Understand Your Usage

Electric usage varies from day to day and month to month, depending upon a variety of factors including your daily habits, the weather, and the time of year. An increase in your electric usage could be caused by a variety of factors.

Cold Weather

Electricity bills may be higher during the winter months. It's simple math:


For example: How much energy does my electric space heater use?

A portable electric space heater = 1,500 watts
Divide that wattage by 1,000 to get the # of kilowatts = 1.5 kilowatts
Multiply the kilowatts (1.5) by the number of hours used (4) =6.0 kWh (number of kilowatt hours used for an evening of warming after work until bedtime)
Multiply the kWh (6.0) by the cost (13.8 cents per kWh*) = 82.8 cents (cost per evening of warming after work until bedtime using the portable space heater)

*The total cost per kWh for a typical customer on Service Classification No. 1 is 13.8 cents
(NYSEG delivery is 6.8 cents, Supply is 6.2 cents, and surcharges are 0.8 cents) Your supply rate may vary - check your bill.



  • To estimate the hours used, think about how your appliances operate – does the appliance cycle on and off all day? Is it on steady for 8 to 10 hours?
  • Think about how you use your appliance. For example: using an electric space heater while enjoying TV = 4 hours, times 20 nights a month = 80 hours of use in a month.
  • Look at your bill to understand your billing cycle – it may run mid-October to mid-November, for example, so what you call your November bill may be half October!
  • Look at your bill to find the cost of your delivery charges (page 2) and your electricity supply (page 3).

Now you have an idea of the impact of colder weather and warm comfort on your bill!


Access our FREE tools to help you better understand your electricity use.


Malfunctioning Appliances

A sudden increase in energy usage may indicate a problem with an appliance, heating or cooling system, or water heater. A spike can also be caused by a period of very cold weather in the winter. Don't forget that since billing cycles are about a month long, sometimes it can be a few weeks before the effect of a cold snap will be seen on your bill.