Understanding your electricity bills

Air conditioners get a bad wrap when it comes to pushing up your power bill. Airsential Air Conditioning explores the hidden factors you may not realise impact on your energy bills.

It could be the age of your dishwasher, last week’s thunderstorms or an errant texter-and-driver who totalled a power pole three streets away.

Regardless of how efficiently you run your air conditioning or how pedantic you are about switching appliances off at the power point, there are always many factors you cannot control when it comes to getting a handle on rising power bills.

Whether it’s due to aging infrastructure or the monopoly within the market place, much like microwave dinners and mobile phones, climbing bills have become a staple of the modern household.

Although the average Australian household is consuming more electricity than ever before, this rise in usage does not necessarily correlate faithfully with an acute spike in your electricity bills.

If your latest electricity bill is suspiciously high, consider the following factors before forking over your funds.

Check your meter number is correct. If you’ve recently moved and are able to access your meter safely, make sure your meter number iscorrect. To do this, look to see if the meter number printed on your bill matches the number on the meter at your residence. If the meternumbers don’t match, you may have been mistakenly charged. Contact your energy provider for more information.

Estimated meter reads. Estimated readings are taken when the meter reader can’t access to your meter or a technical issue occurs. To find out if your bill is an estimated reading, look for ‘Estimated reading’ written on the back of your bill under the pricing calculations. If it doesn’t have this statement, your bill is based on an actual meter reading. If your previous bill was an ‘Estimated reading’ and your new bill is based on an actual read, there may be a variation on the bill to account for the difference between the estimated and actual readings. If you used more energy than was estimated, the additional energy usage will be included on your new bill. Likewise, if you used less, you will be credited with the difference.

New meters. If you’ve recently received a new meter, the recorded energy consumption on your statement may change. This could be because your old meter may have been unknowingly faulty.

Of course, none of the factors can help when you have teenagers who insist on running the A/C at sub-Arctic temperatures. For a full checklist of hidden factors that may be pushing up your power bill, head to http://www.energyaustralia.com.au/residential/account-tools/bills-payments/understanding-your-bill.