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I have a question about a charge applied to my bill?

Contact us. 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 for accuracy?

If your bill seems too high and you're questioning the amount of service you've used, follow these steps:

  • Read 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 more.
  • A longer than normal billing period, with more days than usual in the billing cycle.
  • 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 than usual:

  • 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 several seasons.
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 long.

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 of consumption.

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.