Almost a third (30%) of Latvian residents do not keep track of their electricity consumption data, according to a public survey. Moreover, this number increased by 10% during the year. By knowing the electricity consumption, the household can choose both the most suitable electricity connection capacity and the most advantageous distribution and merchant tariff plan, as well as consider the implementation of various electricity saving measures on a daily basis, thus reducing its monthly bill.
Data on the actual consumption of electricity help the household to understand the reasons for changes in the electricity bill – these can be changes in consumption, changes in the electricity price or charge per kilowatt hour (kWh), and changes in the distribution service. What to do so that the monthly electricity bill is as low as possible? Experts provide four practical recommendations.
Follows detailed electricity consumption data on customer portals free of charge
The amount of electricity consumed each month, or the total number of kWh used, can be seen on the electricity bill. However, thanks to the “Sadales netas” smart electricity meters, customers are also provided with the opportunity to follow detailed consumption data – broken down by days or even hours.
By examining the consumption by hours, the household can see consumption peaks, which allows to review the range of electrical appliances used on a daily basis and to draw conclusions about their energy efficiency, as well as about the habits of electricity use in general. The amount of consumption determines the profitability of different electricity traders’ plans, while when choosing an electricity contract linked to the exchange price, it is recommended to use devices with high electricity consumption as much as possible at times when the exchange price is relatively lower.
Detailed electricity consumption data is available for households free of charge by logging in to the customer portal of the selected electricity dealer or to the customer portal of “Sadales nettas” e-st.lv.
Evaluates the offers of electricity traders and their conditions
Proportionately, the largest part of the electricity bill is usually the charge for the electricity itself. It is provided and the fee is determined accordingly by the electricity dealer (not the “Distribution Network”). Therefore, it is important to study whether the most favorable tariff for the amount of consumption and habits has been chosen at the merchant. The options vary – a fixed fee with different conditions or a market-linked (exchange) tariff.
A fixed tariff means a specific and constant price for 1 kWh during the current billing period, while a market-linked (exchange) tariff means that the total charge for electricity is formed depending on the hourly price on the market (“Nord Pool” exchange) during which the electricity is used. Therefore, when choosing an “exchange tariff”, it is important to follow the price of electricity on the exchange every single hour and to consume electricity most actively in those hours when it is relatively cheaper. Active consumption of electricity during the hours when the exchange price is high can rapidly increase the position of the electricity charge in a given month’s bill.
Merchants also offer the option of equalized payment, which allows you to receive an invoice with the same amount every month during one billing period, with payments reviewed and adjusted accordingly at the end of the period. If the actual consumption has been higher or lower than planned, the next period’s bills will show a corresponding increase or decrease in the fee. Detailed information about this option, its advantages and disadvantages can be asked from the chosen dealer.
When choosing an offer, it is also recommended to pay attention to the conditions of the contract, which may differ among different service providers. When studying the conditions, it is worth paying attention to whether there is a penalty fee for early termination of the contract (if any, how much) and whether there are any additional payments, such as a monthly service fee.
Evaluates the conformity of the electricity connection with the actual needs
The fee for electricity supply is determined by the tariffs of operators of electricity transmission and distribution systems, which are designed according to the costs of maintaining the electricity supply infrastructure. It is divided into two parts – fixed and variable.
The variable part is the charge per kWh transmitted and is directly dependent on the household’s monthly consumption. Accordingly, the amount of this fee, as well as the fee for the received electricity (calculated according to the trader’s tariff), can be influenced by evaluating habits and not consuming electricity excessively – for example, turning off the light or TV in an empty room, boiling water for only one cup of coffee instead of a full kettle, defrosting the freezer in time, purchasing energy-efficient household appliances, etc. etc.
Fixed is the charge for power maintenance and it depends on the customer’s chosen connection power or load, which is expressed by the number of phases (F) and amperes (A). The higher the capacity chosen, the higher the fixed monthly fee for its provision. In order not to overpay, it is recommended to choose a connection with technical parameters that do not significantly exceed those required for actual consumption. The existing connection parameters can be seen in the monthly electricity bill or by logging in to the e-st.lv portal.
In Latvia, most households use a 1 F or 3 F connection with a capacity of 16-20 A. Such connections are suitable for providing basic daily needs: used lighting, operating a washing machine, boiler, refrigerator, TV, iron, electric kettle and other devices. A more powerful connection might be necessary in properties that use electrical appliances with a higher power, for example, an electric stove, heat pump, water pump, air conditioner, need to charge an electric car.
If the power of the selected connection exceeds 3 F 20 A, it is worth evaluating whether it is not too large for daily needs. It should be recalled that the new state support solution entered into force in January, which makes the increase in the capacity maintenance fee more gradual for private individuals whose connection capacity does not exceed 25 A. Therefore, for connections that exceed this capacity, the fee for capacity maintenance will be higher in the future, and these households are especially recommended to evaluate , whether the selected power is not too high. The load calculation calculator available on the homepage of “Sadales nettos” can help to calculate the power in a household that corresponds to consumption habits. You can ask electrical specialists for additional recommendations.
Power or load reduction can be requested electronically on the customer portal e-st.lv, and it is a free service. In the period until June 30, 2024, every customer can also receive a load restoration service once free of charge.
If the electricity consumption in the property is close to zero, choose the “Special” distribution tariff plan
Residents have access to two tariff plans for system services (distribution) – “Basic” and “Special”. The “Basic” plan is used by more than 95% of households, as it is intended for regular daily electricity consumption. On the other hand, the “Special” plan will be suitable for exceptional cases – properties with non-existent or, when viewed against the power capacity, extremely low electricity consumption. For example, an apartment is put up for sale where electricity is not consumed on a daily basis, or a summer house in the winter period.
When choosing the “Special” distribution tariff plan, everyone should carefully monitor their consumption, because even small fluctuations in it can rapidly increase monthly costs. In changing or difficult to predict situations, it is recommended to stick to the “Basic” plan. It is most convenient to apply for a change of the distribution tariff plan on the e-st.lv portal (in the section “Apply for service” – “Contracts and tariffs” – “Change of tariff plan”), by marking the chosen plan and its effective date.
Until June 30, 2024, the tariff plan can be changed within the existing month. So, at the end of the current month, it is possible to review and choose the most suitable plan according to the actual consumption, which becomes effective for the whole month. The distribution tariff plan can be changed every month – according to the expected consumption needs.