Why your energy bill is so high

Electricity is essential to any home, yet it’s something we often put out of mind… that is until the bills come in. Regardless of how careful we think we might be, sooner or later we all receive a bill that’s higher than expected. It’s known as ‘bill shock’ and it can sting – especially when it comes to electricity.

So why is your electricity bill more expensive than expected? We take a look at a few possible reasons.

Household reasons Energy plan/supplier reasons
  • Standby appliances: Standby power consumption or a ‘phantom load’ is said to contribute up to 10% of your energy bill. Televisions, computers and microwaves are among the biggest culprits, so switch off at the wall where you can.
  • Lights: While a single light bulb might not use much electricity, it all adds up. As the nights become longer in the winter months, you will likely end up using your lights more, adding to the energy bill. If you haven’t already, install energy efficient bulbs to cut costs.
  • Air conditioner/ heater:  Many of us count on our cooling and heating systems in peak seasons. If you’re running your appliance for too long, or it’s operating in a non-insulated or large area, it will not run inefficiently and it will quickly run up your energy bill.
  • Exceeded energy allowance: Some power plans come with an energy allowance for which a certain rate is charged. If this is exceeded, customers are charged a higher rate for usage beyond their allowance.
  • Tariff structure: Customers must be aware of their tariff structure to properly monitor their energy expenses. If you’re on a time of use tariff, ensure you’re not operating things such as water heaters or pool pumps at peak or shoulder periods where it can be helped.
  • Estimated meter reading: Unless your home has a smart meter installed, someone from your distributor will need to physically check your electricity meter. If it’s inaccessible they may estimate your usage. An estimate is indicated by an ‘E’ next to your meter reading. Many retailers simply take estimated readings and later send settlement figures.


When it comes to electricity, being diligent pays off. If you’re bill is higher than expected, stop and think about what has been different this payment cycle. If you need a hand managing your electricity usage, there are plenty of new smart technologies which help monitor usage and reduce standby usage.

If all else fails, give your energy provider a call and ask them if there has been a change to rates or if you’ve lost a particular discount for some reason – If this achieves nothing, then perhaps it’s time to compare energy providers and considering a switch.

Share this article