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High Bill: What to Do

Why Is My Bill So High?


Here is a list of common causes of higher-than-normal power use. Note: electric meters rarely malfunction. But when they do they usually run slower, not faster.

Space Heat - Forgetting to turn the heat down or off for just a few days can have a big impact on your bill. If you leave an 8-foot baseboard heater on for 24 hours, the extra energy will cost about $3.00* a day or an additional $180.00 on your bi-monthly bill.

Portable Electric Heaters - A 1,500-watt heater costs $1.03 to run for 8 hours, and if run everyday would add $61.80 to your bimonthly electric bill.

House Guests - House guests mean you will use additional hot water and may heat your house or cook more than usual. This can have a big impact on your bill.

Additional Appliances - When adding a large appliance such as a freezer, second refrigerator or hot water tank to your existing appliances, your electric bill will definitely go up. When buying new appliances, make sure they are energy efficient by using the yellow energy guide to compare yearly energy costs. (If you replace an existing appliance, buying an energy-efficient model will usually decrease your energy usage.)

Leaky Hot-Water Faucet - Summer or winter, a leaky faucet sending 2 drips per second into the sink or tub means 420 gallons of water per month down the drain, along with your money. If it's a leaky cold water faucet, that's a loss of about $3.75 per month, and $6.00 a month if it's a leaky hot water faucet.

How You Cook - You tend to use a consistent amount of electricity each day with an electric range. When doing home canning or an unusual amount of baking, the amount of electricity used will increase. It is also inefficient to place small pans on a large stovetop element.

Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs, Saunas - The addition of one of these can significantly increase your bill. Use timers to automatically turn them on when you're going to use them.

Open Fireplace Damper - Leaving the damper open while the heat is on is the same as leaving your front door open. It could double your heat bill. Always close your damper after the fire is out. Fix or replace a poorly-fitting damper. And for an extra layer of protection, install and use glass fireplace doors.

Variation in meter reading and season - We read your meter about every 60 days but the period can vary slightly. A few days more can add charges to one bill, a few days less can mean a somewhat lower bill, particularly if a winter rate change is involved. Bills are not always strictly comparable from year to year.

For more energy and dollar saving tips call our Conservation Help Line at (206) 684-3800.


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Seattle City Light -- 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, Seattle, WA 98104-5031 -- 206.684.3000
Mailing address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, P.O. Box 34023 Seattle, WA 98124-4023