Determining How Much Electricity Your Home or Business Actually Needs

Finding out how much electricity you are using

Living in Texas, we have many different power providers to choose from, and determining how much energy you consume whether you’re looking at residential or commercial can be of the utmost significance. This is important to understand if you are looking to switch energy companies and save money each month on the power bill, or you are simply looking to find out whether you are paying a decent price for your electricity.

The good news is that establishing how much electricity you consume on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, in either kWh or monetary terms, could easily be identified in a few simple ways. We explore ways to find and measure your power consumption to be able to get the best rates knowing the amount you’ll use in an average month. You’ll also learn how to save on your energy costs – which depending on the time of year in Texas can be high especially if it’s during a time where you need to run AC more frequently.  Given some more unpredictable weather recently in Texas it’s good to be prepared with this knowledge so you can act upon it and sign up with the power provider and plan of your choice that better fits your needs more closely.

Using Your Electric Bill to Find Your Energy Consumption

Determining your household or business energy consumption begins with a clear understanding of your energy bill. But the sad news is that this can be rather challenging because energy bills generally come in all different sizes and shapes.

In case you are on a dual-fuel tariff, you might receive a single bill for all your energy. Otherwise, you will receive two bills: one showing the overall cost of Electricity pricing, and the other for the cost of gas.

Then, frequency is another crucial factor. You could receive your energy bills every month or quarterly. Lastly, based on the specific supplier you are dealing with and the actual plan you are on, your bill might have a different layout.

The good news is that several common factors will help you establish the amount of energy you use. The next section can be your helpful guide when it comes to locating things like:

Billing period or Billing Frequency

You will see the billing period is somewhere in your main summary box, typically found in the front of your bill. Since these can differ largely, ensure that you understand what this timeframe is, otherwise your analysis may prove to be inaccurate.

Energy used

One of the most important figures on the bill that will often be displayed in dollars spent and an amount of energy consumed, usually in kWh. Furthermore, your bill will often state if that is estimated or based on a meter reading.  The breakdown of your energy usage will often include your latest meter reading, the cost per kilowatt-hour, and kilowatt-hours used (kWh).


Don’t forget that your energy consumption is subject to taxes which can vary from location to location. There might also be additional charges for other reasons like local tariffs, transit levies, green energy taxes, and so on. Therefore, apart from the energy used, there will be an actual total amount that you owe.

If you are looking to determine how much energy you consume, the most important figure is the usage. Based on what plan you are on or which supplier you are with, the same usage figure might result in a different overall cost of electricity.

Reading your energy meter to find your energy usage

Perhaps you cannot access your latest bill. Or you simply don’t want to spend the time trying to understand it. If this is your case, you can always find your energy usage by going straight to the source. This is actually the best place to determine how much electricity you have used since it will give you a running total and a source of information to compare against the actual paper or e-bill in case of discrepancies. If you are looking to work out the amount of energy you are consuming in a month, simply read your meter, note it down, and check again in a month.

Learning how to use a smart meter to track energy usage

Smart meters are undoubtedly the next generation of both electricity and gas meters. Apart from sending meter readings to the supplier for more accurate bills, a smart meter is also accompanied by an in-home display that enables you to monitor your consumption in near-real-time. This often shows what adds up to dollars.  They can be more accurate than traditional analog-style electricity meters, but not always.  Smart meters also tend to not last as long and emit high levels of EMF/Cellular radiation, so their placement for safety is a consideration that is not always respected.

How can you estimate your energy usage?

Another way of estimating your electricity usage is by considering several lifestyle questions to work out whether you are a low, medium, or high energy user.  Let’s break it down to get an understanding of how this works:

Different types of energy user groups

  1. Low electricity use user groups

Their average electricity usage in a month is up to about 1,800 kWh. Generally speaking, these are people who generally consume the least amount of energy. In most cases, these are one or two individuals staying in a one or two-bedroom residence. Furthermore, they are at home during the evenings and weekends and most likely follow a weekly laundry cycle. Additionally, these homes use Heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrequently and also may not use a tumble dryer or dishwasher.

  1. Medium electricity use user groups

The average electricity usage is about 2,900 kWh. Typically, medium energy users are families of three or four individuals staying in a three-bedroom household. Some members are at home during the day, in the evening, as well as on weekends. Because of this, electrical appliances are often turned on, and heating or air conditioning is used frequently. On average, laundry is carried out a couple of times a week.

  1. High electricity use user groups

The average electricity usage is about 4,300 kWh. On average, homes utilizing the most energy tend to be big families comprising five members or more staying a four-bedroom household or bigger and/or businesses. In these homes, there is always somebody at home during the day and there are also people at home during the evenings as well as weekends. There may also be many TVs in use, a dishwasher, as well as a tumble dryer used frequently. Laundry is also done frequently.

Use the above user groups as your guideline and you can work out what your household or business average electricity consumption is so you can anticipate costs and have a better conversation when comparing electricity plans in your specific area and know if you’re getting a good deal for your tier of use.

Using kWh to reduce costs

Once you understand what appliances consume the most kWh in a household, you will have taken the initiative to save energy and ultimately lower your bills significantly. Below is a summary of the appliances and the energy use you should expect.

  • Heating & Cooling (Furnace and AC): around 47% of energy consumption
  • Water heater (Hot Water Tank – Electric): around 14% of energy consumption
  • Dryer and washer: 13% of energy consumption
  • Lighting: 12% of energy consumption
  • Refrigerator: 4% of energy consumption
  • Electric oven: 3-4% of energy consumption
  • Cable box, DVD, TV: 3% of energy consumption
  • Dishwasher: 2% of energy consumption
  • Computer: 1% of energy consumption

Keep in mind that there are variances in these figures depending on how energy-efficient your appliances are – whether they are energy-star rated, and so on.  It can make a dramatic difference in total consumption.

Can appliances consume energy while on standby?

Yes, they do! That’s the simple answer. In the long run, switching them off will save energy and money. Quite frankly, it is safe to say that a TV on standby will consume a minimal amount of power. However, over the course of a year, it might add up to a few kWh.

How can you use kWh to cut your energy costs?

Once you receive your next bill, it would be smart to check out the kWh figure and spend enough time taking a closer look at the wattage of your major appliances. You could then utilize these numbers to obtain a rough estimate of which specific appliances consume the most energy and, of course, where you may reduce or look to improve efficiency.

This is not the only way you can reduce your energy consumption. There are also other ways you could cut costs, such as:

Use less energy

The best way that you can reduce your kWh and ultimately save money is by ensuring that all your appliances are functioning as effectively as possible. Apart from purchasing energy-saving alternatives, you can also do this by using other methods like adding or improving insulation in your home. Once this is done properly, you should save more over the course of the year when it comes to your heating bill.

  • Below are other ways you could become more energy-efficient:
  • Turning appliances off standby
  • Only using what you require, specifically when boiling kettles or running baths
  • Using better insulation and draught excluders
  • Applying low energy alternatives like energy-saving LED light bulbs
  • Installing double glazed windows and replacing old weather stripping
  • Washing clothes at lower temperatures, and hanging to air dry
  • Comparing home and business electricity rates to get the best deal for you

Understanding your home or business electricity consumption shouldn’t be challenging. And this is why Electricity Shark focuses on helping people like you find affordable home and business electricity by providing an easy to use, fast comparison tool specific to your city and zip code – you can be saving money in minutes – simply enter your zip code, compare rates, and sign up – easy!

With the rising cost of electricity throughout the United States, Texas is no exception – so it’s in your best interest to ensure you not only understand how to calculate power consumption, but also make sure when you are shopping around for the best rates you know if you’re getting the best deal.  Knowing your power usage numbers ahead of time gives you a tremendous advantage that will ensure you get the best outcome.