Why Does My Electric Bill Fluctuate So Much?

There are at least five reasons why your electric bill fluctuates so much, some are avoidable, and some are not, but there’s a workaround for theme that can help you not only reduce the fluctuation severity, but also eliminate your electric bill almost entirely in some cases.

I am an electrical engineer with more than a decade of experience, and I will tell you what these five reasons are, and what the solution to get rid of these fluctuations and the entire electric bill if possible.

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

5 Reasons Your Electric Bill Fluctuates So Much

Change in Season & Behaviour

This is the biggest factor that causes a fluctuation in the value of your electricity bill as it is related to a big change in your behavior and the appliances you use.

For example, when you move from spring to summer, you will mostly start operating the air conditioner more often in order to combat the high temperature levels.

And air conditioners are among the biggest consumers of electric energy during summer.

Even between the different months of the same summer season, the need to use the air conditioner and the amount of electricity it uses differs from one month to another depending on the temperature and the heat waves that happen in each month.

And the air conditioner, despite having the biggest impact on your electric bill fluctuations, is not the only appliance that you use more during summer compared to the previous months.

For example, during summer, you might stay up late at night, weather to do something you like, to host a party, or maybe to work on your laptop, and you might use the lighting for longer hours.

Also, during summer, you need to change clothes more often, which means turning on the washing machine more often, and thus, consuming more electricity.

And the same applies to the fluctuation that happens in winter’s electric bills as you start using the air conditioner on the heating mode, or maybe, you use electric space heaters.

Season Fluctuations in Electricity Bill

Also, you use the electric water heater more often and for longer hours during winter.

But even if you use gas or any other fuel for heating water, the system still needs to use electric pumps in order to circulate the water all the time.

Add to all of that the fact that during winter, you and others who live with you might start spending more time inside, which also increases your usage of electricity by operating the different appliances and the lights more often and for longer periods of time.

And that might also be different from one month to another during the same winter season, which causes your electric bill to fluctuate during winter.

The solution is to be more conscious about how you and others use the electric appliances during the months of summer and winter, and adopt the good habits and ways of saving money on the ac bill.

And try to turn off all the appliances and lights when you don’t need them.

Daylight Saving Time

Changing the time at the beginning of autumn or summer can also be a reason for fluctuations in your electric bill.

For example, when we bring the clock one hour backwards, at the beginning of Autumn, the night will start to begin one hour earlier compared to the previous month, which means that if you are used to staying up until 11 pm every night, you now need to use the lighting for one more hour.

And accumulated for thirty days, the electric bill might get significantly higher compared to the previous month just because of using the lights for longer times.

Add that to the changes that happen because of the cold weather like the use of space heating and water heating systems, and your electric bill might fluctuate even more severely.

Once again, monitor your behavior with using the lighting when the time changes and try to only use the lights for the spaces where you are and turn them off when you are not there, even if you leave for minutes.

You may consider using dimmer switches as they save energy and money, or using LED bulbs that save electricity.

TOU Rates

TOU (Term-Of-Use) rates are electricity rates that are used by electricity companies in order to charge customers different rates for the usage of energy based on the time of withdrawing electricity from the grid, where they charge higher rates during the peak demand hours.

This is why you might notice that your electric bill increased after installing a smart meter.

The aim is to encourage consumers to shift parts of their electricity usage from the peak demand hours into the off-peak hours in order to distribute the load on the grid and allow the grid to serve consumers properly without having to expand the grid in order to work with a full-load for few hours and at half load for the rest of the day.

This is why electricity prices fluctuate at some places.

You might ask now:

How does the TOU tariff cause fluctuations in the electric bill?

It is related to the change of behaviour in electricity usage that happens between the different months.

For example, some companies might consider the peak hours to be from 4 pm to 8 pm every day, and they charge a higher rate during these hours.

TOU Rates Fluctuate Electric Bills

And they consider the time from 11 pm to 7 am to be the super off-peak hours, and they charge lower than the normal rates during these hours.

And for the remaining hours, they charge the original off-peak prices.

But notice that even the peak-hour rates might be different from one season to another, highest during the months of summer.

During spring or autumn, you might not use a lot of electricity during the peak hours.

But during summer and winter, you start using more energy through lighting, air conditioning, and heating systems, which causes more consumption of electricity in kWh’s.

And now that most of this extra consumption comes during the peak hours, your electricity bill could literally double or even triple by combining the two effects of more kWh’s consumption and the higher rates.

The solution to this is to try to check out the rates charged by the utility company that supplies you with electricity, as the TOU rates and hours differ from one company to another, and try to shift as much of your energy usage away from the peak hours into the off-peak or even super off-peak hours.

For example, with the rates in the previous example table, you could choose the best time to do laundry to save energy after 11 pm when the rates are at their lowest.

Also, you the use of an electric water heater timer saves you money as you can set them to turn on the water heater at 6 am, and turn it off at 7 am during the supper off-peak hours.

No Month Is Like The Other

Regardless of all the previous reasons such as the changing in weather, the longer dark hours, and the peak hour rates, your electric bill will still fluctuate from one month to another because your consumption of electricity will never be the same over different months.

For example, during a certain month, you might spend more time outside with your friends and use less electricity at your home or apartment.

Or you might stay at home because of the lock-down and use the different appliances more often and for longer hours.

Probably you took a few days off and stayed at home because you were sick.

Or maybe, during a certain month, someone visited you and stayed at your place over the weekend, and for sure, they had to use the lighting, hot water, air conditioner, fan, space heater, their laptop, …etc.

Maybe it was December and you had family member coming to spend few days with you.

All of these changes happen from one month to another, and they cause the electric bill total value to change across months.

Changes or Problems in Appliances

If none of the previous reasons above has happened between two consecutive months and you noticed that the electric bill has fluctuated a lot, then it might be that a certain device or appliance went broken or had any problem with it.

A broken and leaking water heater can increase electric bill.

A bad breaker can cause a high electric bill.

Electric Bill Fluctuates from Bad Devices

Faulty thermostats can cause a significantly high energy bill.

Or maybe you have just added a new appliance like an AC in your bedroom, or you switched from central heating that uses gas or diesel as a fuel to electric space heaters.

If you haven’t added any new appliances, then a faulty device or system might be the reason.

Try to notice any device that is causing an unusual noise or emitting unusual heat when it’s on or even off, or if the thermostat is not following the setting you have defined for operating the cooling or heating systems, or if the water heater or hot water pipes are leaking at certain points.

Or maybe, your air conditioning system didn’t get the necessary regular maintenance.

All of these could fluctuate your electric bill, and you should act on locating the problem and fixing it, or calling a professional to fix it for you.

Conclusion – Stop Electric Bill Fluctuations without Paying a Dime!

Is that even possible?

Yes, it is.

Sometimes, it is hard to shift big parts of your energy consumption outside the peak hours, especially when it is too hot or too cold, and you need to use electricity to cool down or heat up your place, even if the electric rates where high during the peak hours.

And sometimes you have to host guests for a few days for Christmas or any other occasion.

Your electric bill will never be the same no matter what you try, even though you can minimize these fluctuations and lower the bill value with the tips I gave with every point above.

But you can still reduce the fluctuation even more, or even eliminate your electric bill entirely, through generating your own electricity, and for free!

This is what you can do with solar panels that can eliminate your electric bill by generating more than your consumption during the day, giving the excess to the grid, and then taking back your need from the grid at night when you need to use electricity.

This is called the net metering tariff system.

The savings can be significant and you can sometimes minimize your bill to include only the fixed service fees that are related to maintaining the grid and the meter, but these are in the range of $15-$30 per month, and are negligible compared to the original bill value.

You might ask now:

How can you do that without paying a dime?

In some countries, like the US for example, solar companies like SunPower can help consumers find financing solutions for installing a complete solar system without any down payment.

Stop Electric Bill Fluctuations
If you were a homeowner who lives in the US, and you are interested in finding out if you qualify for full funding for a solar plant, you can visit SunPower’s website, fill in the zip code of your location, complete a short survey about your home and your usual electric bill, and they will contact you to arrange for a free appointment to discuss the possible funding options.

SunPower is one of the biggest companies in the world and their professional team will give you the right advice to help lower or even eliminate your bill almost entirely.

I hope that this article has helped you know why your electric bill fluctuates so much between different months, and what you can do to lower this fluctuation and lower your bill in general.

If you still need any help or have any question on this topic, please, let me know in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂

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