Consumer Tips for Lowering Your Utility Bill

From Open Energy Information

Whether you are a residential or commercial customer, your monthly utility bill contains a wide range of data such as how much energy you use, what your current rate is, and detailed fees. Depending on how much information your utility provider offers, you can refer to it along with these tips to reduce your energy use and save money.

For in-depth tips on saving energy and money at home, visit

If you have 13 months of historical data on your bill: See if you're using more energy now than you did during the same month last year.

  • Are you using more energy? Look for ways to use less electricity such as purchasing energy efficient appliances and lighting and using a programmable thermostat.

Look for seasonal patterns of use. Are your utility bills significantly higher in winter and summer? If so, follow these steps:

  • Perform a DIY home energy assessment to look for easy ways to start saving energy, such as lighting, locating and sealing common air leaks, and caulking holes around pipes and wiring. Hire a professional to get a more advanced assessment of places where your home may be losing energy, including insulation and air ducts.
  • Maintain your heating and cooling systems so they perform more efficiently.

If you have access to real-time data on your electricity use: See the energy impact of various appliances and electronics by switching the devices on and off and track your progress from one day to the next. Ask your utility provider if they offer time-based pricing to residential customers (known as time-of-use, tiered, or peak rates); if you're paying more for peak use, try doing certain tasks such as washing clothes or running the dishwasher during off-peak hours. Commercial customers: If you have access to your hourly consumption data, see if you can earn money by participating in programs that pay you to reduce your demand for electricity during peak times.

If you can see how much energy you use compared to your neighbors: See if your appliances, lighting, or heating and cooling systems are using a lot of energy. Perform maintenance on appliances or heating and cooling systems, or consider replacing them with energy-efficient models. Ask about incentives such as prizes for competing against other communities in your area. Commercial customers: Use EPA's free Portfolio Manager to compare your building’s energy consumption against buildings similar to yours.

If you can provide your utility bill data to a third party: Ask for personalized recommendations on saving energy in your home or commercial building.