Account Manager FAQ

Energy usage information:

What energy use information is available in Account Manager?

Your energy use is collected from your meter. If you have a smart meter, your usage is shown in 15-minute intervals; accounts that don’t have smart meters have monthly data available. Most of the information is geared toward residential accounts and may not apply to commercial accounts.

Description of each tab:

Energy Use Details  -  On this tab, you can choose to see a graph that shows data in dollars or kilowatt-hours. You can also change from the 13-month view to the daily view; just click on one of the months. Want to drill down to the 15-minute view? Just click on one of the days.

The average temperature helps you see how energy use goes down during mild months, such as May and October, and increases during winter and summer. January is usually a high-use month, and September 2018 was notable for its heat and humidity.

The Neighbors graph compares your energy use to other homes that are similar to yours. Click the arrow at the bottom of the graph to see more details about the comparison homes.

If you have more than one account, the energy use for only one account is shown.

Bill Forecast  -  On this tab, you can see how much you’ve used so far for the current billing period. Part way through the month, you will also be able to see how much you’re projected to spend for the rest of the billing period. (It’s based on how much electricity you’ve used so far during the current billing period, the weather, and the number of days in the billing period. And you must have at least seven days of usage in the billing period before an estimate of the monthly bill can be made.) Please keep in mind that the dollar amounts are only estimates and your bill will vary depending on actual energy use, taxes, and fees.

Bill Comparison  -  On this tab, you can see how your most recent bill compares to the previous month’s bill or the same month from last year. Just click the “Last Year” or “Previous Bill” in the top right corner. Some possible reasons for increases or decreases in energy use are shown beneath the graph.

Neighbor Comparison  -  On this tab, you can see how your energy use compares to that of similar homes. The comparison month is shown at the bottom left corner. Of the comparison homes, the 20% with the lowest energy use are considered “efficient neighbors.” Click the “Who are my neighbors?” arrow to see details about similar homes. (You may need to use the scroll bar to view the info.)

If you have multiple accounts, the first one listed is considered a primary account and will be the one that shows the neighbor comparison.

Energy Use Profile  -  On this tab, you will see a pie chart graph that estimates how much energy you use for each of the categories listed. Please note that these are only estimates; your meter measures whole-house energy use, so an actual measurement for each appliance is not possible.

To make the information more accurate, click the “your home” link and complete the questionnaire to provide a more accurate description of your home.  Click the “tips” button at bottom for tips on how to reduce energy use.

Ways to Save  -  On this tab, you can find multiple tips on how to save energy so you can save money.

How do I start or stop weekly updates and high bill alerts?

If you want to start or stop the weekly updates or high bill alerts, log in to Account Manager and click the Notification Preferences link.

Weekly updates – Receive weekly updates via email that provide energy usage information for the previous week. Additional information is also included in the email to help you track your usage and determine if you should take steps to save. The Weekly Update option will appear when you update your email settings. (Weekly updates are not sent via text.)

High bill alerts – You can receive alerts via email or text when your monthly bill is expected to be unusually high: at least 30 percent higher than the same month last year. The High Bill Alert option will appear when you update your email settings or your mobile phone settings.

What if I have a commercial account?

Most of the information is geared toward residential accounts and may not apply to commercial accounts.

What if I buy energy from an alternate supplier?

If you purchase energy from an alternate supplier, the data in Account Manager will be based on energy use, rather than energy costs because alternate energy suppliers do not provide detailed rate information to SMECO.

What if I have solar panels?

The amount of energy you produce and use is not recorded by SMECO’s meter. The amount of energy you produced in excess of what was used will show on the graph as a credit (a negative number on a bar chart).

What does the green button do?

You can download your data in a csv file format which you can then open in Excel. (You must have Notepad or Textpad installed on your computer to open XML reader.)

Why are the costs shown different from what is on my SMECO bill?

The costs shown reflect SMECO’s Standard Offer Service charges for energy, facilities charge, distribution charge, and EmPOWER Maryland charge. They do not include alternate supplier charges, taxes, or miscellaneous items, such as late fees, overdue payments, or billing credits, so they may not match your total billed amounts for each billing period.

Why is SMECO providing this information to homeowners?

Most people are eager to make their home more efficient and save money, but they’re not always sure how. SMECO is providing more information about your energy use so you can make informed choices and save money.

  • Information on your home’s energy use: You’ll be able to see your home’s energy use in comparison to the energy use of homes that are nearby and similar in size.
  • Energy efficiency: You can find ways to save energy and track how your energy usage changes over time and across seasons.

About the neighbor comparison:

Who are my neighbors?

Your energy use is being compared to the usage patterns of a group of about 100 neighbors whose homes are close to yours and similar in size.

How did you choose the homes used in my neighbor comparisons?

To provide valid comparisons, we’ve chosen specific homes that are nearby and have characteristics that typically lead to similar energy needs, such as home size and heating source. And importantly, we only include homes that appear to be occupied at the time of the comparison.

I have multiple accounts, but not all of them show a neighbor comparison.

If you have multiple accounts, the first one listed is considered a primary account and will be the one that shows the neighbor comparison.

What if there are good reasons that my household uses more energy than my neighbors?

Our goal is to provide you with a comparison that is valid and meaningful. Comparisons include a group of similar, nearby, occupied homes; research shows that for most residents this categorization provides a good indication of typical usage. However, some factors may not be accounted for, such as the number of occupants in the home and special energy loads like hot tubs and swimming pools. You can provide additional information about your home in the "your home" link under the “Energy Use Profile” tab to help improve the accuracy of your neighbor comparison.

I have certain life or housing circumstances, such as energy-intensive medical equipment, that prevent me from reducing my energy use. So how can these reports help me?

It’s understandable that some people may have life or housing circumstances that make it difficult to reduce their home’s energy use. We aim to provide a wide range of ideas that can address the various needs of our members and their homes. We encourage you to find out which tips are best for you and search for more ideas. In some cases, you may not be able to realize substantial savings, but we’ve found that most people can realize at least some savings and we hope we can help you do so.

How can my efficient neighbors manage to use so much less energy than I do?

Efficient households likely take a variety of steps to reduce their electricity use, including using the thermostat to manage heating and cooling costs, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and always running full loads in the dishwasher, washer, and dryer. The tips provide actionable steps that you can take to help you make your home more efficient.

How do you determine the size of my home and how do I update it?

The square footage of your home that is used is based on data that is collected from public government sources about your home. If the square footage on your report is not correct, you can change it using the "your home" link under the “Energy Use Profile” tab.

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