Why is my energy bill so high?
On this page:
- High energy bill checklist
- 1. How’s the weather been lately?
- 2. Are you or your family spending more time at home?
- 2. Did you have any visitors?
- 3. Are you using old appliances?
- 4. Have you recently renovated?
- 5. Is your household energy efficient?
- 6. Is your meter number correct?
- 7. Did energy prices go up?
- 8. Was there a change in your billing period?
- 9. Is your energy reading correct?
- 10. Have you been back-billed?
- 11. Has your meter been changed?
- 12. Is it an estimated bill?
- 13. Have your discounts been applied?
- 14. Has your concession/rebate been applied?
Is the cost of your energy bill a shock to the system and a burden on your bank account? It’s easy to overuse energy without realising, resulting in an expensive energy bill.
To make matters worse, energy prices are currently on the rise, meaning that your bill may continue to go up. Luckily, there are some easy ways to reduce your energy bill.
First, consider what your actual costs are. In order to help you figure out why your energy bill is so high, we have made a list of factors that may influence your energy usage. Also, we have some tips on how to manage these factors to help you save money on future bills.
High energy bill checklist
In this troubleshooting guide we’ll help you get to the bottom of why your most recent energy bill may be higher than usual and what to do about it.
1. How’s the weather been lately?
The weather can have an enormous impact on how much energy your household uses. In the hotter stickier months, using an air conditioner to cool your house down could be a major reason behind a spike in your energy usage. On the other hand, colder days in winter can push up your energy use if you’re spending more time indoors and using more electricity to stay warm.
So, if your bill spike is due to such seasonal weather changes, you’ll need to think about finding better ways to approach energy usage. For example, here are some useful tips on how to save money on your energy bills this winter.
2. Are you or your family spending more time at home?
Since the recent pandemic, many people have favoured working at home. More time at home will likely mean that you are using more energy than usual and this will contribute to the cost of your energy bill. If this is the case, you might be eligible for a range of rebates, including a work at home ATO deduction or other energy rebates available in your state.
2. Did you have any visitors?
Perhaps your in-laws came to stay for a couple of months or you were babysitting your sister’s children. If the size of your household has suddenly increased, your energy bill is often quick to follow suit. This is also the case when you have a household member(s) spending more time at home, for instance, during the school holidays. Just think about all those extra dishes, laundry and hot showers and how energy use stacks up.
3. Are you using old appliances?
Your energy usage also depends on how updated your appliances are. For instance, operating appliances that are past their prime often means that you’re using a larger amount of energy than those with newer and well maintained appliances. Ensure that your appliances aren’t using any more energy than is necessary by regularly maintaining and updating them where necessary. If you’re looking at replacing an old appliance, be sure to read our article on how buying the right household appliances can save you hundreds in annual running costs.
4. Have you recently renovated?
The construction process during renovation can lead to a rise in power consumption, which in turn leads to high energy bills. If you have extended your home and now have larger living spaces to light, heat and cool, you may even have a higher daily energy usage once your home reno is finished. Whether you’re considering a full renovation or a few changes, check out these energy efficient and budget friendly renovations ideas.
5. Is your household energy efficient?
If you’ve been hit with an abnormally large energy bill, perhaps it’s time to improve the eco-friendliness of your home: for instance, you can do this by installing LED lighting and using lower temperature settings on your washing machine. Your starting point should be to conduct your own home energy audit to understand where you’re using the most energy and where you can improve the efficiency of your home.
6. Is your meter number correct?
If the meter number printed on your energy bill doesn’t match the meter number at your residence, you may have been incorrectly charged. Therefore, you will need to notify your energy retailer’s customer support service during their operating hours. If you have a smart meter your energy bill won’t have a meter number, so again you will need to call up your provider’s customer care to confirm your meter number.
7. Did energy prices go up?
Most people are aware that energy prices are rising across Australia and this is likely to increase your energy bill. Luckily, it is easy to switch to a cheaper energy plan to help you save money. Head to our energy home page for information on how to find a cheaper energy plan, what to look for and how to switch energy providers.
8. Was there a change in your billing period?
Often the number of days in a billing period differs between bills. If you have a higher than usual energy bill it might just mean that there have been more days in the current billing period than the previous one. To make sure, you should compare the dates on your previous energy bill to your current energy bill.
9. Is your energy reading correct?
If you have access to your electricity or gas meter, it’s worth comparing the current reading printed on your bill to the reading on your meter.
10. Have you been back-billed?
If you have been back-billed by your energy retailer, your energy bill is sure to be higher! This is because you’ll be required to pay for the energy you’ve used in the current billing period, plus any outstanding costs you owe. You could also be back-billed by your energy provider if you were previously undercharged for your energy usage, if there was delay in issuing your bill or if you have not paid a previous bill in full. Note, there are time limits for how long you can be back-billed if your energy retailer is at fault. For instance, in some states it could be up to 9 months.
11. Has your meter been changed?
You may notice a variation in the amount of energy recorded on your bill if your meter has been recently changed. It may be a possibility that your previous meter was faulty and recorded your energy consumption incorrectly.
12. Is it an estimated bill?
If your energy retailer can’t access your natural gas or electricity meter, they will give you an estimated meter reading. This estimate may be based on your energy usage from the corresponding period last year or your previous billing period. If your current bill is an estimated reading and your previous bill was based on an actual reading, you may notice a variation.
When your energy retailer gets a proper reading of your meter, depending on your real energy usage, you may have to pay additional charges on your next bill if you used more energy than was estimated. Or if you used less energy than was estimated, you will be credited with the difference.
13. Have your discounts been applied?
Perhaps the discounts offered with the energy plan you have signed up to have now expired. In this instance, if you’re not on a fixed contract you can easily connect with another electricity or gas retailer that offers plans with tariffs and discounts more suited to your household and bill payment habits.
On the other hand, you may not have been eligible for a discount during this particular billing cycle, for instance, if you didn’t pay your bill on time.
14. Has your concession/rebate been applied?
It might be that the concession or rebate you are eligible for hasn’t been applied by your energy retailer to your bill. So if you have an eligible concession card, it’s a good idea to check if your details have been correctly registered with your energy provider by calling up its customer support service. You may even be able to check your details yourself if you have an online account.
Ready to switch your energy plan and start saving? Head over to our energy comparison tool to compare some of the available plans in your area.