I want to understand my energy use

Confused by your energy bill? Want to have a better idea of what uses the most energy in your home, how much you are using, and what you’re paying?
Background of Energy in Maryland

There are different sources of energy in Maryland 

Did you know that there are many different sources that supply the state with our electricity? Power plants can generate electricity from fuel resources like nuclear, coal, and natural gas or renewable energy sources such as  waterheatwind, and the sun. You can find a statewide profile overview by visiting Energy Information Administration (EIA)

See how your home is powered by selecting your electricity provider:

Maryland Public Service Commission also created a video that provides a closer look at specific elements of energy choice: “How are electricity and gas delivered to our homes and businesses? And how do the energy choices we make affect how this happens?”

Your energy choices help Montgomery County reach its goal.

It might not seem like much, but every little step you take to conserve energy and become more energy efficient helps Montgomery County get closer to reaching its Greenhouse Gas Emissions goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. Track our goals and progress.

What is EmPOWER Maryland? 

EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on your energy bill. EmPOWER programs can help you lower your energy consumption and save you money. To learn more about EmPOWER and how you can participate, click here.

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Bill Examples

We can help you understand every line of your bill. Once you understand your bill, you will be able to find out how to pay less each month by making simple changes in your home.

Learn to Read Your Bill

Select your energy provider to better understand your bill:



Potomac Edison

Washington Gas

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Choose Your Energy Supplier

As a Maryland resident, you have the option to choose who supplies your electricity.

Maryland is an energy choice state where customers can choose their electricity and natural gas providers. Some suppliers regularly offer rates and service that are 10% or more cheaper than the utility company.

If you have questions about switching, the Energy Supplier Help Desk is a partner with the Energy Supplier Reform Coalition in Maryland. The tips and information offered are by volunteers who help consumers understand their bills and third-party supplier plans and choices.

If you choose your own supplier, there will be no change in the way your electricity or natural gas will come to your house – it will still be delivered to your home by your local utility company, but you can choose a less-expensive supplier to generate the energy and keep more money in your pocket.

  • SWITCH ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS: Find an electricity supplier that meets your needs – the Maryland Public Service Commission has created a website for residential electricity shoppers, www.MDElectricChoice.com
  • SWITCH NATURAL GAS SUPPLIERS: The Maryland Public Service Commission has created a new website where consumers can shop for and sort offers to supply their home’s energy needs – whether they are seeking the lowest price per therm, environmentally-friendly gas supply, no monthly or early termination fees, www.MDGasChoice.com
  • SWITCH TO CLEAN ELECTRICITY: Interested in switching to green energy, visit My Green Montgomery
  • QUESTIONS ABOUT ENERGY SUPPLIERS: Have questions about the legitimacy of an energy supplier – visit the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection


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Difference between Conservation and Efficiency

When talking about reducing our energy bills, we tend to hear two terms used often and sometimes interchangeably. Here are some ways to define these terms and some examples:

  1. Energy conservation – not using energy or using less energy
    • Turning off the lights when you leave a room
    • Adjusting your hot water heater to 120 degrees
    • Keeping the thermostat set at 68 in the winter, 78 in the summer
  2.  Energy efficiencynot wasting energy by doing more with the same amount of energy or switching technologies
    • Choosing LED light bulbs instead of mercury-containing compact fluorescent (CFL) or incandescent bulbs
    • Purchasing ENERGY STAR® appliances
    • Installing a programmable thermostat

If you are looking for more concrete ways to lower your utility bills, visit our Lower My Bill tab and you will also find ways to pay for projects there as well.

If you are looking for specific energy projects, visit My Green Montgomery’s Projects & Incentives page.

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Energy Scams

Because there are so many choices in Maryland, we want to make sure that you are not scammed!

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection has identified the most common ways that residents experience energy scams, here are some warning signs and ways to protect yourself! There are also 9 Tips to Protect Yourself from Utility Scams take a look at those as well.

NEW SCAM!! Overpaying Your Utility BIlls

  • At a Glance: You get a robocall saying you paid too much on a utility bill. To make up for this mistake, they say, you’ll get a cash refund and a discount on your future bills. All you have to do is press a number to get your money and discount.
  • Warning Signs: In the unlikely event you really did pay more than you owed on your bill, utility companies don’t usually give cash refunds. Instead, they credit the extra money to your account.
  • Protect Yourself: Do not provide them with your information, hang up and call your utility/water provider at a number from your bill, report the incident to the Office of Consumer Protection.

Utility Cutoff Phone Scams

Utility Cutoff Scam Card_English/Spanish PDF
Utility Cutoff Scam Amharic PDF
Utility Cutoff Scam Chinese PDF
Utility Cutoff Scam French PDF
Utility Cutoff Scam Korean PDF
Utility Cutoff Scam Vietnamese PDF

  • At a Glance: Someone posing as a utility or a water company representative calls you to tell you that your utility or water will be turned off immediately.
  • Warning Signs: Threatens to cut off your power immediately, demands immediate payment (gift card, wire transfer or app), and asks for your account # or SSN#.
  • Protect Yourself: Do not provide them with your information, hang up and call your utility/water provider at a number from your bill, report the incident to the Office of Consumer Protection.

Home Energy Audit ScamsHome Energy Audit-rack-card-english

Home Energy Audit Scam English/Spanish PDF
Home Energy Audit Scam Amharic PDF
Home Energy Audit Scam Chinese PDF
Home Energy Audits Scam French PDF
Home Energy Audit Scam Korean PDF
Home Energy Audit Scam Vietnamese PDF 

  • At a Glance: Someone posing as utility representative asks to come into your house to provide you with a free energy audit.
  • Warning Signs: Pretends to be the energy company or reputable business, Has no proof of employment or ID, tries to convince you to buy their product or service.
  • Protect Yourself: Close your door, contact your utility supplier and ask if they had contractors in your area, report the incident to the Office of Consumer Protection, if interested in an audit, schedule an audit through your utility supplier.


Switching Utility Companies Scams 

Switching Utility Companies Scam English/Spanish PDF
Switching Utility Companies Scam Amharic PDF
Switching Utility Companies Scam Chinese PDF
Switching Utility Companies Scam-French PDF
Switching Utility Companies Scam-Korean PDF
Switching-Utility-Companies-scam-Vietnamese PDF

  • At a Glance: Someone posing as a representative from the utility.
  • Warning Signs: Claims to be from your utility company or government, Has no proof of employment or ID, demands to see your bill or they won’t leave.
  • Protect Yourself: Close the door, research suppliers to decide which is the best fit for you, report the incident to the Office of Consumer Protection.

Water Filter Scams Water filter scam -rack-card-english

Water Cutoff Scam_English/Spanish PDF
Water Cutoff Scam Amharic PDF
Water Cutoff Scam Chinese PDF
Water Cutoff Scam French PDF
Water Cutoff Scam Korean PDF
Wate Cutoff Scam Vietnamese PDF

  • At a Glance: Someone posing as a representative from the Environmental Protection Agency or WSSC comes to your home to let you know that your water is
    contaminated and that you may need to purchase a new product.
  • Warning Signs: Has no proof of employment or ID,  conducts “tests” to show your water is contaminated, tries to sell expensive water purification equipment.
  • Protect Yourself: Close the door, research products to decide which is the best fit for you, report the incident to the Office of Consumer Protection.

The Maryland Public Service Commission also have videos to help you address scams. Here are the top energy scams, we know about. If you have others to share, please email them to energy@montgomerycountymd.gov.

  • Energy choice: How to handle a telemarketer sales call

  • Energy choice: How to handle a door-to-door sales pitch

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Find Out What Uses the Most Energy in Your Home

Heating your home still uses the most energy. Even though energy use for air conditioning has doubled since 1980, appliances and electronics now officially account for nearly one-third of all the energy used in American households.

Take a look at the breakdown of energy use at Energy Use In Homes at EIA.gov.

The Department of Energy also has an appliance and electronic energy use calculator that allows you to estimate your annual energy use and cost to operate specific products.


Energy Consumption Survey

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey


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Home Energy Report

What is the Home Energy Report? 

Your Home Energy Report is another way the utilities help residents save money and energy. In support of the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, encouraging Marylanders to reduce their energy use, they provide residents with a new tool to make saving money and energy simple.

​Understanding your energy use is the first step towards saving. With easy-to-read graphs, your Home Energy Report is designed to provide you with helpful information about the way your household uses energy and find smart ways to make your home more efficient.

Here’s how it works:

Occasionally, customers with smart meters installed at their home will receive a paper Home Energy Report in the mail. The frequency of this report will depend on your average energy use. If your utility has your email address on file, they will also send you a monthly eHome Energy Report with details about your monthly energy usage.

Neighbor Comparison

Neighbor Comparison

The report compares your energy use to 100 similar households in your community, based on public record.

Personalized Tips

Personalized Tips

You will receive tips on how to reduce your energy use, giving you opportunities to improve the numbers in your report.

Savings Goals

Savings Goals

Set yearly goals and track your progress to see how your home’s energy usage changes over time and across seasons.

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How Electricity Gets to Your Home

Electricity Supply

Electricity is carried to your home along a network of power equipment and power lines. Electricity leaves the power plant through high power transmission lines to substations. The substations transmit the electricity through power lines into your neighborhood and through the meter on the side of your home.

Visit BGE’s Energy Basics page to learn more about how electricity and natural gas are delivered to your home.

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How Much Does it Cost?

One of the most popular questions we get asked is “How much does it cost to run an (insert appliance here)?”

We have created simple to follow fact sheets to help answer that question for the three largest utility companies in the County.


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Selling Your Home? Energy Disclosure Requirements

If you are selling your home, Montgomery County requires home sellers to provide an Energy Disclosure Form. This document will inform the buyers of the energy cost and consumption history.

This requirement is intended to ensure that the home buyer is informed of the home’s energy performance before the sale, and provides options to finance energy efficiency improvements.

Learn more about the requirements with this document.

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Program Finder

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If your utility costs are included in your housing bill, click here

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