Higher Bills Aren’t Always What You Think

Please note: November 2018’s average temperatures were the coldest recorded in the past 14 years. The result to many consumers was a higher electric bill than they expected. When temperatures are colder, it takes more electricity use to raise temperatures in a home or business to a comfortable temperature.

The past two months have been cold, the days have been shorter and consumers are entering the time of year when electric bills are generally higher than other months. More on why bills rise in the winter follows in the column below.

A note on your December bill. The November 2018 electric bill included a credit for consumers who received service from Sangre de Cristo Electric Association in the years 1995, 2000 and 2001. If you received credits on last month’s bill, the December 2018 bill does not have credits applied and may give the false impression to consumers that bills rose dramatically in December.

If you have questions about your bill, please call 719-395-2412 or toll-free 844-395-2412.


By Paul A. Erickson, Chief Executive Officer

This time each year, Sangre de Cristo Electric gets calls from our consumers wondering if there’s been a rate increase because their bill is higher than it has been in previous months.

Foremost, we encourage you to call us and discuss concerns about your bill. We prefer that consumers contact us with their questions, rather than be left unsure about charges on their account.

In case you are wondering though, there has not been a rate increase this year. Your electric bill may vary, as it is based on the amount of power you use each month. When a call comes in about a higher bill, the answer to the question about the increased amount, most of the time, is that because the consumer has used more power this month, their bill has gone up.

Often, we need to remind consumers that their usage is generally higher in winter months. Mild weather in recent winters has masked typical consumption during the months of November, December, January and February. In 2017, a relatively mild weather year (the most recent full-year information we have available) average usage for all residential consumers was 602 kilowatt-hours per month. The summer average energy use was 505 kWh (or approximately $78 for an average monthly bill) The winter average was 706 kWh — more than 200 kWh more than in the summer. The average winter bill was about $105. The service availability charge is added to these totals. Depending on the size of your home and number of people living there, your average may be higher or lower than these figures.

It may not seem like you are using more power than you were, say in July, when your bill was lower. Here’s what happens, though. We are all inside more often during winter months. Temperatures drop and heaters run. The TV is on, lights are on more frequently and longer because we have shorter days. People tend to take warmer showers. Water for those showers is heated, and because it’s colder out, it takes more electricity to heat that water to the temperature you find comfortable. Keep in mind, even if you have a gas or propane heater in your home, it still uses electricity to move the warm water or air throughout your house.

Some households decorate with additional lighting for the holidays, which also draws additional power. You may run a space heater to add additional warmth to part of your home. You may have guests in your home using heat, showers and appliances such as hair dryers. You may find you cook more often or have students at home on winter break using PlayStations, computers or other electronic gadgets. Perhaps you use a block heater to start your vehicle. These are just some of the ways energy usage may increase during winter months.

Curious about how much power you use each day? You can track that. Go to our website, www.myelectric.coop. Create an account or sign in to view your usage. On the SmartHub landing page, you’ll see a View and Manage My Usage block. Click on the Start Now button and analyze your usage. This is a great way to track how energy is used in your home or business.

If you have any questions about your bill or usage, please give us a call. We may also be able to help you with suggestions on ways to lower your bill. Call us at 719-395-2412 or toll-free at 1-844-395- 2412 or submit your questions through our website 24/7 at www. myelectric.coop.

Would you like to access your daily electric usage online? It’s easy! And informative.

  1. Visit myelectric.coop
  2. Click on the Sign In box on the upper right hand side of the page.
  3. Log in using your email address and password. If you are a new user, sign up to access the site.
  4. Click on the My Usage box on the landing page.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our knowledgeable consumer representatives at 719-395-2412 or toll-free, 1-844-395-2412.

Graph of electric usage
An example of usage information on SDCEA’s website.