How to Interpret Your Utility Bills

Utility-BillAnyone who has taken the time to actually look at their utility bills can attest to the fact that utility company billing departments must not be speaking the same language as the customer. With charts, graphs, and words the average customer has never heard of splashed across the bill, it is no wonder that people do not understand exactly what they are paying for every month. However, it is possible to better understand your bill so you can keep a closer eye on what you are being charged for in each billing cycle.

Utility Bill Guide   

The first thing to review on your utility bills is any company-related information that is included. This may be information might include payment options, penalties for past due amounts, special fees that may have been incurred (such as late payment or reconnect fees), how to contact the utility company, and how to inform the utility company of new addresses for billing purposes. If you have moved, the utility bill will include information on how to notify the utility company as well. Some bills may also include a key that explains unusual acronyms or symbols that appear in the bill.

Utility Bill Readings

Probably the most important part of your utility bill—and the one that most seems as if it is written in an obtuse language—are the readings. The readings from your meters determine how much your bill will be each month, so they are important to understand (ironic, considering they really are the most difficult for some people). Readings include your current and previous usage, and are obtained by a meter reader who comes to your home to record them. Electric readings are shown in kilowatts. The beginning reading from this month should match the ending reading from the previous month, so a good practice is to compare the two to ensure there are no errors.

Comparison Charts

Utility bills contain a chart, normally near the readings section of the bill, which shows your usage over the past year by month. This chart helps you understand the readings section a little better, as you can review to see months when your usage was higher or lower than others. This enables you to make adjustments as necessary in upcoming months where your usage may have been higher the previous year and keep your utility bills lower.

The Bottom Line

The final part of your utility bills to check is the balance due, and, quite often, that is the only portion of the bill many customers see. Unfortunately, without monitoring your utility bills regularly, a problem in your home could lead to a utility bill that is significantly higher than previous months. Therefore, to help keep your balance as low as possible, take the time to look over that bill each month to be sure there are no errors. Also monitor the bill and take note of whether your usage slowly climbing, which could indicate a problem in your home.

If you want help with making that balance due a little smaller, give the folks at Spencer AC & Heating a call. They have some great tips to help reduce your energy bill, so visit today.