A utility bill is an invoice sent by utility companies in exchange for providing services in your home or business. Utilities are gas, electricity and water; the essentials for making your home habitable. A utility bill can be set on a variable rate or a fixed rate. A variable rate means that your bill will be based on how much of the utility you used in the billing period. A fixed rate means that your bill will be the same every month as long as you do not use above a certain threshold of that utility.
How to Find the Best Utility Provider
Depending on where you live, you may only have one utility provider for something like water. But gas and electricity may offer a number of different companies to choose from. There are a number of different factors to consider when selecting the right one for you:
- Customer service – Is the utility provider easy to get in contact with, and do they offer your preferred form of communication? It is essential that you can contact them quickly when something goes wrong, and they will respond efficiently.
- Payment options – There are a number of ways to pay a utility bill, like over the phone, direct debit, or credit card. Not every utility company will offer all payment options, so find out how they allow customers to pay their bills.
- Ethical considerations – Some electricity and gas companies use green or renewable energy sources. Some utility providers will provide paperless billing. These considerations may be important factors for some people.
- Cost – Cost and pricing models will be a large factor. Utility providers will offer different pricing models, and some may work best for you and your utilities use.
Should I Switch Utility Providers?
Changing over utility providers can be a little bit of an inconvenience, but if done tactically, it could benefit you in the long run. Many utility providers will run sign up promotions or seasonal deals, and switching at the right time (or at least asking your utility provider to price match) can result in having a lower utility bill.
There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should switch utility providers, but you should keep your eyes open for any great deals. At the very least, you should review your utility providers every two years and see if they still meet your energy usage needs.
My Utility Bill Has Increased Working From Home, What Can I Do?
Working from home is bound to increase your utility bills because you are using electricity more hours of the day, eating an extra meal or two at home, and using the toilet more often. Some employers offer a “working from home allowance,” which is an extra payment to help towards any increases in bills. Depending on the type of work you do, you may even be able to claim part of your electricity bill back on taxes, especially if you are self-employed.