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Why is my bill increasing?

In the months following unusually hot or cold weather, you may see higher energy bills.

Two factors can impact your bills. The amount of energy used – measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) – and the weather. The hotter or colder it gets, the more energy you may be using. Air conditioning and heating systems are running longer, working harder and using more energy. Here are some factors to consider and tools to help you take control of your energy use.

Mother Nature

Your energy usage can creep up quickly when heating or cooling your home which means higher than usual energy bills. There are a lot of factors at play—from how well your home is insulated to your furnace or AC working overtime to keep your home comfortable. Homes with electric heating systems can see especially large jumps.

Extra Billing Days

It's normal for the number of days in each billing cycle to change from month to month. More days per cycle will cause your bill total to be higher. You can see the number of days in your billing cycle on your bill or in your online account.

Electric Heat/Heat Pumps

Even if you have lowered your thermostat, extremely cold weather can require your heat pump to change how it operates. When the temperature outside falls below a certain degree, supplemental heat may kick in to help your system run. In extreme cold periods, when heating needs are the highest, most of the heat provided comes from the less efficient supplemental heat. This is how your bill can increase, even if it seems you haven't done anything differently. If you used the emergency heat option on your heat pump, you most likely will need to manually change your thermostat back to normal or you will continue to use supplemental heat.

Gas Furnaces

Even if you rely on your natural gas furnace as your home's main heat source, your electricity bill can still increase. Your natural gas furnace most likely relies on an electricity-powered blower to help move hot air through your home's ductwork. That electricity-powered blower is operating longer and harder to keep the same temperatures in your home when the outside temperature plummets.

Portable Space Heaters

In extreme cold periods, many people supplement their normal heating system with portable electric space heaters. Electricity to run just one 1,500 watt space heater can cost more than $4 a day, or $30 a week and $130 a month.

Wood or Pellet-burning Stoves

These heat sources may also indirectly impact your electricity bill. While higher-efficiency stoves are now available, they still require venting and blower fans to exhaust fumes and smoke from your house.

How Do I Know My Bill is Accurate?

Your bill includes important details. Look for these items on your monthly bill or online account:

  • My Bill Comparison View your billing history and compare charges from previous month or year.
  • Energy Use See how your home is using energy – in both dollars and kWh. Analyze how your energy usage compares across different years and the weather impact.
  • Home Energy Analysis Using information from your Home Energy Profile gives you a better picture of your annual energy use, find what is using the most energy in your home and get personalized energy-saving tips.
  • Estimated Bill or Actual Reading Most bills are based on actual usage. If you have a Smart Meter, your home's energy usage is continually sent to I&M. If you have not received your smart meter yet, you probably have a meter that we can read remotely from a vehicle in the street. This is more efficient, safer and ensures almost everyone receives a bill that reflects an actual reading.
  • Number of Days Billed Billing periods can vary between 28 and 35 days, which can affect the bill total.

If I Have a Smart Meter, How Can It Help?

If you have a Smart Meter your home's energy usage is continually sent to I&M. You can monitor your use 24/7 online at My Energy Use. You can see how your home is using energy in both dollars and kWh. The usage is shown by the 15-minute, hour, day, month or year. With this information you can set energy goals and budgets along with proactive alerts.

My Energy Use Dashboard

Energy management tools that give you more control over your home’s energy use and bill are available online 24/7 at My Energy Use. You can see how your home uses energy, explore ways to reduce energy use and get energy-saving tips! If you have received your Smart Meter, High Bill Alerts and Weekly Energy Reports are available to help you manage your budget.

High Bill Alerts: Alerts are emailed mid-month if your home’s monthly usage is noticeably higher than last year’s usage.

Weekly Energy Reports: Receive weekly emails that highlight how your home uses energy. Plus, get easy, affordable tips on how to save.

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