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Energy Use FAQ

Understanding how much energy you use in your home is the first step toward making smart energy-saving decisions. Choose from the commonly-asked energy use questions below for more information.

How can I lower my electric bill?

A. To get started, here are three of the best ways we know to save energy:

Keep inside air in and outside air out. Insulate, weatherstrip, and caulk cracks and holes.

Adjust your thermostat higher in warm weather and lower in cool weather so your heating and cooling systems don't have to work so hard.

Conserve energy. Turn off lights, TV sets, appliances, and other electricity users when not needed.

To request a free energy survey, call 1-800-278-8585, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

How much electricity does my home use?

Electrical use is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), in the same way gallons are used to measure gasoline. One kWh equals 1,000 watts of electricity used during one hour.

The amount of electricity used during each billing period is in the far right column of your statement, under "Electricity Usage."

For a detailed explanation of your statement, visit Understanding Your Bill.

What makes my electric bill so high sometimes?

Some of the most common causes of higher-than-expected electric bills are weather-related. 

In hot weather, your electric bill may reflect:
  • Higher-than average air conditioning use.
  • Extended use of swimming pool and spa pumps.
  • Increased energy needed to keep refrigerators and freezers cold.
In cold weather, you may use more energy when:
  • Heating systems are in use more.
  • Portable electric heaters are in use.
  • More lighting is required for longer nights.
  • Holiday lighting and appliances are used for entertaining.
  • Your electric bill may also affected by:
  • More days than average in the billing period.
  • A previous unpaid balance.

The balance from multiple accounts included on your bill. 
Though we can boast meter reading accuracy of more than 98%, sometimes errors do occur. If you think the meter reading on your bill is in error, you can Request Usage Verification.

How much electricity do different domestic appliances use?

You can estimate the amount of electricity an appliance uses with the equations below.

Note that these equations do not account for the power required by motorized appliances, such as air conditioners, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Additionally, these equations assume that the power supply is single-phase, which is typical for most homes.
First determine the amount of power (watts) of the appliance. Manufacturers typically indicate the wattage on the back of the appliance. If the wattage is not given, look for the amperage (AMPS) and voltage (volts) listed on the appliance.

To determine how much it costs to operate an appliance for a month, simply multiply the wattage times the number of hours the appliance is used and divide by 1000 to get the kWhs.

For example, let's calculate the monthly cost of a 60 Watt light bulb used 5 hours per day:
60 Watts X 5 hours per day = 300 Watt hours
300 Watt hours X 30 days per month = 9000 Watt hours
9000 Watt hours / 1000 = 9 kWh
9 kWh X $0.14 = $1.26 Monthly cost to operate
KWH conversion 
amps x volts = watts
watts x hours used = watt hours
watt hours / 1000 = kilowatt hours (kWhs)
kWh X $0.14 = hourly cost

Are there special energy conservation programs available?

Energy conservation is an important part of Southern California Edison's heritage. We currently offer many programs that can help both residential and commercial customers save money and energy. For rebate and incentive programs, visit the Rebates & Savings area of our website.