Our Member Account Representatives are always ready to assist you with your usage and billing questions. Before you contact us, please read through the checklist below to help diagnose your inquiry.
Review how much power you've used for the last 13 months. We call this the kilowatt hour (kWh) history. Your usage history is provided for you on every statement in the upper right corner. Compare your most recent month to that same month one year ago, keeping in mind that weather fluctuations may be a significant factor in any major differences.
The kilowatt hours you use are the main driver of costs on your electric bill. A typical Corn Belt household will average about 1,000 kWh of energy use per month.
True Electric Bill
Check to be sure this is a true high electric bill. Are there other charges beyond electric service? Any additional service fees (i.e deposits, connection/disconnection fees or returned check fees)?
Have any past-due amounts from a previous bill been added to the total?
Are there ancillary charges added to the bill for other Corn Belt products or services (surge protection service, security lights, etc.)?
Don't forget about state and local taxes.
Days of Use
Check the number of days that are billed for your electric use. This varies from bill to bill due to the number of days in a month and a billing cycle may be a bit shorter or a bit longer so as not to make your bill due on a weekend or holiday.
Is the number of days greater than other months in question because of meter readings or meter reading cycles? Is the daily average significantly different from other months in question?
Check the kilowatt hour total by month. From the history, are the winter months higher (indicating some form of electric heat, higher hot water heater use or heaters being used on water beds)?
The additional heating or cooling load will cause an increase in electric use. Heating and cooling your home can average over 40% of you total energy use. Using space heaters, fireplaces, livestock heaters or vehicle block heaters in the winter can dramatically increase your energy consumption. Running a dehumidifier or watering of lawns, gardens and animals in the summer months will increase your energy use. Hot tubs and pool pumps can also add to your electric bill.
Corn Belt offers Levelized Billing to help average out seasonal fluctations.
I wasn't Home...
If leave your home for an extended period of time for business or vacation, any appliance you leave plugged in or connected will continue to use electricity even while you are gone. Your hot water heater, freezer, refrigerator, HVAC system, landscape irrigation, well pump, etc. keep on running when you're not home. Before you leave, make sure to turn off or unplug appliances that aren't needed and adjust your thermostat to keep heating/cooling costs down.
No two households use energy the same way, so comparing your energy bill to your neighbor's is like comparing apples to oranges. It's best to compare your current use to your past use. Consider the following:
Lighting and Appliances
Lighting, refrigeration, cooking and appliances can account for over 50% of the total energy use in a typcial household.
The location of refrigerators and freezers is very important: Never place a refrigerator or freezer in direct sunlight or in unconditioned space such as a breezeway, garage or out-building. The refrigerator or freezer will have to work harder to overcome excessive heat during warmer months.
Make sure that your refrigerators and freezers have adequate ventilation.
Do you have an older fridge in the basement or garage?
If an appliance is more than 15 years old, the efficiency of that appliance may be decreasing significantly and requiring more energy to do its job.
It's important to clean or replace the condenser, coils or filters on some appliances regularly. You may need to replace the appliance itself. Many times old electrical wiring will have loose connections resulting in increased electrical use and create potential safety hazards.
Is My Meter Bad?
Meters are often blamed for a higher bill, but are rarely the cause. In fact, if a meter is malfunctioning, it's more likely to run slow instead of fast. Fewer than 2 out of 1,000 meters prove to be defective when tested.
If a member requests a meter test, Corn Belt will come out to replace the meter and have a third party test the suspected meter. The member is charged a $50 fee for a meter test, which is refunded if the meter is found to be defective.
If you feel your concern has not been addressed by the information above, please call us at 800-879-0339 and we'll assist you in identifying the cause of your high usage. If needed, our Energy Advisor can come out to your home or business to evaluate your situation and suggest ways to conserve energy.