Sault Ste. Marie PUC
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High Bill Factors

Higher utility bills may be due to several factors-consider some of the reasons below as contributing to a higher than expected bill:


Conditions Beyond The Control Or Knowledge Of The Customer

  • Seasons of the year
  • Light variations                                             
  • Extreme weather conditions                       
  • Five weekend month
  • Daylight savings time
  • Longer Billing period (# of days)
  • Defective wiring

Changes In Normal Living Conditions

  • Size and average age of family                    
  • Children – new babies                                              
  • Repairs/renovations/spring cleaning           
  • Roommates/tenants                                      
  • Hired help
  • Vacations
  • Sickness or convalescence
  • Special diets
  • Guests and entertainment
  • Special holidays/events


  • New or additional use                                   
  • Addition of Large Screen Television             
  • Larger or new refrigerator/freezer             
  • Defective appliances/inefficient use            
  • Electric Space Heaters
  • Excessive use of hot water
  • Hot Tubs/Sauna
  • Leaking water faucets/pipes
  • Excessive cooling or heating
  • Electric Fire Places

New Home Or Apartment

  • Initial cost to get appliances operating (fridge, water heater, etc)(patio doors, larger windows)
  • Location –sun/wind/shade                            
  • Number of outside walls                               
  • Higher square footage than previous home
  • Increased glass area
  • Quality of insulation
  • Air leakage through windows

Common Causes Of Bill Variations-Water

  • Toilet Leaks
  • Seasonal Factors-Rinks/Pools/Lawns
  • Estimated Water Reads
  • Leaking Taps

Approximately 90% of all high water bills are due to leaking or running toilets.  Helpful Hint:  Put a few drops of food colouring in your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes.  If the water in the bowl is coloured you have a toilet leak.

Most water meters are equipped with a “leak indicator” which will continually spin when water is being used. If all the water is turned off in the home and the leak indicator is still moving, you have a leak in your plumbing.

Comparison Of Bills

People will often compare utility bills with their friends and neighbours.  It is important to understand that each household is unique.

  • Living habits are rarely, if ever, the same as neighbours or friends.
  • House size may be considerably different or have better/worse insulation and windows.
  • The household appliances will vary greatly from one household to another.

What Stays On When You Go Out

Most households will not notice a significant decrease in electric usage when the home is vacant due to the number of appliances which are still running when the occupants are away.

  • Home Heating or Cooling
  • Refrigerators/Freezers
  • Hot Water Tank
  • Security Lighting
  • Pumps-sump, pool, well, sewer.
  • Electronic Devices-all modern electronics are “instant on” and consume power 24hrs/day.
  • Clocks, coffee makers, stove, microwave ovens-anything still plugged in with a digital display is consuming power.
  • Someone looking after house-turning up heat or cooling.
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