Common Causes of High Bills

Why is my bill so high?

Your Alectra Utilities bill consists of charges for electricity, and in Guelph, Hamilton, Markham, and Vaughan, municipal water and wastewater. 
Electricity and water usage varies from month to month largely due to temperature and whether you are operating large appliances such as clothes dryers, air conditioners, electric heaters or pool pumps, for how long and at what time of day.

If your bill is higher than expected, here are some steps you can take: 

  1. Check to see if the length of the billing cycle was the same as the previous bill. Billing cycles vary somewhat due to weekends and holidays so, even if you use the same amount of energy per day, your bill may vary. 
    Compare your usage to the same period last year. Sign up for My Account to view your bills and usage online.
  2. Analyze the reason for the increase. The following is a list of the most common causes of higher-than-normal bills. 
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It evens out your energy costs throughout the year so you pay the same amount each month. Knowing what to expect will make it easier to manage your monthly expenses.

High bill due to electricity usage

Seasonal Appliances

Appliances and other equipment used at different times of year (air conditioners, dehumidifiers, pool pumps, etc.) can make a significant difference to your electricity usage. 

Pool Heater / Pool Pump

A pool heater or pool pump that runs 24-hours a day uses a lot of electricity. Put your pool pump and heater on a timer - 12 hours on during off-peak hours and 12 hours off - to save on your electricity bill.

New Baby, House Guests or Additional People in the Household

House guests, students who have returned home and new babies can all cause your electricity and water usage to increase since more hot water is likely to be used for bathing, dishwashing or clothes washing.

Addition of a Large Screen Television

Televisions, and the components that go along with them, now consume as much as 10 per cent of the energy in many households. That's because Canadians are buying bigger TVs, and more of them. On average, each household has 2.5 sets. And, because screen sizes are growing ever larger, each TV consumes more power. In fact, some of the largest, high resolution, direct view TVs (versus rear projection products) can use as much electricity as a standard, new refrigerator - roughly 500 kilowatt hours, every year. So, in addition to picture quality and size, consider looking for the ENERGY STAR® symbol on the set you buy. ENERGY STAR® qualified TVs consume about 30 per cent less energy than non-qualified models. Find out more at Natural Resources Canada.

Use of a High-Performance Gaming Computer

According to a study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2015, a typical high-performance gaming computer can use as much electricity as three refrigerators. If students are home from school over the summer and gaming during peak hours (11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), costs will be higher.

Addition of New Appliances

Every additional appliance adds to your energy bill. If you purchase a new refrigerator and move the old one to the basement, your electricity bill will go up.

When buying new appliances, consider purchasing ENERGY STAR® models. For more information, visit Natural Resources Canada

Replacement of Old Appliances

Although most people think that a new energy efficient refrigerator will be cheaper to run than an old one, that is not necessarily the case. If the new refrigerator is larger and features an ice maker or water dispenser, it may use more electricity than the smaller model it replaced. 

When buying new appliances, consider purchasing ENERGY STAR® models. For more information, visit Natural Resources Canada.

Faulty Appliances

A leaky water heater or toilet, a pool pump or well pump that's running constantly, a fan motor that is about to fail, a faulty thermostat, a refrigerator or freezer with a poor door seal - all of these appliance defects can lead to a surprisingly high electricity bill. 

Leaking Hot Water Taps

If you have an electric hot water heater, a leaking hot water tap will drive up both your water and electricity usage. 

High bill due to water or wastewater charges

Typical Home Water Use

Item

Water Usage

Toilet

Shower 

Tub/bath

Dishwasher

Clothes washer

Garden hose

Pool (14’ X 28’/ 5.5 ft. deep)

Common Causes of High Water Usage

Item

Water Usage

Toilet (overflow tube leak) 

Toilet (flush valve leak)

Faucet dripping

Lawn/garden hose

Houseguests