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Factors that Influence Your Bill
The primary factor that impacts your monthly electric bill is the energy used by the electric appliances, including heating, cooling and lighting, in your home. Your energy usage is shown on your bill as “Usage.”
Electricity is a Bargain
Electricity is one of the few things that we typically use first and pay for later. We can't see electricity; therefore it can be difficult to understand its value.
Take a look at what you can do for just a few pennies with the help of electricity:
- Use a 75-watt lamp for 14 hours for about 10 cents
- Refrigerate food for a day for about 25 cents
- Operate a window fan for about 1.23 cents an hour.
- Cook a meal on an electric range (using all the burners and the oven) for about $1 an hour.
- Use the self-cleaning feature on your oven for a total of 43 cents.
- Wash a load of dishes in a dishwasher for about 8.6 cents.
Electricity really is a bargain. What else can you buy that costs pennies and does so much work? You definitely couldn't do this amount of work or hire someone else to do it for the same value.
The amount of power that a household consumes depends on how many appliances there are and the amount of time they are in use. Some appliances or machineries take a lot of energy to operate, so it will result in more use of power.
We pay for electricity in kilowatt-hours (kwhs). One kilowatt-hour is the equivalent of using 1,000 watts for one hour or using a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours. When these kilowatt hours add up, electric bills get higher.
Be More Efficient
According to statistics, the average family's use of electricity is increasing at a rate of 4 to 7 percent per year. For that reason, it seems reasonable that if we become more aware of how we use these kilowatt-hours, we can learn how to use them more efficiently.
There are several things you can do to use electricity more efficiently. You will find that your electric heat, air conditioner and water heater will typically make up the greatest percentage of your electric bill, so these are the areas in which you may want to concentrate your energy management efforts.
There are other things you can do as well, such as change furnace filters at least once a month or according to its manufacturer’s guidelines, use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home.
This diagram illustrates how energy can be used in the “average” American home. Each of these areas affects the power costs associated with your individual lifestyle and energy usage.
To find out how your specific home compares and where you’re using the energy that is reflected on your power bill, click here.
Blue Ridge Energy is working to help our members be wiser energy users. Ask for our Energy Savers booklet in one of our offices or find tips in our Resources area.