SMECO newsletter

volume 65 - issue 2 - february 2015

Is your power being stolen?

Extension cord

When the weather turns cold, electric bills increase. These higher bills have caused some customers to wonder if a neighbor is stealing their electricity. While this seems like a plausible scenario that may happen often, it is actually quite rare in Southern Maryland. The most likely cause for higher bills during winter and summer is extreme temperatures—really cold or really hot weather—making heating and cooling equipment work harder.

If you believe that someone is stealing your electricity, there are some simple ways to rule it out. For electricity to be stolen, somebody must connect to your power system. The easiest thing to do is to look around your property for extension cords. Any site that has electric outlets should be checked, including sheds, boathouses, barns, well houses, etc. If you do not find an extension cord going to your house or any other energized piece of property, it is unlikely that your power is being stolen. If you need further verification, a licensed electrician can perform a breaker test to ensure that all power being consumed by the home and property is accounted for.

If your bill is higher than expected, it is typically related to heating and cooling costs, which can account for up to two-thirds of your usage. When it gets cold, energy usage increases. When energy use increases, bills go up.

It's important to make sure your HVAC system is working efficiently.

• Have your heating system professionally serviced on a regular basis to keep it operating at its peak efficiency.

• Clean or replace the filters on your heating system monthly.

• Do not change your heat pump thermostat manually more than two degrees at a time.

Take control of your electric bill, visit and learn how to save energy and save money.