Texas Energy Choice | December 9, 2016

Calculating Your Average Electricity Bill

Texans might not have to worry about the plunging temperatures found in other parts of the U.S., but even Lone Star State residents want to know the best way to manage their electricity use. After all, managing average electric usage also comes in handy when the temperatures are soaring and that air conditioner is running 24/7. We’d all prefer to have more money to spend on the things that matter to us and our families.

You might be interested in figuring out how to calculate your average electricity bill before the month is over at a time when you can still make some changes in behaviors. This means that you can potentially lower your average electricity usage and start taking charge now.

We talked to StarTex Power’s Sylvia Garcia to learn more about the average energy cost of appliances and suggestions for how to better manage your average electric bill.

Using Technology to Help Calculate Your Electric Bill


Savvy monitoring of your average electric usage begins with the smart meter that has already been installed by your utility in your home. A smart meter is exactly what it sounds like: Unlike older, traditional electric meters, a smart meter electronically monitors and stores your home’s electric usage information in 15-minute intervals, all day, every day. Smart Meter Texas™, the collaborative effort used by several of Texas’ utilities, is the entity by which people can monitor their meters.

Creating an account with Smart Meter Texas is the next step, Garcia says, in getting a handle on your average electricity usage. “It’s helpful to know what your consumption is,” she notes. “You can log in every day to see your usage to compare [average electricity usage] the days you’re there to the days you’re not.

“It’s very user friendly,” Garcia adds. “That way, you don’t have a surprise bill when you receive it. You can see what you’re doing on those days to hit high peak consumption and then you can make adjustments to lower your usage. Behavior modifications can make the biggest impact.”

Average Energy Cost of Appliances

Having a good handle on the average energy cost of appliances in your home is another important step toward monitoring your average electricity usage. Below are some of the potential bigger electricity hogs in your home.

Consumer Reports notes that appliances account for about nine percent of your average electric bill. These are some things to consider if you’re trying to reduce average electricity usage via your appliances:

  • The age of your refrigerator. Current ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerators use 50% less energy than a fridge from 2001.
  • The age of your washing machine. Consumer Reports recommends replacing any machine more than 10 years old since it likely costs $180 more annually to run than a newer model.
  • How you run your dishwasher. Consumer Reports recommends running the dishwasher only when it’s full and to use the “rinse hold” cycle sparingly since that cycle alone uses 3-7 gallons of hot water per use.

Think you have a good handle on which appliances cost more to operate in your home? You can test your appliance energy knowledge with our quiz or read more posts about which appliances are the best energy savers.


3 Tips to Lower Your Average Electric Bill

Garcia offers the following suggestions to help you change your average electricity bill:

  • Pay attention to your thermostat. Garcia recommends keeping your thermostat at 76 degrees in the summer months and at 70 degrees in the winter when you are in the home. If you leave your house for more than eight hours, lower (or raise if it’s the summer) the thermostat so you’re not heating or cooling empty space. “Every time I leave the house for work [in the summer], I raise the setting to 80 degrees,” she remarks. “When I come home, I lower it in intervals of two degrees.” Garcia estimates her average electric bill has gone down about 60% as a result of this behavior change. “It’s had the biggest impact on my bill.”
  • Unplug appliances such as microwaves, phone chargers and coffeemakers when they’re not in use. “That can help you save on consumption,” Garcia observes.
  • Make turning off your appliances easy by using a power strip. Garcia has a strip that turns everything off. Turning that off is the last thing she does before leaving her apartment.

Read more about how to read your StarTex Power electric bill.

How do you try to manage your average cost of utilities and your monthly average electric bill? What energy saving tips do you use? Share the good news and help us all lower our electricity usage.

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