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How To: Read and Understand Your Electricity Bill

July 20, 2016

We often get customers calling in or making enquiries about solar power and solar hot water. One of the first things we discuss with them is their electricity bill, how many kilowatt hours (kWh) per day do they use, or how much power is being used for the hot water?

What we uncovered during this process, is that more often than not, people do not understand their electricity bill – they simply pay it!  As electricity prices continue to rise, we decided to create a simple guid to explain how to read and understand your electricity bill.

How many kilowatt hours (kWh) per day am I using?
On your electricity bill you will find a graph similar to the sample below – this shows a great snapshot of your average electricity daily usage – and usually will compare to previous bills.

On this example – the average usage is 29.16 kWh per day.

How do they work this out?
On your electricity bill, you will also have a table that looks similar to our sample below. This is the detailed usage statistics, which advises how much you’ve used and at what cost your usage is.

Adding 5700 Residential (2262kWh) and 5701 Residential Controlled Load 1 (363kWh) Will give you your total energy usage (2625kWh).
Dividing this figure (2625kWh) by the number of days in the billing period (90 days) results in your daily usage (29.16kWh).

5701 Residential Controlled Load 1, Generally Hot Water
This reading is what many refer to as “Off Peak”. Residential Controlled Load 1 is generally your hot water usage. It runs everyday from 10pm until 7am and, as you can see above, is charged at a lower rate, in this example, 6.22 cents per kWh.

We can work out, how much of the 29.16kWh daily usage is actually made up by Residentail Controlled Load 1. 363kWh divided by 90days, gives you 4.03kWh per day.

If you do not have a Residential Controlled Load 1 or 2 reading on your bill and your hot water is heated by electricity then you are being billed at the highest rate! An electric hot water service will generally have a 3.6kW element in it. To heat a tank of water takes about 2 hours which equates to 9.6kWh or 7.2kWh –  a significant use of power!

That’s basically all you need to know to understand your electricity bill. Hopefully we have explained it well enough but please feel free to contact us here at North Coast Power & Water if there is anything you are not sure of.

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