Is Your Electric Bill High?

In Chelan County, you pay the 2nd lowest electric rates in the nation (2.7¢ per kWh) thanks to our ability to sell local hydropower around the West to subsidize our local rates.

👉 Are my electric bills high?

If you pay $75 or more per month on average, or $150 or more per month in winter, we should chat about potential fixes. It means you’re paying more than 75% of others in the county and could likely benefit from improving your energy efficiency to improve your comfort and lower your bills.

👉 How much do others spend?

The median electric bill in Chelan County is $664 per year – or about $55 per month. If you paid the average electric rate in the US of 13.7¢ per kWh, it’d be $273 per month – almost 5x more! 

👉 Then why should I save energy?

Saving energy locally means we can sell power elsewhere to keep our rates low through subsidies.


Common Causes for a High Bill

If your electricity bill is higher than you expected, there are many reasons why. We’ll cover common reasons (and solutions!) below but remember—we’re always here to help. Call our energy solutions team at 509-661-8008 to figure out what could be going on in your specific case.

Poor Temperature Control

old thermostat - smart thermostat

When the temperature dips, it might be time to turn up the heat! But if you crank up the thermostat or blast the electric fireplace, it will also boost your electric bill.

Similarly, when the summer sun is too much to bear, an air conditioner can help keep you cool. But keeping a frigid temperature in the middle of summer is expensive.

Remember that your home is meant to stay comfortable, but not the same temperature year round and not the same temperature in every room. Our bodies are made for seasonal temperature changes.

The fix:

→ Let your thermostat float down to 68ºF in winter, and lower if you’re sleeping or away and in rooms you’re not actively using.

→ In summer, let your thermostat rise to 78ºF, and higher if you’re away and in unused rooms.

→ Make comfort and energy saving easy with a smart thermostat or a line-voltage thermostat for zonal heating and score a rebate.

Wasteful Heating and Cooling Equipment

old wall heater - new ductless heat pump

Electric resistance heat is inefficient. Heat pumps can use as little as half the energy as resistance heat to warm your home. Half! Plus, heat pumps cool in summer.

The fix:

→ If it’s time to replace your old furnace or central AC, go for a heat pump. (Have zonal heating? Check out a ductless heat pump.) Work with your contractor for a Chelan PUD rebate.

→ No matter what heating and cooling you have, make sure to have your HVAC systems serviced each year to make sure they’re operating at their best: safely and efficiently!

Poor Insulation and Air Sealing

empty attic - blow-in insulation

Older homes and buildings can be hard to keep warm in the winter, since they may not have the best insulation and are leaky. Even newer homes that have cracking seals can be drafty.

If your basement or crawl space is lacking insulation, or your windows and doors don't fit as tightly as they should, then you could be shelling out lots of cash to stay toasty.

The fix:

→ Air seal your home. Caulking is an easy DIY and inexpensive. You should check the seals around all openings to the exterior of your home each spring and fall and seal any gaps to stop drafts.

→ Take advantage of our rebates for boosting your insulation, switching to energy-efficient windows, and upgrading your entry doors. Classic homes can add storm windows to keep the original character while adding comfort.

Hot Water Waste

top loading washer - cold wash

Long showers or extra hot laundry can mean more hot water. Hosting guests for the holidays or vacations? More people means more hot water to take showers or do laundry, meaning higher electric bills.

The fix:

→ Wash in cold water. Modern detergents and washing machines clean clothes well without hot water.

→ Switch to a hybrid water heater. You’ll get the same hot water for a little as 30% of the energy as a conventional water heater.

Additional Appliances

old fridge - chest freezer

Portable heaters, air conditioners, TVs, extra refrigerators, freezers, coffee makers, and other appliances can all add up to higher electric bills.

The fix:

→ Go with a chest freezer to store extra food if you’re a hunter, fisherman, or a bulk buyer. They can use as little as 1/3 of the energy as an upright freezer.

→ Use power strips to turn unused appliances off-off. Phantom loads that suck power when “off” burn your money with zero benefit.

→ It might be time to upgrade that 80-year-old beer fridge in the garage. New appliances use significantly less energy than the classics.

Rate Changes

Chelan PUD customer reading electric bill with smile

It can be tempting to think that higher bills are from higher electric rates. However, this isn’t the case in Chelan County. Chelan PUD residential electric rates have stayed at 2.7¢ per kWh for more than a decade. (See our historic electric rates.)

Electricity rates in Chelan County are the 2nd lowest in the nation thanks to our ability to sell excess hydropower across the West to subsidize our local rates. The true cost of generating and providing electric service is about 6¢ per kWh – this means that Chelan PUD essentially pays for half of your electric bill through rate subsidies.

The current switch to advanced meters will also ensure that the meter reads of your electricity usage will be captured accurately and promptly, eliminating usage estimates.

Using less power locally means that we have more power to sell elsewhere, money that pays for our rate subsidies and other public power benefits.


We’re here for you

Our energy solutions team is here to help solve high bill problems year round! If your bill is higher than expected, we’ll work with you to find a solution.

Give us a call at 509-661-8008, email, or check out our programs.