Why was my bill so high this month?

Generally, December and January bills are the highest of the year (fuel and electric bills both). Here are some reasons why your bill is higher this month:

The highest bills generally come during the coldest, darkest months.
  • Higher rates. We are not happy about it either. The truth is that the average electric bill of 700 kilowatt-hours has increased from $138 to $170 over the past year. Just since December of 2011, rates are up about 9 percent. This increased the average member’s bill by about $14.50. The primary culprit is fuel, which we burn to generate power.

√ The Fuel and Purchased Power Charge, adjusted quarterly, went up about 2 cents per kWh in December. This fee covers costs associated with purchasing power (from Aurora Energy downtown and Anchorage, for example) and fuel to operate our power plants. It is a direct pass through to members. It affected the average member’s bill by about $13, an 8 percent increase.

√ The Utility Charge increased slightly from $0.088 to $0.09 per kilowatt-hour in January. This represents a one percent increase to the average electric bill, or about $1.50. The Utility Charge covers the following costs: maintenance on power plants and substations, interests on loans as well as wires, power poles and transformers.

  • It’s cold. We are plugging in vehicles and you may have an electric heater running somewhere. Hopefully, you are using a timer to plug in your vehicle and limiting the use of electric heaters.
  • It’s dark. Did you plug in Christmas lights over the holidays? If so, did you use LEDs? In addition to Christmas lights, we tend to turn on more lights in December and January due to the darkness.
  • Holiday visitors. It’s fun to have a full house for the holidays, but visitors do add to our bills. They are taking showers, turning on lights and plugging in electronics. We’re running the oven more often to cook holiday meals.
  • Your billing cycle may have been longer last month. Normally, meters are read and billed for a period of 28 to 30 days. During the holidays, however, these cycles can be longer resulting in a higher bill. Take a look at your average daily kilowatt-hour usage to see if it compares to past months.

You can take steps to lower your electric usage. Here are a few places to start:

  1. Use a timer to plug in your car.
  2. Use electric heaters sparingly.
  3. Consider putting a timer on your electric hot water heater.

For more ideas, visit our Ways to Save page.

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