High Bill Concern

Explanations for a higher-than-average electric bill.

Higher-Than-Average Bill?

Your electric bill can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Before you contact Roseau Electric about your high bill, look into these possible reasons that may explain why your bill was higher than average. If you still have concerns, please contact our Member Services department at 218-463-1543 or 888-847-8840.
troubleshooting a high bill
When you get your electric bill each month and notice how much it is, please remember there are several factors that will determine whether it decreased, stayed the same or increased. A few of those factors to be considered are the weather, did you have any family visiting or staying a little longer than normal, cooking, lighting, equipment maintenance, heating or cooling and more. Below is an expandable list of some things to check or consider.
Increased heating or cooling

When extreme weather conditions exist outside, the temperature inside is adjusted. During the hottest months of the summer and the coldest months of the winter, our members often increase their energy use. Even if you do not adjust the temperature on your thermostat, colder- or warmer-than-average weather probably had your system working overtime to maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

Even if you don't use electric heat, you may still see an increase because electricity powers the blower motors on propane or wood furnaces and boilers.

Longer billing periods

Roseau Electric's billing cycles do not exactly correspond with the calendar months, so cycle lengths can vary. Sometimes holidays and meter reading schedules can shorten or extend a billing cycle. Look carefully at your bill under Meter Reading Details to view the Days Served to determine if the number of days you were billed was higher this month.

Addition of new household electronics or lifestyle changes

When looking at your electric bill, consider any recent purchases or upgrades that may be drawing additional power in your home.

Between the onset of smart technologies, electric vehicles and other electronics and gadgets, we are becoming more "plugged in" each year. Newer electronics are also becoming more energy efficient, and upgrading can result in immediate energy savings. Newer, high-definition LED TVs use a fraction of the electricity older liquid-crystal displays (LCD) and plasma screens do. And don't forget about DVD/Blu-ray players, digital cable boxes, Wi-Fi modems and sound systems. When shopping for new electronics around the home, look for the yellow EnergyGuide label to compare annual estimated energy use to buy the most energy efficient model for your home. Also, look for ENERGY STAR® certified electronics.

Electronics aren’t the only culprits either. Home upgrades may also be adding to your electric bill. Hot tubs, water features and fountains often surprise homeowners when they learn how much electricity they really use.

Also consider how much time you are spending at home. When the kids are out of school during the summer, they may operate the TV longer during the day, or when the whole family is at home for the holidays, your energy usage may increase. Was your child home from college or did you have friends and family staying with you? Increased laundry and water usage can drive electrical usage up.

Inefficient appliances or needed repairs

The efficiency of household appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers has dramatically increased over the past few years. However, older appliances in your home may be losing efficiency, or a needed repair may be what’s drawing more power.

Just a small leak in your water heater could make your water heater work overtime as it refills and continuously reheats. That old refrigerator in your garage may be worth turning off if it’s not being put to good use. If it’s time to shop for new household appliances, choose those that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR® rating. Roseau Electric also offers rebates on select electric appliances. Contact us to learn more!

Can a meter malfunction?

Members often ask us if their higher-than-average electric bill could be due to a meter that is malfunctioning. Meter malfunction is rarely the reason your electric bill rises. In fact, when a meter does malfunction, it may slow down or stop or not send in a reading. Your meter is actually a great tool in helping track down usage concerns as it automatically submits a reading every hour. If you would like additional help reviewing your meter readings and usage, contact us today and schedule a home energy analysis and let our energy management experts help you determine what's making the biggest impact on your electric bill.

Home energy assessment

Roseau Electric's energy experts just might save you more than you think. Over the years, our experts have uncovered inefficient equipment, malfunctioning equipment like wells or pumps, lifestyle adjustments that add up, and other household changes you can make to save you hundreds of dollars per year. Our energy experts are here to help you make the most of the energy you use.

Contact our Member Services department today at 218-463-1543 or 888-847-8840 to learn more about a home energy analysis (electric evaluation). This service is provided at no additional charge to cooperative members.  The member is required to meet our energy expert at your home or business for the scheduled appointment.

Understanding Heating Degree Days (HDD)

Heating Degree Days (HDD) are a measure of how much (in degrees), and for how long (in days), the outside air temperature was below a certain level. The base temperature of a building is generally the temperature below which that building needs to be heated. The base temperature generally used in the U.S. is 65 degrees.

The energy consumption of building heating systems is more complicated to compute than the energy consumption of appliances because energy usage of heating systems varies with the weather. The colder the outside air, the more energy it takes to heat a building. Essentially, the energy consumption of a building can be calculated by measuring the difference between the desired indoor temperature and the outdoor temperature. As we are talking specifically about heating degree days, we are looking at days when the outside temperature is colder.

If, like most people, you use your heating system to keep your building (residence) at a roughly constant temperature, the amount of energy your heating system uses will vary from one day, week, month, or year to the next - just like the outside air temperature does.

A day with an average temperature of 5 degrees would be considered as a 60 heating degree day.65º (base temperature) - 5º (average daily temp.) = 60 HDD

Another day with an average temperature of 0 degrees would be considered as a 65 heating degree day.65º (base temperature) - 0º (average daily temp.) = 65 HDD

Change a little, save a lot!

Small changes can add up to big savings! Every household uses energy differently, but whether you are living by yourself in a small home or have a large family in a big home, you can take quick and easy steps to conserve energy and save money. Flip the switch. Insulate your attic. Lower the temperature on your thermostat. These sound like simple tasks, but they can rack up big savings!

Additional items to consider

Make a list of appliances or devices in your home.  This list is important because not all appliances use the same amount of electricity, so sometimes we don't realize how much electricity we are actually using. Have you recently added something new? Smart speakers, video cameras, new smart appliances, etc., could be items to consider.

In the winter months, engine block heaters, plug-in space heaters, heat tape, electric blankets, heating pads, animal stock tank heaters are items that will all add to your monthly energy bill.

In the summer months, fans, air conditioning, dehumidifiers, refrigerators/freezers in unconditioned spaces, watering your gardens or animals are items to take into account.

Equipment failure, general wear and tear, or even lightning can damage items such as your well pump, sump pump or other appliances, increasing the running of these devices.  

How to calculate the cost to run an appliance

Do you know what it costs to run a plug-in space heater, or that additional refrigerator in your garage or basement? Here is a general calculation you can use.

Wattage of item  x   hours used per month  x  kwh rate  =  monthly cost

Example: most space heaters are 1,500 watts. If you operate a space heater for 8 hours a day (30 days a month) and your rate is 12 cents per kWh, you would use the following calculation:

1,500 watts x 240 hours/month x 12 cents/kWh / 1,000 = $43.20/month

Kill-a-watt monitor
kill-a-watt monitor
Do you ever wonder how much electricity that old refrigerator in your garage consumes? Or the plug-in electric space heater you are using? You might be surprised how the cost of appliances and gadgets found in our homes can add up on an energy bill each month. A Kill-A-Watt monitor is a great way for members to see how much energy an appliance is consuming in their homes. Roseau Electric members can check out a Kill-A-Watt monitor at our office at no charge to find out how little changes can add up to great savings. Stop in or contact us today to learn more!
Women turning off lights at a business
Business man flipping breaker switch