Why is my electric bill so high? [How to lower your bill]

Published April 15, 2024

If you’ve been wondering why your electric bill is high, you’re not alone. But according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average electricity cost in January 2024 was 15.45 cents/kwh. That’s a decrease of 0.1% since January 2023. So if you still find your electric bill increasing, there may be issues you need to address in your own home. The most common contributing factors are outdated appliances, thermostats, lightbulbs, or insufficient insulation. Here’s what you can do to help reduce your household energy usage.

How to save on electric bills

Use energy efficient appliances

If your stove, dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer isn’t an ENERGY STAR® approved product, it’s probably using too much energy. ENERGY STAR® is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Products with the blue ENERGY STAR® label are backed by the government as the most energy efficient. They not only certify appliances like the ones listed above, they also certify windows, thermostats, water heaters, heat pumps, and electric vehicle chargers. Find out how you can upgrade any of these appliances here.

Seal air leaks with proper insulation

If your walls and attic don’t have proper insulation, you could be losing heat through the top of your house. And if your windows aren’t sealed properly, you could be losing money through the cracks (metaphorically, of course). According to ENERGY STAR, adding insulation to your attic can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bills and replacing drafty windows can lower your cost by an average of 12%.

Replace outdated lightbulbs

Did you know LED lights use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs? You should replace ALL light bulbs in your house with LEDs. Consider installing a dimmer to reduce wattage. When you’re not in the room, turn the lights off! If this is something you or others in your family struggle with, try using motion sensing lights that will turn off automatically when nobody is around.

Check your appliance usage

So you’ve switched to energy efficient appliances already, but your electric bill is still high? You might want to reduce how often you’re using these appliances, and at what times. Electric companies charge higher prices during “peak” times. Those are the periods of the day when customers are using the most energy, like the hottest hours in summer and the coldest in winter. Those will vary, but National Grid says in Massachusetts peak hours are between the hours of  8 A.M. to 9 P.M. Monday through Friday. If you aren’t already, try following these tips to cut back:

  • Run your dishwasher or laundry dryer during off-peak hours.
  • Wash clothes with cold water. 90% of electricity used during a wash goes toward heating the water.
  • Clean out your dryer vent. The dryer may take longer to dry clothes when there’s lint in there.
  • Choose your microwave over the conventional oven when you can.
  • Use a window fan instead of central air or an AC unit.
  • Turn the thermostat down 7-10 degrees when you’re sleeping.
  • Unplug appliances when they aren’t in use. A microwave plugged in but not in use could use 2-7 watts of power. It might not cost you a lot, but having multiple appliances in standby mode over a long period of time can make an impact. Every little bit counts.
  • See How to save money on your winter energy bills for more tips.

Save on taxes with energy efficient home upgrades

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 introduced tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficient home improvements. You can claim up to $3,200 in tax credits for qualified improvements like windows, heat pumps, and biomass stoves or boilers. Visit irs.gov for more information.

Take advantage of state programs like Mass Save®*

It’s in the state’s best interest to keep the overall usage of their energy grid down. That’s why programs like Mass Save® offer discounts, rebates, and even free services to make energy efficient improvements to your home. Massachusetts residents can schedule a free energy assessment during which the assessor will recommend upgrades, and you may even get some no cost power strips out of it.

Webster First is proud to be a Mass Save® partner. We offer no interest Mass Save HEAT loans for qualifying improvements. Those include recommended attic, wall, and basement insulation, heating systems, hot water heaters, heat pumps, window replacements, and more.

Learn More

*Some restrictions apply and offers are subject to change or cancellation.
Visit MassSave.com/HEATLoan for full details.