Take a few minutes each day (preferably at the same time) and jot down the reading on your electric meter. Start the first of the month. By subtracting the previous day's reading from the current reading each day you get the number of kilowatt-hours used during that 24-hour period. By adding the daily figures into a weekly total, you can see how much - and when - your family used power during that month. If your meter seems to record more electricity than you feel you are using, try to find out why. Looking at your family's activities during that period will help. Was the tractor or car heater on more than normal? Was the weather colder than normal? Was it a wash day? See what activities, if any, can be altered to use energy wisely.
Another factor that enters into higher than normal electric bills is the number of days between meter readings. With Automatted metering infrastructure (AMI) technology, all meters are read on the first day of each month, however, numbers may vary slightly based on the number of days in each month. If you notice that your usage has increased substantially from one month to the next for no apparent reason, you will be able to diagnose equipment fault sooner.
The electric meter is often accused of inaccuracy, but it's seldom the culprit. The meter is a finely calibrated, highly accurate device used to measure electric power use. Your REC has a continuing program to test the accuracy of all its meters to assure that you are being billed for the exact number of kilowatt-hours used. All meters are tested on a regular basis as required by the Iowa Utilities Board. Historical data bears out the fact that in more than 99% of the time, the electric meter is accurate. High bills are almost always traced to other causes. You may request a special meter test by contacting your REC's member service department, or you may wish to call an electrician to check your wiring and appliances for grounds, shorts, and other malfunctions.