I try to read the electric meter on my house at least once a day. I learned how to read it properly by going here.
Luckily my power company also has a fantastic website that actually allows me to look at any day's usage since we've been in our house. I can search individual days or date ranges. It even graphs hour by hour usage for each day which is handy if you keep track of when you cook, wash clothes, etc. This helps to see what's causing my usage to go up or down.
Your electric bill should show the meter reading that the electric company used to compute your bill. Most bills are on a 30 day billing cycle. So, in my case, our meter showed 36,087 as of the end of our last billing statement. I read the meter this morning and it shows 36,700. So for the 26 days of this current billing cycle I have used a total of 613 kWh. To estimate my next electric bill I can divide that number by the current number of days in the billing cycle or 613/26 which equals 23.6 kWh per day. Then multiply that number times 30 days (a full billing cycle) and I get 707 kWh. Now I take that number and multiply it by the cost per kWh as of my last bill which was 11.8 cents* (or 0.118 of a dollar) so that would be (707 x 0.118) and I get $83.42. That would be my LOWEST BILL EVER! My goal was to have a bill under $100.00, looks like I'm going to easily get that! I know it sounds strange, but I can't wait for my next bill to come in!
*If you don't know your cost per kWh, simply take the total amount of your bill and divide it by the total number of kWh used.
Looks like I'm going to have to modify my goal and try to get a $75.00 or less electric bill.
My next step I think is to buy a real-time power monitor and attach it to the meter. I found one, Blue Line Innovations PowerCost Monitor, Model# BLI-24000, that I REALLY want to buy and try out. First I'm going to call my power company and make sure it's OK.
So, learn to read your meter and start a log of your activity to see if you can spot trends and find ways to reduce your usage. Check your power company's website and see if they have any online tools to help you out like mine does. Knowing how much you use everyday really helps you to remember to turn lights and appliances off when you don't need them.
More on what I've been doing to get to this point soon....