Understand Your Usage

Electric usage varies from day to day and month to month, depending upon a variety of factors including your daily habits, the weather, and the time of year. An increase in your electric usage could be caused by a variety of factors:

Our schedules and habits have changed which means our energy use may change, too.

Your electricity bills may be higher as you and your family are spending more time at home. Electricity keeps you safe, comfortable, productive and engaged.

Here are some important energy saving tips to better manage energy use. These are simple things that each of us can do to be mindful of our daily habits and be energy smart.

  1. Turn lights on and off as you enter and exit rooms, turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Take advantage of natural light whenever possible.
  2. Turn off set to sleep mode or unplug used electronics or appliances around the house.
  3. Open the refrigerator or freezer only when you need to.
  4. Run the dishwasher only when it is full.
  5. Shorten showers to save on water heating.
  6. Wash clothes in cold or warm water rather than hot, and rinse in cold water.
  7. Use your outdoor grill to save energy when cooking.
  8. Close fireplace dampers when not in use to keep heated or cooled air from escaping up the chimney.
  9. Set the thermostat as comfort permits. Each degree change up when heating of down when cooling can increase energy use by 3%.
  10. Keep insulated drapes or shades closed in summer.


It's simple math:


For example: How much energy does my water heater use?

A water heater = 4,500 watts
Divide that wattage by 1,000 to get the # of kilowatts = 4.5 kilowatts
Multiply the kilowatts (4.5) by the number of hours used (3) =13.5 kWh (number of kilowatt hours used to heat your hot water during a day)
Multiply the kWh (13.5) by the cost (13.1 cents per kWh*) = $1.77 cost per day to heat your water

*The total cost per kWh for a typical customer on Service Classification No. 1 is 13.1 cents.
(RG&E delivery is 7.8 cents, Supply is 4.0 cents, and surcharges are 1.3 cents.) Your supply rate may vary - check your bill.



  • To estimate the hours used, think about how your appliances operate – does the appliance cycle on and off all day? Is it on steady for 8 to 10 hours?
  • Look at your bill to understand your billing cycle – it may run mid-February to mid-March, for example, so what you call your March bill may be half February!
  • Look at your bill to find the cost of your delivery charges (page 2) and your electricity supply (page 3).

Now you have an idea of the impact of spending more time at home!


Access our FREE tools to help you better understand your electricity use


Malfunctioning Appliances

A sudden increase in energy usage may indicate a problem with an appliance, heating or cooling system, or water heater. A spike can also be caused by a period of very cold weather in the winter. Don't forget that since billing cycles are about a month long, sometimes it can be a few weeks before the effect of a cold snap will be seen on your bill.


Get the kids involved!

Fun and educational activities for your family – join the Power Adventure Team

Explore the Electric Universe! With information for everyone, you can find a section tailored to many ages and interests. Learn about electricity and safety at home or in school, gain wise energy use tips that are good for the environment and play games! You can also explore the Energy Underground and learn more about natural gas. Whether you like playing games, doing activities or learning about inventions, these are the sites for you!