Learn More About Charges

Have you ever found yourself asking, “Why is my bill so high?” We’ve all been there. Coastal Electric Cooperative is here to help you understand why your bill fluctuates and what you should understand about it.

Coastal Electric Cooperative representatives are always happy to assist you with your billing questions, but you may consider gathering this information prior to calling. It may answer your questions or provide valuable information when you do call.

Accurate history

Review how much power you’ve used for the last 13 months. This history is provided for you on every bill. You can compare your most recent month to that same month one year ago.

The best tool for analyzing your bill is to view your daily and even hourly usage on our Member Portal.

Click on the “New User” tab if you are logging on for the first time and do not have a username and password.

Weather fluctuations may be a factor in any major usage differences, but this is a good place to start your search.

The kilowatt-hours you use drive the amount of your electric bill. Coastal Electric Cooperative residential customers average about 1400 kWh of energy use per month, but most members use substantially more than that in peak winter and summer months.

True electric bill

Check to be sure this is a true high electric bill.

  • Are there other charges beyond electric service?
  • Any additional service fees (i.e deposits, connection/disconnection fees or returned check fees)?
  • Have any past-due amounts from a previous bill been added to the total?
  • Are there ancillary charges added to the bill for other Coastal Electric products or services (surge protection, security lights, etc.)?
  • Don’t forget about state, local and franchise taxes.

Days of use

Check the number of days that are billed for your electric use. This varies from bill to bill due to the number of days in a month, and a billing cycle may be a bit shorter or a bit longer so as not to make your bill due on a weekend or holiday.

Is the number of days greater than other months in question because of meter readings or meter reading cycles? Is the daily average significantly different from other months in question?

Compare winter to summer

Check the kWh total by month. From the history, if the winter months are higher, it could indicate some form of electric heat and higher hot water heater use.

Do the summer months indicate air conditioning? Were temperatures higher or lower than normal during the period?

Coastal Electric Cooperative offers a Levelized Billing program to help members with seasonal fluctuations.

Your electric meter doesn’t go on vacation

If you leave your home for an extended period of time for business or vacation, any appliance you leave plugged in or connected will continue to use electricity even while you are gone, especially your hot water heater, freezer, refrigerator, HVAC system, landscape irrigation, well pump, etc.

Most of us note that the TV and lights were not on, but we forget about these other items.


No two households use energy the same way, so comparing your energy bill to your neighbor’s is like comparing apples to oranges. It is best to compare your current use to your past use.

  • Determine if the size of your household has increased or if someone stayed at home more.
  • Have you added a new swimming pool or hot tub in your backyard?
  • Have you had “guests” stay for an extended period?
  • Do you have hobbies that include the use of power tools, ovens or other high electrical resistance tools or appliances?

Lighting, refrigeration, cooking and appliances account for 56 percent of the total energy use in the normal household. The location of refrigerators and freezers is very important. Never place a refrigerator or freezer in direct sunlight or in an unconditioned space such as a breezeway, garage or outbuilding. The refrigerator or freezer will have to work harder to overcome excessive heat during warmer months. Also, make sure that your refrigerators and freezers have adequate ventilation.

Equipment maintenance

If an appliance is more than 15 years old, the efficiency of that appliance may be decreasing significantly and require more energy to do its job.

It is important to clean or replace the condenser, coils and filters on some appliances regularly. You may need to replace the appliance itself. Many times old electrical wiring will have loose connections, resulting in increased electrical use and potential safety hazards.


The additional heating or cooling load will cause an increase in electric use. Heating and cooling your home averages around 44 percent of your total energy use. Using space heaters, fireplaces, livestock heaters or vehicle block heaters in the winter can dramatically increase your energy consumption. Running a dehumidifier or watering lawns, gardens, and animals in the summer months will increase your energy use.


Lightning can sometimes damage your well pump, sump pump or appliances, increasing the running of these devices. If underground wiring insulation is damaged, an increase in electrical use may occur when the ground is saturated with moisture. You may want to consider having Coastal Electric test your home’s ground rod installations and sign up for surge protection.

Field visits

If after studying all the above information, you still feel there may be a deeper problem, we are happy to take your call and assist you. After handling the high bill complaint on the phone, we determine if a field visit is necessary to determine any energy efficiency problems or check the meter. Coastal Electric’s Member Services Department can offer efficiency solutions.

When should I ask Coastal Electric to test my meter?

Coastal Electric Cooperative encourages members to look for the cause in the above situations first. Meter tests should be a last resort instead of a first. Meters measure energy use, and it is very rare that they run fast. They are seldom the cause of a higher bill but are often blamed.

Less than 2 out of 1,000 meters are going to be wrong when tested. This includes running slow or running fast. Most old meters will likely run slowly.

A faulty meter would more likely run slowly. In the case of a meter check, a Coastal Electric Cooperative field representative will check the meter.

Don’t Forget to Download Our Mobile App

Get the app via one of the links below, install it, and use your Coastal Electric Cooperative account number to log in or create your account. Not only can you use the app to pay your bill while on the go, but you can also report outages, receive important notifications of power outages affecting your home, plus receive notices when power is restored. You can also use the app to monitor your daily electricity usage.

Billing & Payments

Explore the many ways we make it quick and convenient to pay your bill and monitor your usage.