Why is my electric bill so high?

Your electric bill is usually one of the largest outgoing bills that most people have to face each month. And whilst there’s nothing you can do to reduce the amount of council tax you pay, there is something you can do to alter how much you’re spending on electricity each month.

The truth is that a lot of us are spending more than necessity when it comes to energy. So, we’re going to look at the main reasons why your electric bill might be high, and what you can do to ensure that it stays at a level you’re happy with.

Why is my electric bill so high?

Old appliances

When looking for suspects that may be causing you to have a high electric bill each month, old appliances are right at the top of the list. The older appliances in your home will, over time, become less and less efficient, especially in comparison to newer ones.

An example of this is with your fridge. A fridge that is a few decades old can use as much a 2000kWh across the course of a year. In comparison, a new fridge of the same size may only use 500kWh even though it essentially provides the same experience. Obviously, this is just a quarter of the amount of a new appliance.

Solution: So, this is the place to start when trying to reduce your electric bill each month. Go around your home and check which appliances are old and potentially consume a lot of energy – they may need replacing if you want to keep your bills low, as you can often save the cost of the new appliance within a few years of owning it.

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Unplug anything you’re not using

I’ve seen this referred to as “vampire appliances” – essentially all this means is appliances that continue to use energy when they’re plugged into the wall, even when they’re not in use. Appliances can use up to around 5-20% of their power even when they’re not switched on, which means that you’re essentially wasting energy and money.

The main culprit for this is the television and other entertainment sources, which many people tend to leave on in standby mode. This continues to use energy, even when you’re not actually using the television itself.

Solution: One way that you can combat this is to switch over to smart plugs, which you can set via a timer to only turn on when you need the appliances. This is definitely a good idea for things you’re not going to use through the night, as they’ll continue to use charge. If you want to completely get rid of any energy consumption, you’ll need to switch the plug off, or completely unplug those appliances from the wall.

That time of the year

Us in the UK aren’t exactly blessed with the hottest of summers, and when it comes round to Autumn and Winter, the temperature can drop drastically. When it does, it’s very likely that your electricity bill will start to creep up, peaking in December and January.

Why? Well, it’s only natural that when it gets colder, we look for more ways to keep ourselves warm. This can includes using the heating more, but also taking longer and hotter showers, as well as using things like electric blankets to keep us warm.

Solution: This is a tough one, because obviously there’s nothing you can do about the weather (aside from sticking with a green energy company!). What we can do though is be more frugal with the appliances around the home, switch over to smart home and lighting products, and increase insulation.

Insulation worries

Continuing on from the last one, the weather can have a dramatic impact on the amount of electricity and gas you use each month. But one thing that can make this effect even worse and more noticeable when transcending from Summer through to Autumn and Winter is poor insulation through your house.

If your house is poorly insulated, then all of the heat that’s generated via electricity or gas can escape very easily, and likewise, the cold weather can get in using up more of your energy. Making it easier to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer is key to reducing energy costs.

Solution: There are a few different things that you can do pretty easily to reduce the amount of heat that escapes your home. The easiest one is probably to get some draft excluders and make sure things are sealed properly. You can also look into improving your loft insulation which is a big factor, installing double glazing if you don’t already have it, and switching over to a smart thermostat instead of your current one.

An increase in rates

It’s normal for energy companies to increase their electric and gas rates in line with inflation. If you’re not a 9-5 worker, then maybe a different tariff could afford you to keep your rate low. It’s also worth checking you’re on a fixed contract, as if you’re on a variable one, this could be the reason why you’re seeing such a big difference throughout the year.

Solution: The obvious solution here is to switch over to a cheaper energy supplier. If you’re with one of the big six, then there’s a good chance that a smaller independent company may be able to provide you energy at a cheaper rate.

All you need to do is do a little research around who’s the best in your area, or if you’re lazy like me, use an auto switching service that’ll switch you to the cheapest energy supplier each year.


All in all, it’s definitely naturally for your electricity bill to increase throughout the course of the year, or from one month to another. This is typically down to something obviously, like an increase in the amount of energy you’re using.

However, this isn’t always going to be the case, as there are potentially other reasons why you’ve seen a bump in your bill too, like an increase in rates. It’s worth investigating what the cause is as it could help you save money in the long run.

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Jack Williams

Jack is the founder of Energy Sanity. He has been analyzing the energy industry for over a decade now. His data-driven analysis have helped thousands save money on electricity bills. Jack holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Energy Economics.