Know These Two Numbers to Save on Your Electric Bill

Consumers are always looking for ways to cut their monthly expenses, but one area they often overlook is how much money they could save on their utilities, especially electric. Your monthly electric bill provides all the detail you need to understand the various costs of supplying electricity, moving electricity from where it’s produced to your home, and maintaining the local lines and equipment that keep your power flowing. With so much detail in your electric bill, it can be hard to know where to focus.


Knowing how to save on your electric bill comes down to understanding two simple numbers: your electricity rate, and your total energy use. Here are the numbers to look for, where to find them, and how you can use them to reduce your usage and potentially save money.

1: Your electricity rate:

How much you are paying per kilowatt hour, or supply charges

The electricity you use is measured in kilowatt hours. A kilowatt hour represents the amount of energy consumed over a period of time – 1,000 watts over one hour. You may be able to pay less per kilowatt hour by switching from your utility company to another electric supply company currently offering a lower fixed rate, or a competitive long-term fixed rate that avoids seasonal rate hikes that drive up costs as usage increases.

What to look for:

Price to Compare (PTC) is the variable cost per kilowatt hour your local electric utility offers. The PTC can be a monthly, quarterly, or annual price set by your local utility. 

Where to find it:

The PTC is usually found in the message section of your bill, but may vary based on your utility company. Look for the phrase "Price to Compare" and the supply rate in cents per kWh.

How to save on your electric bill:

Shop for a lower electricity rate. Energy Choice empowers consumers to compare electricity supply companies just as they would other goods and services. Electricity rates differ by supplier, and by the type of plan you choose. Shop for plans online from companies like Energy Harbor to make sure you are paying a competitive rate for the kind of plan that’s right for your household.

2: Your total energy use (and when you use more)

The amount of electricity your household uses varies dramatically based on seasons and the number of people living in your home. For example, costs generally rise during the summer months because you’re running your air conditioning more, and you may have kids home from school who use appliances more frequently.

What to look for:

Your bill will show you your current and seasonal total energy usage in total kilowatt hours. Your bill may include other helpful details, such as usage trends, daily average use and monthly average temperature.

Where to find it:

The current usage section of your bill shows how much energy your household used between your meter reading from the previous month and the current month. Your bill might also include a helpful graph that shows your previous 12 months’ energy use, broken out by month to show how your energy use changes due to seasonality.

The supply component of your bill represents the total generation and supply costs for the current month. It is calculated by multiplying your cost per kilowatt hour by your total monthly usage. This is the total amount you are able to influence by lowering your cost per unit, your total energy usage, or both.

How to save on your electric bill:

There are a variety of affordable changes you can make to use less energy, particularly during high-usage months. And, by knowing in greater detail how your home uses electricity, you are able to make better decisions like:

Using programmable or smart thermostats to adjust the temperature when you’re away from home or asleep


Replacing commonly used lighting with LED bulbs


Weather-stripping or caulking to eliminate drafts that let in the winter cold and summer heat that can have a major impact on your home’s electric usage