Have you ever experienced a strange spike on your monthly energy bill? When as far as you can remember, there were no changes whatsoever on your consumption habits.
If you suspect your electricity provider of overcharging you, you should check your bill thoroughly to ascertain.
However, before that, you should rule out if it might be coming from your end. This helps to avoid any misunderstanding with your supplier. Electric tariff Singapore is usually unlikely to overcharge, but you never know. Here are some useful questions you can ask yourself as you discover the cause of your power bill increase:
- Do you have many old electrical appliances which you have been using very long?
- Do you have new household members? Or maybe you have some guests who might be staying at your house for a certain period?
- Have you recently purchased new appliances that you are already using regularly? A washing machine perhaps?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you can always address it with some adjustments for you to reduce the bill.
One very common reason in households is usually is extra electricity consumption by older appliances. Older appliances in the house become “energy hogs”, and they are unnecessarily consuming increasing amounts of electricity. Additionally, appliances that are on standby but are plugged in 24/7, accumulate small significant charges on a monthly basis. It is estimated that 10% of your bill every month is largely due to ghost consumption. To fix this, upgrade to new appliances that have a better energy efficiency rating. Unplug appliances that are not in use.
On the other hand, if you answered no to all of these questions, here are some of the other possible scenarios and their corresponding fixes:
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Scenario #1: Wrong Meter Reading
Your provider might have received the wrong meter reading. That is if you don’t have a smart meter installed.
Get an on-the-spot reading of your meter and compare it with your bill. If they correspond then the meter report was accurate. If it doesn’t, then you can contact your supplier for correction.
Scenario #2: You Were Charged with Estimated Readings
Assuming that you were not able to submit any recent meter readings, the provider may have charged you via an estimated reading based on the last 6 months of consumption. Often, these estimates are inaccurate.
You can submit a total of 4 meter readings for every year that you were billed by the supplier. That should give an accurate average electrical consumption based on actual usage. Otherwise, you can always give your supplier a copy of your most recent reading that you yourself have done. If you have a smart meter, then just inform your supplier and they will be the ones to backtrack from their end.
Scenario #3: Faulty Meter
Your meter might be broken. Although this is mostly a rare event, it is always good to check.
For Prepayment meters- If you can see on the display prompts such as “battery” or maybe “error”, it is likely a problem with the device. Call your supplier right away and have it replaced.
For credit meter- Switch off all the appliances in your house and see if there is any kind of discrepancy with the appliances that are either on or off. Take note of the movement of the numbers on the display as you turn your appliances on and off. If they don’t coincide with each other, then the meter is faulty. Call your supplier to have it replaced.
Scenario #4: Raised Prices
Your supplier may have increased their prices due to market fluctuations.
You can inquire about other suppliers who are also in your area. Compare their prices and after that, upon studying both the company’s histories, you can make the appropriate switch whenever necessary.
Scenario #5: Transitioned from Fixed Rate to Variable Rate
Your supplier may have automatically transitioned you from a fixed-rate plan to a variable rate plan, resulting in higher charges.
Read the fine print on your contract and don’t be afraid to make a complaint. That is, if you find that you were not given ample time to decide whether to switch providers or not, you can always assert a refund within reasonable bounds.
Scenario #6: You May Have Been Switched to TOU or Time of Use Plan
Your supplier may have switched you for some reason that they only know. This type of plan charges you higher rates when you use electricity during peak hours like in the evenings for example.
Contact your supplier and renegotiate for cheaper rates like the fixed-rate plan. You can ask for a refund wherever applicable. If no agreement is reached, consider switching suppliers.
Finding out if anyone of the above reasons could be the cause of your higher bill would take some time and effort, and even some patience on your part. But it will certainly be worth your effort compared to having you negotiate a refund for several months of inaccurate payments down the road.