Why Do I Have A High Utility Bill?

Why Do I Have A High Utility Bill?

In 2018, the average monthly electric bill was $117.65 per household in the U.S. But of course, this is just an average, which means some homeowners paid less and others paid more. If your utility bill is higher than the national average, it’s important to find out why and what you can do to lower it.

Here’s what you should know if you receive a high utility bill:

What Causes High Utility Bills?

There are many factors that could contribute to a high utility bill, including:

  • Price of Electricity
  • Peak Hour Usage
  • Errors
  • Standby Appliances
  • Old Appliances

Price of Electricity

The cost of electricity can vary from minute-to-minute, so if you notice a spike in your electricity bill, it could be because of rising electricity prices. Compare your most recent bill to some of your lower electric bills to determine if the rate has increased.

Peak Hour Usage

Many people aren’t aware that utility companies charge different rates at different times throughout the day. You are charged more for electricity that is used during “peak hours,” which are the hours where the demand for electricity is the greatest. 

Peak hours can vary, so it’s best to contact your utility provider to find out when rates are the highest. This way, you will know when you should avoid using a lot of electricity.


It’s possible that the electric company misread your meter prior to issuing your bill. This is rare, but it could happen, especially if you live in an apartment building where there are multiple meters that are read at once.

Standby Appliances

You may think that you’re conserving energy by putting your electronic devices in standby mode, but that’s not necessarily true. Many appliances continue to consume electricity even when they are powered off or in standby mode. To fix this problem, unplug these devices instead of keeping them in standby mode.

Old Appliances

Manufacturers now offer a wide variety of energy efficient appliances, but this wasn’t always the case. Older appliances are not designed to be energy efficient, so the age of your kitchen and laundry room appliances could lead to a high utility bill.  

Electric-powered home

What Uses the Most Electricity in Your Home?

Many appliances and devices in your home are powered by electricity, but some consume more electricity than others. If you want to save money on utilities, it’s important to know which appliances and devices are responsible for increasing your electric bill. 

Some of the appliances and devices that use the most electricity include:

  • Heating and Cooling
  • Water Heater
  • Lighting
  • Washer and Dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • TV

The heating and cooling system is the biggest consumer of electricity in your home. In fact, it’s estimated that heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of your electricity bill.

Hand adjusting the temperature on a programmable thermostat

How Can I Lower My Utility Bills?

There are plenty of simple ways to reduce your electricity consumption, so you won’t have to make major sacrifices to lower your bill. Try these tips:

  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Making this adjustment can reduce your electric bill by 3-4%.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Preset the thermostat so the heating and cooling system is not running nonstop during the hours you’re at work. 
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs. Replacing the standard light bulbs in the fixtures you use the most with energy efficient bulbs can save $75 per year.
  • Plug your electronics into a power strip. Turning off the power strip when the devices are not in use will cut off the supply of electricity and prevent these devices from wasting electricity.
  • Close the blinds and curtains when it’s sunny out. This will keep heat out of your home so your air conditioner will not have to consume as much electricity to keep you cool.
  • Wash your clothing in cold water. Ninety percent of energy consumed by a washer is used to heat water, so making this switch will drastically reduce electricity costs. 
  • Take shorter showers. Cut two minutes off your shower time so your water heater won’t have to consume as much electricity. 

Making these changes is not hard, but it will pay off in a major way. The more energy-saving strategies you implement, the lower your next electric bill will be.

Don’t Break Your Budget On Utility Bills

If your utility bills are climbing higher and higher, there’s no turn off the lights and live by candlelight. Instead, simply implement some of these strategies to reduce your electricity usage and save money on your monthly utility bills!