Understanding Utility Bills

If you want to keep your energy budget under control, then it’s important that you understand how to read your utility bills. If you are just opening the bill and paying the amount without taking a look at the details, then you may be paying more than you need to. Plus, understanding how your bills are calculated will help you determine how you can conserve and keep your usage low. Here is a guide to understanding your utility bills, so you can be more in control of your usage and spending. 

Electricity Bill

When it comes to your electricity bill, it shows many ways that your usage is measured. The most important section is what comes from your electric meter. The purpose of an electric meter is to track how much power is used by the occupants of your home. That section will show how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you used during the billing period. For example, if you were at 10,000 kWh at the time of your last bill, and you are now at 10,500, you will be billed for 500 kWh. 

A kWh is a combination of two different measurements. One is speed, and the other is time. The wattage is a measure of how fast you are using electricity. The time in hours is how long you were using it. Remember that 1 kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts. To calculate kWh, you need to see the wattage of the device or electronic appliance you are using, and multiply it by how long you used it for. This will give you the watt hours. Then you divide by 1000 to get the kWh.

The key thing to remember is that not all devices that use electricity use it at the same rate. A big-screen TV needs more power in a shorter period of time than your phone does to charge. Knowing this, you can take steps to use less of the high-powered appliances and devices so that you can conserve power and save money. 

Gas Bill

A standard gas bill will contain three parts. It will show how much gas you’ve consumed, how much the delivery service is charging you, and how much you are being charged in taxes. Unlike with your electricity bill, your gas bill is more affected by market forces. In the United States, you might find that you use your gas less, but are still charged a similar amount from a previous month. That’s because gas companies can increase or decrease the cost of gas based on how much it cost them to acquire it. 

The natural gas that goes into your home is much like the gas you would put into your car. The cost of that gas will reflect what the local and global markets are doing. Luckily, due to national regulations, you may find that you get refunds on your gas bills because the price has dropped between billing periods. 

How much you are charged for delivery is a reflection of what your gas provider feels is necessary. They have staffing, administrative, infrastructure, logistics, and other costs that they have to pay for the service that gets passed on to the consumer. 

Water Bills

Most water bills are made up of two parts. One is the water that you’ve used and brought into your household. The other is the sewage charge, which is a charge to remove the used water from the home. Some of the water that you use may not end up in the sewage system. This is water that you use to water your garden, wash your car, or do anything else that does not require sending it down a drain or a toilet. However, the water utility does not know how much that water is, so they will bill you a sewage charge based on how much you used. 

Remember, that with your water, if you leave a tap running, you will be charged for that water even if it goes right back into the sewage system. Once it enters your home, it is counted. That’s why it’s important to use as much as possible that comes into your home, otherwise you are paying for water that serves no purpose. 

Your utility bills aren’t overly complicated, however many people want to do whatever they can to reduce their usage. The more you know and understand, the more efficient you will be able to be. 

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