I have a question about a charge applied to my bill?
Most questions can be answered quickly when brought to our attention. In some cases,
you may need to give us time to review our records before we can respond to your inquiry.
My bill seems too high. What can I do to check it
If your bill seems too high and you're questioning the amount
of service you've used, follow these steps:
your meter. Your reading should be somewhat higher than the reading shown
on your bill because your usage will have increased between the time your meter
was read and when you take your own reading.
- Compare the bill to the one you received at the same time last year. You want
to see if there's a change in usage. Remember to compare differences in usage,
not total dollar amount.
- Look at the bar chart on your bill. It shows usage for the past 13 months. Consider
severe weather conditions, changes in living habits (such as an addition to the
house, a new appliance, additional family members, more time spent at home) that
could increase the amount of energy you use.
- Contact us.
What steps do you take to correct a billing error?
On rare occasions, billing errors do occur, usually as a
result of a low or high estimated bill. In the event of overcollection, we will promptly
credit your account. Likewise, if you have used more service than the amount you were
billed, you must pay the additional charge. However, we will review the make-up bill
with you and work to come up with a reasonable payment arrangement, if necessary.
Why is my bill high?
Here are the most common reasons why your energy bill
may be higher than usual:
- Seasonal changes such as unusually hot or cold weather.
- High cost of electricity or natural gas supply — both of which are determined
in the competitive marketplace, not by O&R, Rockland Electric or PCL&P. Learn
- A longer than normal billing period, with more days than usual in the
- Consecutive estimated bills because your meter is blocked or otherwise inaccessible.
Over time, consecutive estimated bills may result in under-estimation of use, which
could leave you with a high bill once we get an actual reading and adjustments
are made to your bill.
- The addition of new electrical appliances such as a circulating pump for a whirlpool,
a freezer, a dehumidifier, or a central or room air conditioner.
- A water pump or an electric water heater that's in the process of burning out. Right
before burning out, water pump motors run harder and use more energy, thereby causing
an increase in energy consumption. The upper or lower heating elements in an electric
water heater also tend to burn out, causing the other to work twice as hard. This
results in higher energy use.
- A change in lifestyle due to the addition of a home office or a new family member.
- Increase in appliance usage during school vacations, entertaining for the holidays
or hosting house guests.
- An inaccurate thermostat that causes your furnace to run more often than necessary
or a thermostat which is located in a chilly or drafty spot.
- An inefficient air conditioner or furnace with a clogged air filter.
- An air conditioning unit low on refrigerant, causing the unit to run continuously.
- Too little or no insulation in the home.
- Aging appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and washing machines which tend
to use more energy than newer, more efficient models.
Here are some more reasons why your natural gas bill may be higher
- Major heat loss due to poor insulation, causing the heating system
to run longer and harder.
- Insufficient caulking around windows, which is a major contributor
to heat loss.
- Doors without weather stripping or door sweeps.
- A poorly maintained heating system that hasn't been serviced for
Why are my energy bills higher than my neighbor's
when we live in identical homes and have the same number of family members?
Even if both households seem identical, there are many
variables that affect the amount of your energy bills:
- Your neighbor could be on a different service rate. For example, your neighbor could
be on the voluntary Time-Of-Use
rate, while you could be on the general electric service rate for residential customers.
- The appliances in your homes may not be the same or in the same condition. For example,
high efficiency appliances consume less energy than older units.
- Storm windows and levels of insulation may be different in both homes.
- Living habits could be different, even though family size may be the same. For example,
the thermostat in one home may be set at an energy-saving level of 68° while the
other home may have a setting of 75°. One home could have a programmable thermostat
that adjusts the thermostat setting during different times of the day to save money
and energy, while another home could keep the thermostat setting constant all day
For Commercial Customers:
What are the demand and energy charges on my bill?
As a commercial or industrial customer, you have both an
energy charge and a demand charge on your bill. The amount of actual electricity you
use is reflected in the energy charge. The rate at which you consume electricity is
reflected as a demand charge.
It's like having an odometer as well as a speedometer. An odometer records the accumulated
miles traveled, the same way the electric meter records your total energy consumption.
The speedometer measures speed, the same way the demand meter registers your rate
I can understand why I'm charged for my energy use.
But why do I have to pay the demand charge?
Commercial and industrial customers usually have much higher
demands for electricity. Therefore, they require installation of heavier cables to
carry the larger current, larger transformers, switches, fuses and protective apparatus
up and down the line. The utility's outlay for higher capacity distribution equipment
is reflected in the demand charge.
What does the demand meter measure?
The demand meter records the customer's energy consumption,
measured in kilowatt hours, as well as the customer's demand for every
15-minute interval, measured in kilowatts. The highest peak demand
recorded for one 15-minute interval is what's shown and billed on
a customer's statement.