Have you ever felt uneasy when you have got high electricity bill and you do not know why it is high and what you can do? Blaming the utility company is a common thing that most people do. But there are ways to find out why the bills are high, which are not too technical and can be done quite easily.
First and foremost, never just look at the amount in rupees on electricity bill to say that electricity bill is too high. Observe the units consumed on the bill and compare it to the units consumed in the previous month and the same month in previous year. If the units consumed are comparable then it is highly likely that the power tariff applied on the electricity bill by your utility has changed resulting in higher amount in rupees. It is also possible that the fixed cost component on the electricity bill might have changed. This is however usually not very significant.
If you feel that your units consumed are normally high then the best thing that you can do to confirm that is by comparing your electricity bills with other people with similar kind of household like yours. This activity can give you a good benchmark on energy usage for a dwelling like yours and will help you understand if your electricity bills are really high or not.
If your units consumed are much different from previous month or same month last year, then the first thing that you can do is check your electricity meter reading and make sure that the bill shows the right meter reading. In India, most of the electric meter reading is done manually and thus there is a potential of human error in the same. This step can assure you that the meter reading shown is right.
If the meter reading is right then you need to evaluate that there are no electricity leakages in your house. To do this, first you need to switch off the mains (power mains) in your setup and check if the meter is moving/changing or not. If it is moving/changing then either the meter is broken in which case if you show that to the utility they will give you back the overcharged money, or some more wires (not belonging to you) are connected to your meter which you need to get check by an electrician.
If the meter does not move on switching off the mains, then the next thing that you can do is, put off all the appliances and turn on the mains. If the meter moves then that means that there is faulty wiring in your setup which is causing electricity leakage and you need to get an electrician to find and fix that. It is also possible that an appliance is connected directly to the lines without a switch and you need to make sure that it is corrected.
Finally you can check electricity consumption of individual appliance by keeping everything else off and leaving the appliance on and observe the meter movement. To do all of this you will need to give a lot of time as 1 unit of increases on a meter when 1 kWh of electricity is used, which is equal to running 100 W bulb for 10 hrs or running a 1 ton AC for about an hour.
Simple steps mentioned above can help you do a self-energy audit. Alternatively, many utilities in our country are providing audit facilities these days which can be availed at minimal charges. You can also search for locals ESCos (energy service companies) or energy audit firms who can help you do the same.
About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. More from this author.