Markets

If Wal-Mart Can’t Read Its Electric Bill What Hope Do You Have?

Source: Author's utility bill

Somewhere on the bill it should have the kilowatt hours, or kWh of electricity used in the billing period. In addition to that the bill might also have the therms of natural gas used if gas is provided to the location. These numbers have the greatest impact on what's paid to the utility each month. To the left is a screenshot of the usage history of my bill. It's one of two places where my bottom line number, in this case 1066 KWh, is found. I've only been in my house a few months, but one thing is pretty clear: My electric usage has been going up every month since I moved in. That would certainly explain why my bill keeps going up!

This number is of course the sum total of all of the electricity that has been used in the house. It's the air conditioning keeping me cool, the laptop that I use for work, and so on and so forth. But by understanding this number I can compare it back to previous months, and with enough history even to previous years, to see if I'm starting to use too much electricity. It could be a signal to adjust the programmable thermostat a degree or two in order to cut back, or instead of turning the lights on in the hallway a smaller night light would be a better option.

Take back control of your utility bill

The reason why this number is so important is because it is the only one controlled by the customer. We can't always control the price paid for electricity or the seemingly random charges on the bill, but we can control our usage. So, take back control. Learn the one number that matters on the bill and then find ways to reduce it.

More from The Motley Fool:Warren Buffett Tells You How to Turn $40 into $10 Million

The article If Wal-Mart Can't Read Its Electric Bill What Hope Do You Have? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Matt DiLallo has the following options: long January 2016 $55 calls on Wal-Mart Stores and short September 2014 $77.5 calls on Wal-Mart Stores. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Other Topics

Stocks

Latest Markets Videos

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More