You will not know unless you ask them.
Are there different prices for using power at different times of the day?
Some power companies charge a high price during “peak” hours and a lower price during “off peak” hours. At times of the day when there is a high demand, they charge more for their electricity. You can save by doing the laundry, running the dishwasher or cooking during off peak hours. Watch out some power companies change the schedule of peak hours seasonally. The may have one set of high price peak hours during the summer air conditioning season and a different schedule of peak hours in the winter. Typically, summer peak hours are during the heat of the day. They include the time when most folks get home from work and crank up the air conditioner. In the winter, the peak hours may be shifted toward morning to cover the time when folks turn their thermostat back up after a cool night.
Does the price of power change after you have used a certain amount of electricity? For example, I have seen bills where the price is lower for the first 1,000 kilowatts. Then a higher rate is charged for the next 500 kilowatts and an even higher rate beyond that. Knowing that the price changes may help motivate you to reduce your use to avoid the high prices.
Is there a demand charge?
This is more common for business and industrial power users but some homeowners see it too. The demand charge is a fee based on the highest amount of power you used during the last 12 months. If you have party with a house full of friends and relations and end up with a power bill that was unusually high that month, you may be paying for it for a whole year. Under this scheme, the electric company charges you a “demand charge” for making that extra power available to you. It will haunt you for the next 12 months.
If you son decides to do some welding on that wreck of a car he bought, do not let him plug the welding machine in at your house. Tell him to take it to his friend’s house.
Can you buy the power from one company and have it delivered by another?
In some parts of the USA we can buy electricity, on a somewhat open market, and have the local power company deliver it just as if they made it. You may be able to do this to your advantage. If you use a lot of power in your big house, you should investigate this option. You pay one company for the commodity and the other for the delivery. Competitive pricing is supposed to lower your cost.
If you cannot answer these questions to your satisfaction by reading your bill, call your local power company and get the answers.
The money you save may be your own.
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