Most of us pay our electric bill without paying much attention to the dizzying numbers strewn across the page.  As long as the bottom line “seems about right,” we’re not too persnickety about it.

But what happens when your bill is higher than expected? Where do you go for an explanation?

It’s all in the details

There are plenty of benefits in taking a closer look at your energy bill. Rather than blindly paying the amount due, you can learn how much electricity you use each month and view the breakdown of charges. Identifying where your money goes will help you better manage energy consumption and develop plans for cost savings.

Days billed

Per the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE billing cycles can be as short as 26 days and as long as 35.

The average billing cycle for a DTE Energy electric customer ranges between 29 and 32 days. However, there are a few times a year when customers will receive a bill that exceeds that range, making your energy costs appear more expensive. A quick peak at your bill could offer some insight.

Did you remember to turn off the lights?

The primary factor that impacts your monthly electric bill is usage – the amount of electricity used during a billing cycle.

Higher summer bills are commonly caused by increased use of air conditioners and fans. During winter months, increased use of space heaters, holiday lights, and – if you have it – electric heating, are sure to drive up costs.

The only surefire way to monitor your energy consumption is check the “Detail of Current Charges” section of your bill, where you’ll find a month-over month and year-over-year breakdown of your usage history.

You can also monitor energy consumption using the DTE Energy Insight app. The free app allows you to see exactly how much energy you’re using and when.

For tips on how to read your bill, check out DTE’s interactive bill.

Understanding your bill graphic

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