High Bill Concerns


Why is my bill so high?

We are happy to assist members with usage concerns and billing questions.  When you get your electric bill each month and notice how much it is, please remember there are several factors that will determine whether it decreased, stayed the same or increased. Before contacting Steuben Rural Electric about your high bill, look into these possible reasons that may explain why your bill was higher than average.  If you still have concerns, please contact us at (607)776-4161 or (800)843-3414.

  • Review how much power you've used for the last 12 months.  We call this the kilowatt hour (kWh) history.
  • This history is provided for you on every bill and is also available on SmartHub.  You can compare your most recent month to the same month one year ago.
  • Weather fluctuations might be a factor in any major differences and is a good place to start your search.  This can also be reviewed on your SmartHub account.
  • The kilowatt hours you see are the main driver of costs on your electric bill.
  • Check to be sure this is a true high electric bill.  Are there other charges beyond electric service?  Any additional service fees (i.e. deposits, connection fees or returned check fees)?
  • Have any past-due amounts from a previous bill been added to the total?

Check the number of days that are billed for your electric use.  This varies from bill to bill due to the number of days in a month and a billing cycle may be a bit shorter or longer due to the number of days in the month.

  • Check the kilowatt hour total by month.  From the history, are the winter months higher?  This may indicate some form of electric heat, increased hot water heater use or space heaters being used in the home?
  • Do the summer months indicate air conditioning?  Were temperatures higher or lower than normal during the period?
  • The additional heating or cooling load will cause an increase in electric use.  Heating and cooling your home averages around 44 percent of your total energy use.  Using space heaters, livestock heaters or vehicle block heaters in the winter can dramatically increase your energy consumption.  Running a dehumidifier or watering of lawns, gardens and animals in the summer months can increase your energy use.
  • Lighting can sometimes damage your well pump, sump pump or appliances increasing run time of these devices.  If underground wiring-insulation is damaged, an increase in electrical use may occur when the ground is saturated with moisture.
  • If you leave your home for an extended period of time for business or vacation, any appliance you leave plugged in or connected may continue to use electricity even while you are gone, especially your hot water heater, freezer, refrigerator, HVAC system, landscape irrigation, well pump, etc.
  • Most of us realize if the TV and lights are on, but we forget about these items.
  • No two households use energy the same way, so comparing your energy bill to your neighbor's is like comparing apples to oranges.  It is best to compare your current use to your past consumption history.
  • Determine if the size of your household has increased or did someone stay at home.
  • Have you added a new swimming pool or hot tub in your back yard?
  • Do you have hobbies that include the use of power tools, ovens and other high electrical resistance tools or appliances?
  • Lighting, refrigeration, cooking and appliances account for 56 percent of the total energy use in the normal household.  The location of refrigerators and freezers is very important.
  • Never place a refrigerator or freezer in direct sunlight or in unconditioned space such as a breezeway, garage or out-building.  The refrigerator or freezer will have to work harder to overcome excessive heat during winter months.
  • Make sure that your refrigerators and freezers have adequate ventilation.
  • If an appliance is more than 15 years old, the efficiency of that appliance may be decreasing significantly and requiring more energy to do its job.
  • It is important to clean or replace the condenser, coils or filters on some appliances regularly.  You may need to replace the appliance itself.  Many times old electrical wiring will have loose connections resulting in increased electrical use and create potential safety hazards.

Has there been any underground excavation recently?  If you have underground wiring, the electrical wires may have been damaged resulting in an electric fault.  Many times these faults are high resistant and won't trip your breaker.  When this type of fault occurs, the electricity flows directly into the ground thus increasing your electrical usage.