2021 High Bill FAQs

Why is My Electric Bill Higher Than I Expected?

When temperatures go down in winter, heating needs go up, which increases energy use in homes and other spaces.

Even if you keep the thermostat at the same temperature inside, the furnace has to work harder when it gets colder outside. That increases your energy use and therefore increases your energy bill.

In February, our area experienced persistently frigid weather over the course of several days. Many of us used space heaters, electric blankets, fireplaces and other supplemental heating sources, in addition to running the furnace, to keep warm.

Our water heaters were working hard, too, which means energy bills will be higher than in previous months. Space heating and water heating are the two biggest drivers of energy use in most households, accounting for over 50% of a home’s energy use during the winter months.

February was colder than January, so your bill for February electric use will likely be higher than the previous month’s bill unless you are enrolled in our Levelized Billing plan which provides consistent bill amounts month to month.

The energy costs on your bill are passed through from our power supplier, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. This energy cost will vary month-to-month, but demand costs reflected in your kilowatt-hour rate remain stable.

How Can the Co-op Help Me?

Community Electric Cooperative offers our Levelized Billing plan to help keep monthly electric bills predictable and manageable. Please contact the co-op at (757) 242-6181 to sign up for this free option that averages electric use over a 12-month rolling period to avoid big fluctuations in monthly bills.

If you’re concerned about your electric use, contact our member services department at (757) 242-6181 to learn more ways to help lower your electric use. We’re here to help our members use energy wisely.

If you have difficulty paying your bills in full, please contact us at (757) 242-6181 or email us to review payment assistance resources and discuss payment options.

Locally owned and governed by the consumer-members we serve, Community Electric Cooperative is here to help.

What Can I do to Reduce my Energy Use During the Winter?

Here are some helpful energy efficiency tips that can lower your energy use in the winter and will help keep energy bills down:

  • Set thermostats to as low as comfortably possible. Programmable thermostats are very helpful in controlling the temperature.
  • Turn the temperature on water heaters down to 120 degrees F or lower, which will also prevent scalding.
  • Open curtains on sunny days to use radiant heat energy from the sun.
  • Space heaters will increase electric use unless they are used to heat the room that is being occupied; close doors and vents in unused rooms and turn down the thermostat considerably.
  • Use ceiling fans in a clockwise rotation so they push warm air back down.
  • Keep the fireplace damper closed when not in use.
  • Use smaller appliances like microwaves and slow cookers instead of the oven.
  • Find and seal air leaks around doors, windows and outlets.
  • Make sure adequate insulation is installed in the attic to keep the heat in. Find the proper R-Value of insulation at Energy Star.

Why is My Electric Bill Higher Than My Neighbor’s Bill?

Your energy use depends on many factors, including your house’s square footage, age, insulation, the efficiency and age of the HVAC system, etc. Neighbors with the same floor plan and HVAC system could have dramatically different energy bills due to factors like how many people live and work in the home, what the thermostat is set to, how many appliances and devices are used, how many lights are on, etc.