Ways To Save On Your Electricity Bill
When looking at ways to save on your electricity bill, you should first understand which part of the bill you will actually be able to affect. Then we can look at the ways to reduce the amount of electricity you are being charged for by replacing or upgrading items within your home or learning to use electricity more wisely.
How to Read your Electricity Bill To Understand Where You Can Save Money
To find out how much you can save on your electricity bill, we will look at the most recent bill from a southern Alberta family of 4 living in a 1200 square foot detached home (with identifying numbers and companies changed for privacy).
Image: An electricity bill from an Alberta family on a variable rate plan in January-February 2020
Transmission charges cover the cost of installing, maintaining and operating the high voltage infrastructure. This infrastructure is used to move electricity from where it is produced to the distribution system’s substation, where it is converted to a lower voltage for consumers. The transmission charge is calculated based on how much electricity is used during the billing period.
Delivery charges cover the cost of getting the electricity to your home from the distribution system. They go to the distribution company to cover what they spend on installing, maintaining and operating the infrastructure (wires, poles, transformers, etc.) used to convert and transport the electricity from the transmission system to your home. The delivery charge is calculated by combining a fixed fee, regardless of your use, and a variable fee, which depends on how much electricity you used during the billing period.
The franchise fee is charged by your municipal government to the utility company for exclusive rights to distribute to the area, as well as compensation for the public property used for distribution (poles, etc.). It is then passed on to you on each bill.
This covers the administration costs of billing and customer service.
Energy Charges and Transaction Fees
These are the only charges you can really control and we have highlighted them on our example bill. They are calculated by multiplying the meter reading in kWh (your actual energy usage in kilowatt hours for the billing period) by the current electricity rates or transaction fees per kWh. Now, let’s look at ways to reduce this amount on your next bill.
For more information on energy charges, please visit the Alberta Utilities Commission.
How To Save On Your Electricity Bill
Make the switch to LED lighting! The average LED light uses 70% less energy than an incandescent bulb. To compare, a 60W incandescent bulb (a bulb that uses 60 watts per hour) puts out 800 lumens of light. To get the same lumen (light) output, an average LED bulb would only use 12 watts! Some LEDs are even more efficient and can exceed this lumen/W output.
Here is an example of potential energy savings for pot lights in a typical kitchen:
Let’s say you have five 75W incandescent bulbs and you use them approximately four hours a day, seven days a week. It would amount to 3832.5kW per year. If you were to change these out to five 16W LED pot lights it would equate to only 817.6kW per year. Based on ENMAX’s current locked-in rate of $0.0639/kWh, it would save you $192.65 per year to switch out those 5 lights to LEDs!
Home automation can also be utilized to make your home more efficient and save on your electricity bill. The following are some of the ways that home automation can help:
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Electric Heating and Cooling is Expensive
Try to avoid using electric heating or cooling as it uses a large amount of electricity. Portable electric heaters draw a lot of electricity and are much less efficient than heating with natural gas. Average AC units use around 7 kW/h, which means that they will cost you up to about $10/day when running full time (based on $0.0639/kWh which is ENMAX’s current locked-in rate).
March 15, 2019