There are a number of reasons your bill could be higher than you expect.
• Weather. A long spell of cold weather, like the deep freeze we experienced this winter, increases most energy bills. This winter was the second-coldest winter in 20 years and the cruelest day, March 3, was the chilliest on record for that date, says David Phillips, Environment Canada’s weather guru. Consider our Monthly Equal Payment Plan to even out high seasonal bills.
• Increased use in your household. If you have a new baby, live-in relatives, tenants or house guests in your household, you can expect higher energy use.
• Change in lifestyle. Have you added a home office or been keeping the house warmer? Perhaps you’ve bought a hot tub or you now have teenagers taking more showers. All of these lifestyle changes contribute to higher energy use.
• Home renovations or additions. You’ll use more energy to heat and run your home during renovations and by adding floor and window space. If you made energy improvements, but your bill still went up, chances are that the consumption savings were more than offset by increased gas costs. Check the actual unit consumption, and if it has gone down, then you have saved over what you would have spent otherwise.
• Longer-than-usual billing period. It may be that your energy consumption isn’t actually higher than usual, but that your bill covers a longer period of time. Extra appliance use. You may have added new appliances like a computer, or have been using them more.
Other possible factors:
• Does your home need “weatherizing”? Ceiling, floors and walls may need more insulation. What about weather stripping or caulking around doors, windows, pipes and cracks?
• Inaccurate thermostat. Make sure your home-heating thermostat is properly calibrated. The higher the setting, the more energy used. If you aren’t paying attention to turning down the thermostat at night or when no one is home, you’re using more energy than you need to.
• Extended winter lighting requirements. Did you put up holiday lights? As the days are shorter, lights are on for longer periods of time in the winter. If you use outdoor security lights that stay on all night, consider putting them on motion sensors to come on only when needed.